Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Circle of Life

Yes, I know, I have been an absentee blogger again. I am so sorry and hopefully things will return to normal someday soon. I seriously doubt it though. After all, look at the title to my little page on the internet. My world has been WAY crazy and WAY mixed up as of late, but doesn't seem quite so "little" any longer. Many things, HUGE things, happened in my life over the past week. Things that are life altering and will have a profound affect on me. These things have touched me in a way that I am compelled to tell my story to everyone that will listen.

It all began last Friday. I received a call from my father letting me know that my step-grandfather, Papaw, was not doing well. You see, Papaw had a ravenous form of cancer that had been attacking and eating its way through his body for the past several months. Daddy told me that Papaw had spiked a fever and lost consciousness Friday morning and things didn't look good. I explained that I had a commitment on Friday evening that I had to keep, but I would be up (to Dandridge) first thing Saturday morning. I was not prepared for what I saw when I walked into my grandparents' living room on Saturday morning. There lay my Papaw in a hospital bed. The man who had always been so strong and intimidating was now just a frail and weak little man. To say I was taken aback is quite an understatement. I last saw Papaw in June and he was his normal self, laughing joking and teasing. But, Saturday I could tell things were probably not going to be the same again. The hospice nurses were telling the family that Papaw was facing his final hours of life. He was pretty much none responsive. His eyes were mostly glazed over; however, occasionally we would say something to him and he would respond with a grunt or a squeeze of the hand. We all just prayed that God would let His will be done in a quick manner so that Papaw wouldn't have to suffer any longer.

Papaw came into my life when I was 8, and Daddy and Fris got married. With me growing up in Florida and Papaw being a truck driver, I only saw him in the summer when I was visiting he was not out on the road. Needless to say, we weren't as close as I was with my other grandfathers; but, I loved him nonetheless. As an adult, I didn't really do anything to grow our relationship. I would see Papaw at holiday gatherings and family functions, but never really went out of my way to go to his house for "no special reason". I invited Papaw and Mamaw to Kaylea's birthday parties every year, but they only came to the first two. Once again, we were family members and we loved each other, but we weren't actively involved in each other's daily lives.

It was strange though, when I saw him laying in that bed, all of our history seemed to be erased. I sat at his bedside and held his hand and wiped his brow. I rubbed his arms and legs and kissed his cheek. I told him I loved him and not to worry, everything was going to be ok. I sat with Papaw all day on that Saturday and didn't want to leave that night, but I did. ThiThi and I came home and cooked food to take to the family bright and early on Sunday morning. When we returned Sunday, I sat and held his hand and wiped his brow; rubbed his arms and legs and kissed his cheek. And I told him I loved him and not to worry, everything was going to be ok. Once again on Sunday evening I didn't want to leave him, but I did. ThiThi and I came home and tried to get some rest; then back we went on Monday morning. When we returned on Monday I sat and held his hand and wiped his brow; rubbed his arms and legs and kissed his cheek. And I told him I loved him and not to worry, everything was going to be ok. When it came time to go home I didn't want to leave, but I did. This time, however, ThiThi and I told Fris, Mamaw and my brother that we were going to come back and sit with Papaw through the night. At that time, we didn't know why we wanted to or felt called to come back, but we just did.

Over those three days, many times the question was asked, "Why doesn't God just end Papaw's suffering?" "Why hasn't God taken him yet?" And many times, the answer was, "God isn't through with Papaw; He is still using him to do His work." Then Papaw's preacher said, "God has great plans for Papaw, but now He is using him to touch someones life and bring them to Him." It was also suggested by the hospice nurses that Papaw wasn't ready to go and he was waiting to make sure his family would be ok. They encouraged us to talk to Papaw and tell him that we would be ok and that he could go now. All of us took our turn and we had that conversation, but Papaw was still holding on.

On Monday evening, ThiThi, Papaw's son David, Papaw's sister Mary and I sat up all night. We took turns holding his hand and talking to him. There were times when he was unconscious and at other times he was aware of our presence. He actually tried to talk to Mary and David at one point, but unfortunately we couldn't understand what he was saying. We kept telling him we were all ok and he could go Home now. But for some reason he just hung in there. About 10am Tuesday morning, ThiThi and I were getting ready to leave to come home and we were saying our goodbyes to Papaw. He mumbled, "Mom". ThiThi asked him, "Papaw, do you see your Mom?" He replied, "Uh, huh." (His Mom died about 20 years ago) Then he began squinting his eyes real tight as if the sun were shining in his eyes. ThiThi asked him, "Papaw, do you see a bright light?" He replied, "Uh, huh." We both kissed him on the forehead and told him we loved him and then we left.

