Country Run

So I was supposed to start exercising when Numero Quatro started preschool. And give up twinkies. That didn’t happen.

I did go running today, though. I was not a gazelle, but I got it done. You have to go through that first phase before becoming a gazelle. My gazelle days are coming.

I now have a route I really like, which is comforting somehow. About halfway down one of my sidestreet country roads, I saw an older couple standing out in front of their property, inspecting some vegetation. It looked like a garden of sorts. The leaves coming up were a deep, healthy green. As I ran by, I said,

“That’s quite a crop you got there.” I was proud of myself. I had spoken. I had used the word crop. And I had seen humans. All in the same place.
The lady chuckled at my comment. Why is she chuckling, I wondered.

“What is it?” I asked, following up on my crop question. I was guessing broccoli in my head.

“These are elephant ears,” she answered blankly. “They spring up naturally.”

oh.

I totally knew that.

 

 

 

stuFf

Text of the day:”I’ll try that,” = “I’ll Terry heyday.” Because obviously THAT’S what I wanted to say.

If you are going to be a dork, at least be symmetrical about it.

My cardio workout for the day was trying to pick a horse’s feet. My 11-year-old was giving me advice. If you measure success on actually picking the horse’s feet, then I failed. Utterly. She wouldn’t even make eye contact with me. It’s like I wasn’t even there. I prefer to measure success on how many times I get kicked in the head, how many bones I break, or how many times I hear something pop inside an arm or leg.

Times kicked in head = 0
Bones broken = 0
Times I heard something pop = once, but that was inside my head when I thought I had to cut and laminate 100 tiny cards. Pheww. Dodged that bullet.

So I call that success. Todd picked her feet later. The right way. She respects him.

I filled up my van today for $3.28. Booyah, Winn Dixie Fuel Perks. Thanky, kindly. I’ll have that with a BOGO pork cop and some fried typist.

 

 

 

A day’s mistakes

I have often said about myself: I may make a lot of dumb mistakes, but I never make the same dumb mistakes. I can be taught. Unfortunately for me, there are so many new ways to make dumb mistakes, I never quite feel I’ve arrived. There is no peaceful sigh followed by, “I remember when I used to be dumb.” Instead, I just wonder what it’ll be today. In what way will I shame or endanger myself? Every day is exciting…

I walked into Winn Dixie this morning to buy bacon. We were out and there are at least 2 people in my family that are carnivores only. Baconivores, if you will. Porkivores? Well, whatever. I went in to buy bacon and to get something for dinner tonight. I figured some sort of culinary spirit would move me. What moved me was the Buy one, get one on most meats in the store. Wow. I wanted to pass this up, because I didn’t really feel like shopping. But I couldn’t pass it up. I had to start throwing meats into my…little tiny basket. That lasted all 1 roast’s worth of space.

So I set my basket on the floor and went to the front of the store to get a cart. Then, I returned to tossing meats into it. At wild abandon. Awesome.

I decided this little find was exciting enough to text about. So I pulled Gladys out of my back pocket and texted Todd. I typed, “I think Winn Dixie is my new favorite store. BOGO on all meats. I am buying chicken, steak, pork chops, and roasts.”

I was about to hit send when I remembered the breeding and pottying. So I stopped myself cold and read back over the words that were about to hit Todd’s phone. It said, “I am buying chicken, steak, pork cops, and typists.”

Well, now. That’s a very different type of sale, now isn’t it? I’m not sure I even have any good recipes for pork cops or typists. So I corrected myself. You see? Only dumb once, in one area.

I checked out and rejoiced in my $50 worth of free meat. Then I went to load everything into the car.

Everything but the bacon. Which I forgot to get. Because the free cops and typists were so distracting to me.

Shoot. Back into the store I went. This time I bought bacon on sale and some crackers. Mmm. Bacon and crackers.

Checked out again, with the same cashier. That’s always unfortunate. I’m sure she’s seen this before, though.

Then I walked out to my car to go home and the driver’s door was wide open. Huh. Well, would ya look at that? I did that. Remembered the bacon and walked back in to buy some without shutting my door. Fortunately, the 2 ipods and 2 cameras were still there. Because if you save $50 in meat but lose $600 in electronics, you are $550 in the hole.

And though they might be tasty, the free pork cops will not sing your Merry Kicksmas playlist to you when the holidays roll around.

How smart is YOUR phone?

I promised a lighter post. Though I still feel like I could go on and on about heavy things, I’m going to tell you a little about the world of technology as it relates to me.

I have a smart phone. It is very smart. It is so smart that I almost don’t need the Informinator anymore. However, I still do need her for obscure protocols and regional trivia that even my smart phone doesn’t know.

My phone is a lot less blunt than the Informinator. It has never chastised me for my poor behavior or called me out for…oh, everything.  I need to get a set of slightly more rebellious friends so that I can be the cream of the crop and not the ear the farmer thows away after a spanking. Do farmers do that? Maybe not. We are still adjusting to life in the country.

