The Perfect Moment

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“What’s the plan?” is a common phrase in my family. The one problem? Sometimes our planning absorbs all the energy and excitement. When we get to the big day or moment, we are too tired or crabby or out of sorts to enjoy it.

Common sense and Prairie Wisdom says, stop! Instead of planning that perfect event, look around you and make this moment perfect.

It is not always possible, but when we reach for joy and let life unfold in it’s own quirky way, we open ourselves to possibilities. Moments made for smiles. Moments to share with others. Moments that are, well, perfect or pretty darn close.

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Bold and Cautious

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Seriously, is anything better than being a grandparent? Not much. I love enjoying these little ones and am happy to turn them over to their parents when things get dicey.

I travel to see my grandkids, so when I am with them, I am present to their needs. Read 15 books in a row? Sure. Build a fort out of pillows and blankets? Most definitely. Sing off-key to entertain their giggles? I am not afraid of their censure.

Take them to a splash park? Wait, what? Okay, sure, we can spend the afternoon playing in the water. The first 15 minutes of our splash park adventure, I watched them build their courage. They were hesitant to get wet. It reminded me of a trip to a water park years ago with my sister’s family. When we arrived at the water park my sister said, “I don’t want to get wet!” I said, “It’s a water park. You’ll not only get wet, you’ll get drenched.” My sister responded, “Do they rent wetsuits?”

The six-year-old ventured into the water spray first, followed minutes later by the four-year-old. What a joy to watch them dare to get wet. Dare to stand under a spray of water. Dare to be brave and wet and cold.SAM_1700_2

The kids tried every water feature except for the five water buckets. I was standing on the sidelines, under an umbrella to shield my aged skin from the sun, when all of a sudden my umbrella was confiscated. Now, they were ready to brave the water bucket dump.

Yep, those two standing under the umbrella are mine.

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Well, That Was Certainly Unexpected

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My job involves traveling to homes to visit with families. I am privileged to be invited into these houses. I love working with children and families.

The other day, a coworker and I were meeting with a family. Usually, I perch on the edge of the couch as I talk and take notes. This day, I decided to get comfortable and leaned back to enjoy the flow of conversation.

When the meeting concluded, I started to rise when I noticed something was not right. So, I sat down again. I looked around. Everything seemed normal. I stood again and realized I was dragging a large couch pillow with me. The pillow was attached to my rear end. Not a small pillow, mind you. This was a huge pillow with fringe.

Awkward.

Somehow, while leaning back against the sofa, I had wrapped the fringe around my back pocket button. Multiple times.

As I stood there, everyone began to notice that I had a pillow hanging from my rear.  The family moved forward to help me. I raised my hand to stop their progress while shoving my back towards my coworker. She began fumbling and muttering behind me.  I thought I would need to request a scissors when I was finally, gloriously released from the weight of the pillow.

And that, was that.

I shook everyone’s hands and made it to the foyer before I collapsed in giggles. My coworker said all things professional and nice as I let myself out the front door and raced to the car. Now, the joy knew no bounds.

I have an overactive sense of humor during the mundane. But add any excitement and I am transported for days.

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I Smell Danger

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The other day, I was with my son in an electronics store. We needed a new wireless router asap! I knew the features I required, had a price range I could live with and about a zillion questions.

A nice, young salesman gave me his undivided attention for a long time. I remember thinking ‘What great service!’ We wandered up and down the aisle talking about my choices and after a great debate, I was ready to purchase.

Moments later, I walked out of the store smiling at my son when all of a sudden he gasped for air. He expanded his chest and drew in big, deep breaths. I was startled and worried and ready to dial 911 when he turned to me and said, “Didn’t you smell that guy? That salesman had the worst B.O. Geez mom, how could you stand it?”

How could I spend 20 some minutes with a guy who stunk? Easily. I smelled nothing. Nada. Not even a whiff. No matter how many times I tell my family that I smell nothing, they just don’t seem to believe me. I am not pretending. I am not pulling their leg. I really smell NOTHING.