Naturally, we both were exhausted. On the way home we made plans to take naps and return later in the afternoon. When I got home I glanced at my answering machine and the message light was blinking. I was almost afraid to play the message, but knew that I had to. Imagine my surprise and excitement when I played the message and heard a lady from the Sevier County Schools asking me to call her back that day to schedule an interview for a Teacher Assistant position. If you don't remember, I have been trying to get this very job, with no luck, for the last 4 years. Of course, I immediately called back and she wanted to know if I could come in for an interview at 1:30 that afternoon. Naturally, I told her I would be there. Then I hurried to shower and wake myself enough to drive to Sevierville. My interview went very well and was over within about 20-30 minutes. At its conclusion, I was offered the job. Yeah, me! I was so happy; finally the prayer that I had prayed so many times over the last 4 years had finally been answered. I left the school board office and immediately went to take my physical so that I could start to work on Wednesday morning. After my physical I called Bub with the good news.

When I called Bub, I was absolutely giddy. I finally had the job that I had pretty much given up on. As a matter of fact, my application had expired the Friday before my interview, because I hadn't renewed it at the beginning of this school year. I was telling Bub all of the oddities of getting the job offer and when I paused long enough for him to speak, he said, "Jenni, I am so happy for you. I hope this is everything you want. Now, I hate to do this to you, but I am going to have to burst your bubble. Papaw died. Missy called and said that Papaw passed away around 2:00." I almost had to pull off the road. You see Papaw died at almost the same time that I was offered my job. All I could do was cry and wonder.

All I know is I believe in prayers being answered; however, we can't set the timeline for when they will be answered. God works in His own time. For whatever reason, I wasn't meant to work at the school until now. And for whatever reason, Papaw's time to go Home wasn't until 2:00 on Tuesday. After meeting the children in my class, I know God has special plans for me, as well. We have a few children with special needs and I think God has placed me with them for a reason. And as for Papaw, I know that he is in his special place. He is happy and free from all of his pain. And I just hope he knows how much I love him and that he was a true blessing to me!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Our Life In Pictures

I have written many posts this summer about different family events and special celebrations, but I couldn't seem to get the pictures included in the posts. So, here are the pictures that recap our summer. Enjoy!

SJ and Kaylea playing in the river at Family Reunion ~ June 2008

K8 and SJ at Family Reunion ~ June 2008

Mr. Bob on Father's Day ~ June 2008

The beautiful Miss C on Father's Day ~ June 2008

Pappy on Father's Day ~ June 2008

Miss C's Birthday ~ July 2008

Grammy and Pappy celebrating their 40th Anniversary - August 2008

Grammy's and Pappy's 40th Anniversary cake and cupcakes~ August 2008

The Anniversary cake ~ August 2008

Grammy and Pappy cutting their cake ~ August 2008

Grammy and Pappy feeding each other cake ~ August 2008

Bub's Birthday ~ August 2008

Bub's Birthday cake (handmade by Kaylea) ~ August 2008

Bub blowing out his candles (with a little help from Kaylea) ~ August 2008

My babies (Kaylea and Angel) and me ~ Summer 2008

Where has the summer gone? When I look back at these pictures, I can't believe that summer is now over and it is time to go back to school. It seems like all of this just happened last week. Oh well, I hope everyone out there had a great summer. Ours was a bit crazy and a little mixed up, but we wouldn't have it any other way!

Monday, August 11, 2008

The Queen of Quirks

My friend and fellow blogger, Angie, tagged me for a meme. I just don't know why she tagged me for this particular meme. Just because it is about "quirks" and I happen to be the Queen of Quirks....that shouldn't make me a definite shoo in. For some reason I think I am the subject of behavioral profiling.

Well, here are the rules for this meme:
1) Link to the person who tagged you.
2) Mention the rules.
3) Tell six quirky yet boring, unspectacular details about myself.
4) Tag six other bloggers by linking to them.
5) Go to each person’s blog and leave a comment that lets them know they’ve been tagged.

OK, this sounds simple enough. I just need to list 6 quirky things that I do. What, only 6? How will I narrow them down? Well, here goes; I'll do my best.