Whatever.

When I first got my smart phone, thus breaking my verbal contract with the Informinator to remain smartphone-less until February 12, 2013, I was convinced the purpose of the phone was to make me smarter. That was supposed to be the smart part of the whole deal. Three months later, I know the truth. It is a truth of an entirely different nature. The smart phone does not make you smarter. It is simply there to point out how dumb you really are. It exists for two basic reasons:

(1)    To provide information in a lightning fast manner to dumb people.

(2)    To mock the person using it.

It doesn’t make me smarter. It points out how dumb I really am. And it laughs at me as it does so.

For instance, recently my phone—I shall call her Gladys—offered me a better way to type on the clunky little touch screen keyboard. This offer came to me in a kindly worded, “Would you like to try Swype?” kind of way. It was friendly, warm, touching. So I thought it over. Surely swype was the next best thing to superpowers if it is offering it to me in such a lovely way. So I said yes. Sure. I’ll try your way of typing. For those who don’t have such a technology, this consists of swiping your fingers from key to key instead of plunking.  My plunking is hamfisted and awkward and presents all sorts of misspellings in more than one language. Surely this new Swype is my ticket out of plunking, I said to myself. Let’s do it. This is gonna be awesome.

For awhile, it was.  And then, recently, something happened. Call it a cruel trick. A bait and switch. I’m not sure how to explain it. But somewhere in the last week, Gladys has turned on me. I blame the Informinator.

Gladys (that’s my phone again…some of you have short attention spans) likes to guess the words I’m trying to say while texting. Often, she is right. And I’ve grown accustomed to that first guess being correct. I guess you could say I’ve gotten a little lazy in allowing her to guess my thought without my proofreading over her shoulder.

So this week, I was texting back and forth with my mother in law, who was on the west coast at the time.  I was three hours ahead of her and it was after 11 my time, so I was ready to call it a night. So, to close out this conversation, I attempted to announce that I was going to bed. And here is exactly how that conversation went.

“I am going to breed more. Goodnight to you west coasters.”  And I put my phone away, happy to have closed out the conversation amicably.

Then Gladys beeped again. Another text. Hmm.

“GOING TO BREED MORE?” It said. This was still my mother in law. My eyes got large as I reread my previous message. There it was in blinky little letters. Going to breed more. Goodnight to you west coasters. Is that what you kids are calling it these days?

No no no no no no no no. Not going to breed more. Going to BED NOW.  Not going to breed at all, I said. Not even a little bit. No breeding.

That’s what u said, she typed.

Why does “breed” EVER come up in predictive texting? People with smart phone do not discuss breeding via text. I would argue that this has never come up in a texting context.

The next day—a mere 12 hours later—I was texting a friend about some things that were on her mind. We weren’t discussing details, but it was obvious to me that the situations could use a prayer or two.

“I’m sorry you’ve had some heavy stuff to deal with,” I typed on my super smart phone. “I will potty for you.”

And then I sat back in my fluffy brown chair and turned on the TV. I figured that conversation was over. My phone beeped again.

“Will you really? Will you potty for me?” She asked. I furrowed my brow, read my previous message. Yep. I had offered to potty about it.

“That’s probably the kindest gesture I’ve ever gotten” she said.

And I have laughed really hard as I cursed Gladys for her evil antics.  Since then, she has convinced me to begin playing a word game that I cannot win.  I’m an English major. I can’t beat anyone at this game.  So I thought if I let Gladys match me up with a similar opponent –a stranger of similar wordsmith skills–I would have a shot at winning. She’s a smart phone. She knows my skills and game scores.

So she found me a match.
Even Bugger39 beat me.
Bad.

I guess they have to market them as smart phones. If they called them Vindictive Phones, nobody would buy them. I just call her Gladys and I’m not letting her take dictation anymore. I’m taking back my life.

I’m Missy Snapp and I approve this message.

The house of mourning

WARNING AND DISCLAIMER: This is a sad post about sad things. If you don’t feel like shouldering such, don’t read it.  Sometimes, with knowledge comes sadness. Just consider yourself warned.

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Ecclesiastes 7 : It is better to go to the house of mourning
than to go to the house of feasting,
for this is the end of all mankind,
and the living will lay it to heart.
Sorrow is better than laughter,
for by sadness of face the heart is made glad.
The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning,
but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.

I feel like I’ve been in the house of mourning more since July than I was for the last 5 years. And while I understand that people grow through trials, and what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and the house of mourning teaches lessons we could never learn in the house of mirth, I’d still rather not go there, if given the choice. Who chooses the dentist over Disney? No thanks. I’d much prefer the house of mirth. Sometimes there’s no choice in the matter.

On Sunday evening, September 9, a 6-year-old girl named Coleen Persell, departed rather suddenly and crossed over into eternity. The world we live in was radically changed. And though I have never met her, my world was changed, too. Why? Because people I love, loved her. Because I am no different from her mother. I have four children also. I live on a farm, too. My kids are around dangerous equipment; things that when they work perfectly, aren’t so dangerous. But when they don’t, well…sometimes tragedy strikes in the worst way.  I worry about this every day of my life.

