Sept 21, 2014: Goodbyes and Birthdays

Rejoice! Finally the heat has broken! Fall is right around the corner, and perhaps I’ll find hot flashes more tolerable when it’s not nearly 100 degrees out!

We actually had a little rain the other day, which was wonderful, although the timing could’ve been better: It was the morning of Chris’s grandma’s memorial service. Thankfully, the rain had cleared in plenty of time for the short graveside service, but it did make driving down…er, fun. Actually, the traffic was far worse than the slippery road—it ended up taking us three hours to make the 70-mile drive. Sam whined much of the way because he hates being restrained in the car. So…yeah, fun.

That said, I’m very glad we all went. It was a sweet service—short but touching, from what I could hear. (I kept the boys a little way behind the small group, so they wouldn’t distract anyone.) The cemetery where she’s buried is truly beautiful, too. I have an irrational fear of being buried alive (don’t ask me why—I think everyone secretly has an irrational fear, and that’s mine), so Chris already knows I want to be cremated. But if I were going to be buried, that cemetery is exactly the type I’d want to be buried in. It’s beautiful with rolling hills and trees, and it’s very quiet and peaceful. I think it was good for Theo to be able to attend the service, too. I had been slightly concerned that it might upset him, but I think it did him good to see the calm and peaceful way his great-grandma was laid to rest. He put a flower on her casket, along with everyone else, and I heard him whisper “Goodbye, Grandma Norma” as he did. It was sweet.

I think any solemn occasion tends to have a moment of comic relief, though, and the service was no exception. For whatever reason, the workers were very anxious to get on with the burial process—the service had barely ended and people were still standing around when they brought in the big old backhoe to begin the actual burial business. I was silently horrified, thinking, “Oh my goodness—isn’t this going to be upsetting for people to see? Couldn’t they wait until everyone left?” And then Sam caught sight of the backhoe, and being a huge fan of all sorts of construction vehicles, he ran several steps toward it, planted his little feet, pointed emphatically, and yelled, “EEEEEEEEE!!! YAY!!!!!!!!!” with gusto. I guess to Sam, once the backhoe gets there, it’s a party! I think Grandma Norma would’ve gotten a smile out of Sam’s unbridled enthusiasm. 🙂

After the service, there was a sort of open house at Grandma Norma’s house, and although it’s never the sort of occasion for which you want to see people, it is nice to get to visit with people you haven’t seen in a long time. I finally got to meet Grandma Kathy’s friend Susie, who apparently predicted me shortly before Chris and I met. She is very interested in astrology and reading auras and tarot and such, and I’m told that Kathy saw her shortly before Chris met me, and Susie announced that she could “see” that someone was about to come into Chris’s life. Within a matter of weeks, he met me. 🙂

Theo was absolutely thrilled because Grandma Kathy asked him if he would like Grandma Norma’s old typewriter! From that point forward, he must’ve asked at least two-dozen times whether we could bring it home that very day. Although I felt slightly awkward about taking something from Grandma Norma’s house so soon, I think Grandma Kathy was just pleased that it had found such a happy home! So we now have a 1930s typewriter sitting at the kitchen table until we decide on its permanent place—and Theo is thrilled. It’s not currently working, but he likes to peck at the keys and pretend to write stories for us.

The drive back from the service/wake was another three hours, given that it was during evening rush hour, and Sam whined literally the entire way. He didn’t even take a breath most of the time—just a solid whine. I’m not sure how he breathes while whining, but apparently he has mastered it. And so, he went to bed right when we got home, and I collapsed into a chair with a fizzy rum drink. (No, I don’t usually break out hard liquor. In fact, we rarely ever have it in the house. But my goodness, six hours of whining in one day. Yes, it called for rum!)

The next day, Friday, we headed up to Sacramento to celebrate Grandma Diane’s birthday! We would normally just go up on the weekend, but my sister had planned a dinner on my mom’s actual birthday, and it’s rare that we get to see everyone together, so we decided to make the trek after Theo got out of school on Friday. And it actually worked out quite well—both boys slept in the car (after Sam spent the first hour whining), and we were able to bring my niece Noelle up with us so she could join the festivities. My sister made a yummy dinner and cake (pumpkin spice with maple frosting—mmmm!), and for once we got to visit with all of my nieces and my nephew. (They’re mostly grown, so getting them all together in one place is hard with work schedules and such.) We got home late, but it was worth it to get to spend the evening with everyone, celebrating Grandma Diane’s advancing age. (He he, just teasing because I know she’ll read this!)

After two days of long drives, we were ready to stick close to home this weekend. So on Saturday, we just went to a birthday party for Theo’s good friend Devon, which was held at a local park, and then we came home and did some work (me) and furniture building (Chris and Theo—a desk and a shoe caddy) while Sam napped. The birthday party was very low-key and fun—just a bunch of families at the park with pizza and cake. The kids had a ball—Sam especially, because the park is right next to the BART tracks, and so the trains were whizzing by every 15 minutes or so. Every time one would come by, he would run over, point emphatically, and yell “EEEEEEEEEE!!!” to alert everyone. (“EEEEEEEEE!” is his yell for all sorts of vehicles that we must stop and watch: planes, trains, cars, trucks. We must watch them all!)

And on Sunday, we just headed to the Oakland Zoo for a few hours. We’re members but hadn’t been in a while, and I think this is the first time Sam’s been old enough to actually notice the animals much. I was hoping he’d pet the goats in the petting zoo, but he had no interest in those. Instead, he tried to hijack the stroller of a lovely little toddler named Esther, who later tried to force-feed him pretzels. I think it’s a match made in heaven. 😉

That’s about it for news around here, except for the fact that Theo has decided what he wants to be for Halloween: a coin. Ummm…I’m going to have to get kinda crafty to make that work. This should be interesting. I thought to make Sam a coin too, but then I realized I wouldn’t be able to put him in the stroller or carry him well if he had a cardboard sandwich-board type of getup on, so instead I ordered him a Superman costume—because it’s one of the few that doesn’t have a hat (which he won’t wear) and because he’s pretty darn super. 🙂

In case you missed it, I wrote a post this week about contentment. Click here if you want to read it, but I’ll warn you right now that it was written because I was feeling cranky about discontent, so it’s not the cheeriest post ever. 🙂 And in the spirit of contentment, I’ll end this with something that makes me happy and content: having been married to Chris for long enough that we know each other so well that explanations aren’t needed. I can text him “buy me cheesecloth,” and he doesn’t wonder what I’m talking about or why I might want cheesecloth, for example. It sounds like a silly little thing, but I love that we just know each other so well that simple routines and requests need no explanation, and we can often anticipate what the other person might need. I think sometimes people feel that marriage gets boring when it gets predictable, but I like the predictability. I like the fact that we know each other so well. I love the occasional surprise, of course, but I find contentment in the routine. I appreciate his steadiness. Well, okay, except maybe when it’s his steady refusal to acknowledge a completely full trashcan that should be emptied. 😉

Okay! I leave you with pictures, and also a cute little video of Sam, who has recently discovered the iPod Touch and gleefully grabs it whenever Theo isn’t around. And now he’s realized there’s music on it that he can control! The world is his oyster now….

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