Forced Calm

It happened.  It was bound to.  You can't possibly think of EVERY scenario.  You can talk & talk until you think you've exhausted all possibilities but you will always miss at least one.

This time?  Christopher's ATM card will NOT work in Europe.  Why?  Those pesky Europeans aren't on our banking network.  Go figure.  Whoda thunk?  Apparently?  Neither my husband nor me nor the customer service representative at our local credit union who told us it WOULD work for getting cash.

So.  There he was.  My sweet, kind, gentle 11 year old on the trip of his life.  In EuroDisney unable to touch a dime of his money why?  Because you can't test these things BEFORE you get to Europe...

I'm disappointed for him, that's for sure.  I'm sure he saw the coolest, most amazing souvenir EVER at Disney and that prompted the trip to the ATM and now?  He may never see it again.  And me?  The moment I hear about this problem, I'm going to go to that bank and get in that rep's face and tell her just what I think of her and her brilliant assurances.

Ok - that was my initial reaction.  I would never actually do that, no matter how tempting.  Instead, I learn about the issue while I'm at work so I have no choice but to work.  To wait.  To wait and see how it's going to work out.

About 5 minutes ago Christopher called.  He's about to crawl into bed after an amazing time at Disney.  He rode Space Mountain twice and the money?  The money he borrowed from someone and will pay them back when he gets to England.  All that worrying and the 11 year olds work together to figure it out.

There is a lesson in there somewhere, I know it.  Now I can't wait to hear the whole story to see if there is just one or if I learn multiple things from these kids. 

Children give me hope when it's hard to find it elsewhere in people. 


Europe Bound

If only that title applied to me.  My younger son was accepted by the People to People Student Ambassador program back in March and we've spent a lot of time focused on this trip ever since.  Fundraisers, projects, forms...  So much paper!  Passport.  Health forms.  Packing lists.  Cultural tests (have to learn about where you're going). 
He and 44 other kids from King, Snohomish and Pierce Counties will get on a plane together tomorrow and head for Paris first.  There they'll spend 6 days in France.  They'll tour Normandy Beach and Caen, participating in a wreath laying ceremony at the official American cemetary.  They'll tour the Louvre, Versailles, go to the top of the Eiffel Tower and hit Euro Disney for a little bit of fun.

When they wrap up their tour of France, they'll take the ferry to England.  There they'll go to Warwick Castle where they'll get a lesson in sword fighting and "punting" (propelling a flat bottom boat with a pole along the River Cherwell).  They will also get to tour Sir Winston Churchill's underground headquarters, those he used during World War II. 

They will also spend a day with a member of Parliament, learning about the British Constitution and the respective roles of the members of the House of Commons, the House of Lords and the Monarch.  What a day!!!  I would so love to see all of the amazing landmarks they get to tour but this part of the trip...this is the day I am truly envious of and wish I could attend with him.  After that, they'll tour the Tower of London, cruise the River Thames, meet the famous Beefeaters and be present at Buckingham Palace to watch the changing of the guard.

Such an amazing time.  Fourteen days.  It has been an ordeal getting the funds raised, the shopping done and all of the requirements met.  However... as excited as Christopher is for this trip, every moment, every frustrating and funny moment in the last several months has been more than worth it.

I can't wait to share parts of his trip when he gets home.  Lots of pictures, I'm sure...


My Back

I don't think there is anyone out there unfamiliar with back issues.  At one point or another, we have probably all pulled something, pinched something or tweaked something in our back and we all know just how painful and debilitating it is.

On June 9th, I flipped my hair to wrap it in a towel after my shower.  It is something I have done every single day for 30 years or more.  This one time, though, I did it "just right" and I have been in overwhelming pain ever since.  My legs have gone numb, I can't sit, I can't stand, I can't lay down...  You know the drill.

Truth is, according to my MRI, my back isn't even badly damaged.  Two disks show some slight damage and a third disk shows quite a bit of damage but not enough to be considered "horrible."  Fortunately, I don't need surgery.  Just - PT and whatever else the spine specialist I go to see tomorrow decides.  The PT is helping but I can't work more than 4 1/2 hours a day and even with that, I work two days in a row and day three is a toss up.  Today I had to stay home. 

It is that part that has me nervous.  Seriously nervous.  I know I'm not supposed to worry and I go straight to praying the moment I realize my thoughts have strayed into worrying but the thoughts swirl around over & over again.  See - Aaron was laid off at the end of March, 2010.  He was back to work June 1, 2010 but his paycheck has been consistently $300 less than it was before.  That's $600 a month.  That's a significant sum. 

We cut back, cut out, got a bit wiser in our grocery shopping but even still - $600 a month for over a year is a lot of income lost.  Now, my fear is I won't be able to go back to work full time and will have to take a pay cut equivalent to 3.5 hours a day.  Maybe more if my boss were to decide that's not sufficient.

There is no point in worrying.  I know that.  Until something specific happens, I have no reason to wonder, worry or think the negative thoughts that dance through my head.  I also know I have amazing blessings to count and focus my thoughts on, turning away from those fears that seem to grip me more and more lately.  As this problem drags on, I start to think about what it might mean if my back won't heal beyond where it is right now.

It is that list of blessings - I do have SO very many - that keeps me going each day.  I keep thinking on those things that are true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent and praiseworthy...  At least I keep trying. 


Happy 4th of July

How did it get to be July already?  I think I must have "gone away" for June.  If only I meant physically...

Come Monday we'll celebrate the bravery of men & women who stood up to a greedy monarch over 200 years ago.  Two hundred thirty-five years ago to be exact.  Two hundred thirty five years...  In that time we have elected 44 Presidents, 4 of whom were assassinated while still in office (Lincoln, Garfield, McKinley and Kennedy).  We have fought in more wars than I care to name (Wikipedia will list them for you), survived a depression, a few recessions and have seen several periods of amazing growth.

We have fought, grown, loved and built our way to being one of, if not the, greatest countries in the world.

As we sit at picnic tables or around pools or on the beach, let us not forget all of those who have come before us and fought to give us what we have today.  Freedom has not come cheap and should never be taken for granted.

Have a beautiful, safe and wonderful 4th of July!