Profound Listening 

Blogging has its ups and its downs. Some weeks I’m on a roll, and I seem to have something to say almost every day. Some weeks I feel like there’s no point in bothering. What I have to say has all been said before, or someone else said it first and said it better. Those are the weeks I slip out of sight and wait until inspiration strikes again.While not always profound, I do okay. Most posts get a like or two, and some get more. Where I’ve struggled a fair bit has been keeping up with fellow bloggers. There are many of you out there who I consider friends, and I love following blogs and reading posts.

Not too many months ago, though, I walked away from blogging and focused all my creative time and energies on writing my own fiction. I got so caught up in the world and people I was creating that I never had time to read blogs. So I shut them all off. In a moment of insanity, I deleted it all. I stopped following, and I stopped all the emails I had filling my inbox to overflowing every day. That was a mistake. 

I lost touch with many people that I truly enjoyed reading. The silence was deafening. Then I realized the silence was lonely, and I didn’t like it much. 

 Now that life has settled in to more of a routine, and the fervor (or fever) for writing has died back to a manageable pace I’m trying to blog more. I’m trying to read more. I’m trying to photograph more. 

Hopefully friends won’t mind if I’m hit or miss with posts, comments or follow-up. Trying to do it all is hard, and I’ve never said that I was anything more than a work in progress.

Sometimes in blogging what I have to say is not as important as listening to what others are saying. 


Images courtesy of Pinterest 

My Least Favorite Part of the Week

IMG_9335So once again, we reach my least favorite part of the week. It’s not his fault that he has to go. It’s his job. To anyone who’s ever loved a person who travels for work, I salute you. It takes a special person to keep a brave face, smile and wish them safe travels when all you want to do is cling to them and keep them home with you.

I had him home with me. I had him home for twenty years. He worked a regular job in an office. He was home with me every evening. He slept beside me every night, and I didn’t appreciate what I had. I was stupid. I took him for granted. Now that he spends his week driving, I find that I miss those nights when he slept here beside me.

Times changed almost six years ago. He lost his office job, and to continue in the same line of work he would have had to start over again at the bottom. Places weren’t hiring, and the ones that were wanted people with college degrees. The only jobs open were temporary spots at an entry level with an entry-level salary. He didn’t want that.

He chose a life on the road. Driving is what he’s good at. In times of stress in our younger years, he often got behind the wheel and went for a long drive so he could think. Many dates and family outings were long car rides to nowhere that turned into adventures along the way. Those long car rides were harder on me. I have never been good at wandering aimlessly, and my father was famous for losing his cool behind the wheel when my mother planned trips with long drives. I ended up like my Dad, wanting a destination in mind and getting nervous when there wasn’t one. I find now that I miss those endless car rides where something awesome might (or might not) be waiting around the next bend.

When my least favorite part of the week arrives, I watch as he scurries to and fro, packing and getting ready to leave. I call out the verbal checklist, asking if he’s forgotten anything. I pack his blood pressure medicine for the week, and I watch as he carries things out to the car. A hug and several kisses later, he’s gone. I always stand in the doorway and watch him go, and I always cry.

When he comes home to me at the end of the week, he’s dirty and he’s tired. He showers first thing and usually goes right to bed. I end up with the bag of smelly laundry covered in mud, truck grease, diesel smell and man sweat. Most weekends we have approximately 34 hours together. When you factor in sleeping, it ends up being closer to 24 hours. Our schedules usually don’t mesh. He sleeps at odd hours on the road, and his sleep schedule will often be off when he gets home.

I try not to bother him on the road with petty things, but it can be hard when things break around the house and we don’t know how to fix them. I’m certain he wasn’t wild about the hysterical phone calls about the toilet leaking into the basement (turn the water off and call a plumber in the morning) or the overflowing sump pump (the pipe was blocked somehow and he had to talk my son through how to unplug it, and then when the unplugging procedure broke the connection altogether, my son had to learn how to fix it and put it back together).

It’s hard being married to a trucker, and it’s hard to send him away every week. He always comes back home, though, and that makes all the goodbyes and all the tears worth it. Now that we spend more time apart than we do together, I think that our marriage is even better than before. We’ve discovered how much we love each other, and we appreciate each other more. We don’t take each other for granted.

Looking forward to seeing him again at the end of each week is what keeps me sane and what keeps me going. Yes, his leaving will always be my least favorite part of the week, but his holding me close again is always the best part.

A to Z Blog Challenge – Y is for Yolanda

YolandaYOLANDA

Yolanda looked up as the main doors opened. She was in the process of helping one of the patients walk down the hallway.

“That’s it, Mrs. Landry,” she said.

Yolanda smiled at a young couple as they walked by her with a young girl and a toddler in his stroller. Several of the patients were excited to see the children. They kept stopping the young couple to smile, wave at or talk to the children and their parents.

“Okay, Mrs. Landry,” Yolanda said, “Here we are. I thought you might like to sit next to Adelaide.”

“Thank you,” Mrs. Landry said, as she let Yolanda settle her in the chair. Yolanda picked up a nearby light-weight blanket and tucked it around Mrs. Landry’s legs.