So when I was told that this precious girl had claimed her crown far earlier than anyone wanted, I cried. And I prayed. And I’ve cried and prayed since…many times. Not an hour has gone by that I don’t think of it. And who am I? Nobody.  So for those in her life daily– her parents, grandparents, siblings, friends, cousins, aunts and uncles, teachers, and adorers, this is very, very, VERY hard.

I have thought about my own kids so much this week. When they have awakened in the middle of the night with a bad dream or a cramping leg, I have been glad to see them—no matter the hour. When I wrenched my back getting out of bed to put one of them back in bed  (yeah, I know…if The Signs of Being Pathetic were an interesting blog post, this detail would make the cut), I didn’t complain. I thought back to my little family before Surprise #4 arrived. We were happy. We felt complete enough. But when a child is born, you form a new quadrant of your heart just for that one child. It’s a part of you that wasn’t there before. And they pump your life full of pictures and I love yous and leg cramps and tellmeastories and funny expressions and speech impediments and explanations about Lady Liberty that warm you to your very core. And from that point, you can never go back. Because that quadrant of your heart is born and now full. And if that child leaves you early, that part of your heart cannot go back to feeling the way you did before. It’s there now. You can’t teach it to feel less.

I’m posting a link to Coleen’s voice as she draws a picture and explains the Statue of Liberty.

I learned quite a lot from listening to her:

(1)    She is precious. No doubt about that. Like specially, preciously precious.

(2)    People who are gone are never really gone. It sounds cliché and maybe even a bit trite, but it’s true. Coleen was very much in my kitchen as I watched that and read all about her. That piece of you that forms when that child is born is still full of that child. And there are pieces everywhere that keep that child from ever really being gone.

(3)    The Statue of Liberty “stands for freedom.” This made me chuckle. She drove the point home in a voice too cute for Lady Liberty. Yes, it stands for freedom.

(4)    The One she likes the most, the most, the most…is God. Wow.

In this life, it’s hard to be free. There is pain and suffering and debt and worry and guilt and every other thing in between. Lots of things “stand for freedom,” but rarely do we ever feel free. However, freedom does exist.  Coleen understood a lot about freedom last year when she wrote about the statue of liberty. As much as we would all wish her back for some liberty lessons in our living rooms, I am utterly convinced that she knows everything about freedom now. She loves God the most, the most, the most. And she’s with Jesus now.

It doesn’t get any freer than that.

What matters

I think I’ve been under a false impression for quite some time. I think I allow myself to believe what I need to believe just to get by sometimes. We have to live with ourselves somehow.  But then there are moments where you stare in the face of something: something big, or ugly, or troublesome, or scary. Just something. And you ask yourself “where did THAT come from?” And because we have to have answers, we trace that thing, whatever it is, backwards. We try to figure it out. Sometimes we can. Sometimes we can’t. But that’s when I realize, again, the thing I always knew: everything matters. Everything leads to something. Good or bad. Everything counts.  Think about it. Don’t you think this is true?

Minutes wasted lead to hours wasted or days wasted. The Golden Oreo (why did they have to come out with THESE?) leads to the Twinkies which leads to the bigger size jeans and to not feeling so great.  Every thought I have, every word I say, every half hour I spend, every bite I put in my mouth…every choice I make is propelling me in a certain direction. The problem I have is that I can’t see the end. I can’t see goal; the destination. The thing I’m working toward seems so far away that I can’t in my mind link the Oreo to it. The end of my life seems years away so what I do today doesn’t matter. I can get it right tomorrow. Or not. It feels out there. Ethereal. Intangible.  So I just roll along. In these jeans. With the TV on in the background. With things in my kids that I need to work with them to change. Things in my own life I need to change.

But the real problem is that I’m waiting for some big opportunity. Some BIG something. And it probably won’t happen that way. You don’t make these changes in fell swoops (I am SO happy I got to type that!). You make them 5 minutes at a time. One choice at a time. What I’m doing right this minute may completely impact what happens with my kids at 4 p.m., good or bad.

A year from now, I’ll be able to see clearly which direction my small choices moved me. I’ll be able to trace it back like I’m watching a movie. Looking forward, it’s a whole lot harder to do.

I have to do this. I see it. I have to do it. I need to identify what’s important and throw out what doesn’t help me achieve that. Along that line, I’m turning off the TV. Before I do, though, I have to ask: What is with all the hugging on Price is Right? Do they bond on Contestants Row? High fives would be a whole lot less awkward…

 

Dear Informinator,

You’re so vain.
I bet you think this blog is about you.
You’re so vain.
I bet you think this blog is about you, don’t you, don’t you, don’t you?

Those raised in the 80s will now be singing this song for approximately 23 days. I’m sorry about that. It had to be done.