1) The food in my pantry is sorted by categories, like a grocery store. All of the soups are together; all of the vegetables are together; all of the grains are together; all of the baking products are together; and so on and so on. Also, if I have two of a particular item, say tomato soup, the cans are stacked one on top of the other with the labels facing out - of course!

2) The spices in the spice cabinet are sorted by herbs and singular spices (oregano, tarragon, paprika, chili powder, etc.); mixed spices and seasoned salts (Lawry's, steak seasoning, chicken seasoning, Mrs. Dash, etc.); dessert spices (nutmeg, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, etc.); and so on.

3) I am freaky about any type of body hair that is not connected to the body. You know the kind that sheds off onto the floor or in the shower. And don't even get me started about my freak out when I get a hair stuck to my hands when they are wet. EWW! (Yes, I could never make it as a hair stylist)

4) I organize the clothes in my closet by style, color and season. All of the short sleeve t-shirts are sorted by color and hung together; then the short sleeve collared shirts; then the sleeveless collared shirts; then the sleeveless no collar shirts; etc.

5) I always wash the loads of laundry in the same order. First the whites; then the light colors; then Barry's work clothes; then the jeans; and finally the sheets and towels. Don't know why - just do.

6) I have this thing about checking out people's feet - not a foot fetish - I just find myself looking at people's feet and toes. Men, women, kids, old and young, it doesn't matter. And in case you have never noticed, there are some really pretty people out there that have some pretty ugly toes. I'm just sayin'.

Oh gosh, that was my 6 quirky things quota. Honestly, I have so many more quirks; I could go on and on and on. But I would prefer you think of my as "Quirky" instead of "Freakish".

So now it's your turn. Enquiring minds are dieing to hear from you:


Sunday, August 10, 2008

Disappointment At Savelli's

Friday evening our family (Memommy, Mr. Jimmy, Auntie M., Mr. Bob, Bub, Kaylea and I) went out for what we thought was going to be a nice dinner at one of our favorite little Italian restaurants. We all had eaten at Savelli's in the past and it was the first choice when we planned our outing. As a matter of fact, Memommy had been looking forward to going there for over a week. You see, Memommy and Mr. Jimmy are from Macon and they don't have the opportunity to visit Savelli's like the rest of us "locals" do.

Well, all I can say is we did not have a good experience Friday evening, and the manner in which our complaints were handled will most likely prevent us from returning to the restaurant. If you are familiar with Savelli's, then you know it is very intimate and it can tend to get very crowded. Of course, expect this on a Friday evening; therefore, we made reservations for our party of 7.

When we arrived, we were seated immediately and our drink orders were taken. Then we sat for quite a while before we were approached again. By this time everyone was very hungry and ready to order. Unfortunate for us though, our waiter only wanted to take our appetizer order. This was apparent by the way he rushed away from the table as soon as we ordered the antipasto salad and fried cheese. We sat and waited for him to return and take our meal order, but he didn't return. Finally, our appetizers were brought to the table by a young lady (not our waiter), and we dove into them like a swarm of locust. The fried cheese was very good, but the antipasto salad was lacking a little, in my opinion. Don't get me wrong, the meats and provolone, along with the peppers and olives were delicious, but the lettuce looked old and had started to turn brown around the edges. It had the appearance of lettuce that had been chopped for a day or so and had been stored in the refrigerator.

After we finished our appetizers we continued to sit and wait for our meal order to be taken. Finally, our waiter returned to the table to take the orders. Guess what we did after that? You guessed it; sat and sat and sat and waited for our meals to be prepared. Unfortunately, things just careened downhill from this point forward. When our meals finally arrived - minus Mr. Jimmy's (the pizza cooks were backed up and his was going to take about 7 minute longer - which was actually about 10 min, but who's counting) - there were a few problems. First Mr. Bob's Chicken Parmesan was burnt and he ordered Angel Hair pasta and received spaghetti. All things we would deal with; however, we could not deal with what we discovered next. After Memommy, Auntie M and I doused our meals with Parmesan Cheese we smelled a horrific odor that resembled something along the lines of a men's locker room and dirty sweaty socks. I picked up the shaker of Parmesan Cheese and took a big whiff and about fell out of my chair. Let's just say, I found the originating point of the odor. It smelled more like Limburger Cheese instead of Parmesan Cheese. We immediately flagged our waiter and told him of the problem and that we now had three meals that were covered in rancid cheese, to which his only action was to remove the cheese shaker from the table and walk into the kitchen. After waiting on a few tables he returned and removed our plates and then waited on a few more tables. Then finally, he returned again and asked us what we wanted to replace our original orders. We told him we wanted the same meals, just not with rotten cheese this time.

