Rachel and I welcomed the first day of spring by getting free cones at Dairy Queen, a franchised ice cream shop in this area. We picked up Delilah from school and surprised
her with the visit. While we were there, several other children from Delilah’s preschool came with their parents or grandparents. I guess we all had the same idea! Leah dropped her cone on the ground so I gave her mine. After all, I’m her NaNa, right? A reporter from our local newspaper dropped by and took pictures of the girls. Leah wouldn’t look at him so he “tricked” her by pretending to take the picture one way but took it when she turned her head. Two of my grandchildren had their fifteen minutes of fame as they say. Hannah missed out because she was sleeping in her car seat. She’ll have her turn another day in the future.
The month of April starts the season of birthdays! My mother, Delilah, and Mary finish out April. Rachel starts the month of May with me, Trinity and Aaron finishing the month. There are more in June and July, too. I go to a local card store and buy all the birthday cards at once along with Mother’s Day cards. Last year, I lost the whole envelope of cards. That was money wasted so I took extra care to keep a watch on those cards this year!
Since my father is slowly losing his mind to dementia, he has forgotten my mother’s birthday. This is sad because he always made a big deal of it. Last year, was the first time he did that and she was so disappointed about it that I wanted to make sure it wouldn’t be forgotten again. I could have taken them out to eat but I wanted it to be more intimate plus I wanted dad to enjoy it more. He would, if he was in his own home. I could have purchased something to take but I decided to make the birthday dinner. This is another “outside the box” moment for me. I did not cook dinners when I was married because I worked until five o’clock and my ex-husband worked third-shift and was home to cook. He was very good and he enjoyed it so he continued to be the dinner cook all of our marriage. The downside was that others assumed I couldn’t cook and he did nothing to change their thoughts. When he had a heart attack and I needed to take over, he complained about my cooking constantly instead of encouraging me.
All of this negativity destroyed my confidence so I always felt rather inadequate when it came to preparing meals. When I lived alone, my younger brother, the chef, taught me how to cook several things so that I didn’t exist on frozen box dinners. I wasn’t very confident in my skills to make Mom’s birthday dinner but I was determined. That has become my motto through all of these new things I am trying with retirement. I planned on the menu and made sure I had all the ingredients ready. It was a long day with Rachel working all day and me having Leah and Hannah until Rachel came home. I had to run to the store for groceries that I was going to be out of so I started to prepare the meal rather late. Mike and Rachel were using the grill so I had the oven and stove to myself but we jockeyed for positions in the kitchen as Mike and I prepared our meals in the same very small space. I kept asking Rachel: “The potatoes are to be baked at five hundred degrees but the chicken is to be baked at three-fifty. What temperature should I cook the food? I could not find fresh green beans at the market so I bought frozen. What changes should I make to the recipe?” She gave me advice as I prepare the meal. Add in two little girls who both decided to cry and scream during this time and you can realize the pressure I was under. I used techniques that my therapist taught me whenever I become overly anxious so I was slowing my breathing and sighing to keep everything under control.
Rachel helped me pack the chicken, potatoes, green beans and dessert into the insulated bag and I left for Mom and Dad’s. I called from my car to tell her I was on my way and to heat up the oven to finish the meal. When I arrived, all the food was still hot. I added spaghetti sauce and mozzarella to the chicken. Then, all was ready. I feared that the chicken would be dry and the beans would be limp, but it was all delicious! I triumphed again! Who-hoo! My mother was so delighted and her birthday was celebrated again!
Hannah is growing so much. She has discovered her hands and works so hard to get them into her mouth. She loves to lie on her playmat and take swings at the toys attached to the bar over her head. I watch her practice over and over. She is still an easy baby, with crying mostly for needs. She takes a bottle of mommy’s milk with delight. Delilah and Leah say she is SO CUTE!
My friend, Peggy, and I went to another musical at our city’s performance center. The musical was Rent, a story set in New York in the nineteen-eighties. The main theme is about young adults struggling to live in New York, hunting for jobs and relationships while having AIDS. My brother, Quinn, loved this movie because this was his life, not in New York, but in Baltimore. He, too, had many good friends that died of AIDS, some by suicide before the disease could destroy their dignity. His deep depressions stemmed from survivor guilt – why did he never contract the disease while so many did? He told me that he took the same risks as those around him. But, his alcoholism and drug use helped cause his early death in 2009 even though he actually died of pneumonia brought on by bronchitis. I think of him so often because he was my best friend and helped ME through some very bad times. I used two of the recipes he taught me when I created Mom’s birthday dinner. That’s the best way to honor him.