When my grandson poops his diaper and clears the room, I have to be told he filled his pants. I always volunteer to change his diaper because, well, why not? It doesn’t smell to me.

When we drove by a stockyard and the entire car erupted in shrieks from the stench, I sniffed and inhaled hoping to get one small whiff of anything. But no.

When we were in northern Minnesota and the antique store did not have a bathroom inside but an outhouse ’round back’, no problem. I took my time and enjoyed communing with nature.

Good smells, bad smells, indifferent smells are all the same to me. I smell gray. That is the best way I can describe smelling nothing.

But wait, I have convinced myself that I can smell one thing. I believe I can smell danger.

One day when I got out of my car in the garage I noticed that something was wrong. I smelled danger. It didn’t have an aroma. I just sensed it and later found out that our snow blower was leaking oil and gas on the garage floor.

What does danger smell like? A sense of urgency. An uncomfortable feeling. A need to find someone with an intact olfactory system to investigate your ‘feeling’.

The other day I was baking and happily going about my business when the kids ran into the kitchen and said, “What’s that smell?!?” Evidently, burning plastic in the oven does not smell like danger to me.

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New Year, New Resolution

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I once got the flu shot and then spent the entire winter, spring, summer and fall combatting sinusitis. The doctor said my problem was not caused by the flu shot and yet, I had never had sinusitis before. I can put two and two together and make it add up to whatever I want. I blamed the flu shot.

Since that time, I have avoided the flu shot. It makes me sick.

Fast forward to the fall of 2013. My place of employment provided flu shots for free. I said, “No and thank you!” That Friday, I ran a 101 degree temperature for a day. I told my husband it was lucky that I had not received the flu vaccination or I would have blamed the fever on the shot.

This past weekend I started to feel under the weather for a moment and then it felt like a sick train ran over me. Fever. Chills. Body aches. Cough. Headache. Sinus pain (no surprise). I went into action. Rest (check). Fluids (check). Cool air humidifier (check). Old home remedies involving honey, lemon and vinegar (check). Ibuprofen (check). Vicks VapoRub (check). Neti pot (check).

On day two, when I couldn’t lift my head off the pillow, I said to my husband, “Please drive me to the doctor’s office.”

Going to the doctor’s office involves telling a series of people the same information. First you talk to a receptionist who requires a brief description of why you are calling. Then you must describe the  symptoms in greater detail to the scheduling clerk so they may judge the urgency of your situation. When you arrive at the clinic, you start all over again describing your aches and pains with the nurse, but now you field probing questions. This is about the time that my sense of humor collides with my delirium and I lose my filter.

Nurse: “Do you have any pain?”
Me: “Yes, I am over 50, something is always hurting.”
Nurse: “Any new pain?”
Me: “Yes, my whole body aches and my head is pounding.”
Nurse: “On a scale of 1 to 10, how bad is the pain?”
Me: “I’ll say a 6 but I have a high pain tolerance so no clue if this is helpful.”

So when the doctor finally arrived, I was out of patience and just wished the doctor would read the copious notes that had already been written so I would not have to say a thing. But no such luck. The descriptions and interrogation started anew. And lo and behold, we end right where I could have predicted if they would just listen to me and skip the 45 minute question/answer session. It is either sinusitis or the influenza.

I headed to the lab to have my nose swabbed with something that will feel like “a feather tickling the inside of my nose”. It did.

Later, sitting in the waiting room with the other patients wearing masks and looking miserable and tired and sick, the nurse called my name and I went back to the examination room to wait for the doctor and the lab results. He walks in, frowns and says, “You have the flu.” Oh oh.

I am now one of the statistics of the 2013/2014 flu season.

I am on day 5 of the flu. A few hours ago, I wasn’t sure I was going to survive this thing but I am having my first spurt of energy in days so I wanted to start 2014 with my New Year’s Resolution.

From now on, I will always get the flu vaccination!

I know it might not prevent me from getting the flu in the future, but I owe it my grandchildren. You see, I was with them the day I became sick. I need to do whatever I can to take care of myself so that I take care of the important people in my life.

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