Yolanda did a quick scan of the area to make sure none of the other patients needed anything. She straightened a pillow behind Mr. Stevens’ back and patted his hand when he smiled up at her. She headed back to the nurse’s station.

“Anything else need doing, Phyll?” she asked her co-worker Phyllis.

“I think we’re good at the moment,” Phyllis sighed, “A break in the chaos. Whoops, there goes the bell for Mr. Webb’s room.”

“I’ll get it,” Yolanda told her, turning to head back down the hallway.

When she got to the room, she found that the young family who had come in had gone to Mr. Webb’s room.

“Sorry to bother you,” the woman said, “He seems to be out of water.”

“No problem,” Yolanda smiled, “I’ll get him some more.”

She went to fill a Styrofoam cup with ice water. After she’d attached a lid and straw, she took it back to the room.

“… and I went on a school trip this week, Grandpa Barney,” the young girl was chattering away when she went back in.

“I didn’t realize Mr. Webb had grandchildren,” Yolanda smiled.

“Honorary grandchildren,” the mother smiled, “I’m Holly, and this is my husband Joe, daughter Annelise and son Robbie. Annelise adopted Barney in the park a few years ago. They’ve been fast friends since.”

“He has perked up a lot,” Yolanda said. She went over to straighten Mr. Webb’s pillow and lap rug where he sat in his chair.

“He has always had a soft spot for children,” Joe said, “He used to run the hardware store in town – out where the supermarket is now, and he was a big fan of the kids. He’d fix their bikes for free, and they’d stop by there all the time to tell him of their exploits.”

“I never knew that,” Yolanda said, “He’s one of my favorite patients. On his good days, he always has a smile for me. He’s never a bother.” She patted Barney’s shoulder. “Well, I’ll get back to work. You let me know if he needs anything else.”

“Thank you,” Holly said.

“Grandpa Barney, Robbie can say elevator!” Annelise told him as Yolanda walked out.

Yolanda smiled and went back to the nurse’s station.

“What’s so funny?” Phyllis asked her.

“Oh, nothing, I was just smiling at how cute those kids are who are visiting Mr. Webb. I’ve never seen them before.”

“They come in a couple of times a week – usually during the afternoon before you get here. Nice family,” Phyllis said.

“I thought so,” Yolanda said.

She turned as an older male patient shuffled up to the desk to ask for help with a jigsaw puzzle he was working on. She went over to referee what was quickly becoming an arguing match over the puzzle pieces.

Image courtesy of Pinterest

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A to Z Blog Challenge – X is for Xavier

XavierXAVIER

Xavier moved down the hallway towards the Crowley apartment, ready to start the week and his shift as an aide working with Mr. Webb, Mrs. Crowley’s father. He had been working in this location for a few months now, and he liked this assignment. Mr. Webb was an older man with Alzheimer’s. While he had at first needed an aide to make sure he did not wander as dementia patients sometimes do, he had lately begun to require an aide to assist more with his daily self-care and maintenance. Xavier found Barney Webb easy to work with.

He rang the bell, and he heard Mrs. Crowley call out, “Dad, Xavier is here!”

He smiled as she opened the door.

“Good morning, Xavier!” she grinned, “Am I glad to see you.”

“Is he having a bad morning?” Xavier asked, putting down his backpack to follow her down the hallway towards Barney’s room.

“Not bad,” she shrugged, “He’s just being a little uncooperative.”

Xavier found Barney still in bed, staring at the wall.

“Hey!” Xavier called out, in a cheerful, teasing tone, “What’s going on here? Why are you still lying about in bed at this hour?”

Barney turned to look at him, and Xavier was pleased to see a smile tugging at the corner of Mr. Webb’s mouth.

“Come on, now,” Xavier cajoled him, “Let’s see how fast we can get you washed up and dressed. I think I smell pancakes!”

Chloe smiled in appreciation. She gazed fondly at her father, and Xavier was sure she winked at him, too, as she turned to go back to the kitchen to finish making breakfast. Xavier bent down to help Barney sit up, and he gently helped him begin the process of getting up and ready to face the day.

During the afternoon, Xavier and Barney headed outside for the park. They walked up and down for a bit so that Barney could get some exercise, and then they sat on the bench watching the birds for a while. It was a fairly quiet day until they saw Annelise approaching.

“Grandpa Barney,” she said, happily, giving him a hug, “Hi, Xavier!”

“Hello, Annelise,” Xavier said.

“I brought my painting,” she said, unfolding the rolled up paper she was holding. “I brought it home from school. It’s you, Grandpa Barney. See? You are sitting here on the bench, and there are the flowers and the trees.”

Barney smiled and turned to look at Xavier.

“No, I’m not in the picture,” Xavier smiled, “It’s very nice, isn’t it?”

Barney smiled and touched the picture.

“I think he likes it,” Xavier told Annelise.

“I want him to have it,” she said, “Can you ask Chloe to hang it on his wall?”

“I surely will,” Xavier promised her.

Later when he took Barney back inside, the first thing they did was hang Annelise’s painting on Barney’s bedroom wall. When Xavier left that afternoon, Barney was sitting in the chair in his room, gazing at the painting on his wall.

Image courtesy of Pinterest

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