The hardest days of babysitting are when I have all three girls all day. Two keep me busy because there are very few minutes of downtime. With three, the day is crazy! No matter who I am trying to care for, there two more that want my attention, too. I asked my parents to come over to help. They arrived around ten-thirty, eager to be useful. I gave Hannah to Mom and I took the older girls to the kitchen table to play some games and do a puzzle. Mom got to love on Hannah without interruption. They left right after lunch, when Leah went down for her nap. This was very helpful and we plan to do it again every time I have all three, which is every Tuesday in May.
My 2011 iMac desktop computer had a hard drive going bad. I knew that because I had run tests on it to find out why it was all wonky. I took it to Best Buy instead of the Apple Store because it was closer. Best Buy sells all types of electronics and just recently started a repair service for Apple products. They had it two weeks. At the end of the first week, I got a phone call asking for approval of the estimate- $400. I was disappointed that it was higher than I expected but it IS an Apple and the cost to replace it was more than twice that which would have been for a laptop, not a desktop. The gentleman on the phone also told me that the LCD panel was damaged in shipment and had to be replaced. So, all that weekend, I worried that the company was going to try to charge me for that.
When, I went in to pick it up, I asked if I was being charged for the LCD panel and the representative, Chris, assured me I was not. Then I said I was afraid that the high price for the hard drive included that price for the LCD panel. He looked online and said “there’s a zero balance”. I said that it was probably already charged to the card on file. He excused himself and went into the back and came out with his boss, Ryan.
Here’s the kicker- Chris, with his boss standing there, told me that I my bill WAS zero! Since the LCD was damaged, not by me, they were apologizing by paying for the entire bill! Who-hoo!!!!
In this day and age, where the customer is NOT always right, it was great to be a recipient of good business practices! Thank you, Best Buy!
My Miss D, as I call Delilah asked me last September how long it was until her birthday so she could be five years old. I told her that she needed a complete year to learn how to be four before she could be ready to be five. We went over the holidays between September and her birthday in April. As each holiday slipped by, we would change all of my room decorations and door wreaths to match the new holiday. Then, we would eagerly wait for the next holiday. As the year moved on, Delilah learned how to count to one hundred and to recognize and write all of her letters. She is ready to learn to read and we are working on that. When Easter passed by, she could see her name on my calendar for her birthday. The days grew closer and closer and then, it was finally here! Val and Tim took her to the Butterfly Museum to celebrate the day. I recorded a message for her on Facebook.
The following Friday, we all celebrated with pizza, ice cream and cupcakes in an intimate family gathering. She had asked me for her own princess Polly Pocket dolls for a birthday present. Leah received them for Christmas. To my consternation, the dolls have been discontinued! So, I looked on eBay and many people had them for sale – for sixty dollars and up! Single dolls were being sold for twenty dollars each. I hunted and found an older set of five princess and two dresses apiece for thirty dollars and I bought it outright. I also found a very large collection of Polly Pocket princess dolls with their castles and villains. I placed a bid on that for twenty-nine dollars but I lost out. The set finally went for one hundred and twenty-five dollars. It was way over MY budget. Val gave me a list of other gifts she wanted and I chose a game. I love Delilah’s joy when something special is happening. We sang and enjoyed the food and she opened her presents. She was delighted with all of her presents, including mine. But, her most special present was a two-wheeler bike from her parents!
- Time with my parents is very precious. They ARE in their early eighties. Every chance I can spend with them is a very special time. I’m grateful that they can be here to help me with the three girls. It gives them more chances to be around my family. And that is so, very, very good.
- I CAN conquer my anxieties! Even through preparing my dinner with Rachel’s family present with all their activity and noise, I kept myself calm and collected and got the meal accomplished. I give thanks to God for helping me, also!
- The year really keeps moving on. It was much easier without teaching and with my grandgirls around. Before I really could think about it, spring and nicer weather was here. I thank God for that, too!