When our meals were finally brought back to the table (Auntie M's about 5 minutes after Memommy's and mine) I began to eat, being careful to stay away from the cheese shaker. Imagine my shock when I put the first bite of a stuffed shell into my mouth and tasted spoiled ricotta cheese. I promptly spit it out and gave up on eating Italian for the evening. For some odd reason I had lost my appetite.

As of yet, there has been no response to our complaint. The waiter brought the bill, with no accommodation for the poor service and poor food quality we received. When Auntie M called back to the restaurant she was told they were too busy to talk to her and she would have to call back on Saturday. We are still waiting for an apology, at the very least! Unfortunately, regardless of how, or if, they resolve this matter, I don't think I will be returning. So so sad! I guess I will have to get my Italian fix at Altruda's from now on.

Friday, August 8, 2008


Each year when getting Kaylea ready to start back to school, I just shake my head in wonder at the rules that have been set forth by the Sevier County Schools. The one that really gets me is the requirement of all students to carry clear or mesh backpacks to school. I know many of you might think that this is a good rule because it prevents students from carrying drugs, weapons, and all other types of harmful things to school. Well, this is my beef with the rule.

One of all (as Kaylea would say), is this rule necessary in Primary school? I haven't heard of too many kindergartners packin' heat.

Second, why does the rule fly out the window if the parents choose to buy their little kindergartners the cute canvas bookbag that is sold by the parent support group? Does the school treat their canvas bags with some type of special agent that will dissolve the bookbag if anything harmful were to be carried in it? I think not!

Third, if the school is trying to remain safe and secure, why aren't the students required to carry acrylic instrument cases. If you ask me, little Johnny could get Daddy's shotgun into his trombone case a whole lot easier than into his backpack. I'm just sayin'.

Fourth, why are students allowed to bring their lunch to school? I'm quite sure all sorts of weapons could be concealed inside a Hannah Montana lunchbox.

I guess my gripe is the inconsistency of the policy. If the school system wants to protect our children, which they should, then they need to examine all of their policies and evaluate all possibilities. Make changes that will really have an affect on the behavior they are trying to deter. Until such time comes, I guess I will just be leery of all the lunchbox totin' - trombone playin' - bookbag carryin' kindergarteners.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Rough Week

As I have written before, I have issues. Well, this week has been a rough one for me. You see, brilliant me let my prescription for Cymbalta run out. Oh, I don't mean the one little bottle of "keep Momma happy and pain-free pills" I get each month; oh no - the entire prescription. I noticed last week while I was in Macon that I had enough medication to make it through until I got home, but then I would have to call in a refill. Then, I looked closely at the bottle and noticed that I didn't have anymore refills. I remained hopeful that once I got home I would be able to get in to see the Doctor quickly; therefore, averting any crisis that might me lurking around the corner. Well, with the excitement and craziness of returning home and planning/preparing for the in-laws anniversary party, I forgot to call the doctor's office on Friday. I didn't panic, yet, because I had enough medication to last through Saturday and I figured a call to the doctor on Monday would take care of everything. Well, guess what? I was wrong, again. When I called the doctor on Monday, I was informed that they couldn't get me in until Thursday (today).

I have to be honest, I was a little concerned about waiting that long to get the prescription refilled - not because I thought I would end up collapsing in a heap in the living floor - but basically because I know you are not suppose to quit any type of anti-depressant cold turkey. Well, since the doctor's office obviously wasn't concerned about this, I convinced myself that it must be ok.

Today all I can say is that probably the doctor's office should re-prioritize working in patients that need a prescription refill. I have had a terrible week. And of course it is the same stuff I went through before being prescribed the Cymbalta. I have had absolutely NO energy and my head has felt totally disconnected from my body. I haven't been able to concentrate or even think straight which has culminated in a splitting headache for the past two days. With all of this going on, I haven't wanted to do anything other than sleep, which means I have stayed on the couch or in bed. Now this morning I awoke with severe pain in my back, hips and legs; oh and the headache has yet to subside.

All I can say is come on 2:00, so I can get my medicine back. And to think, I had begun to think that I didn't really need that stuff anymore. Well, I have changed my mind on that one.

Drugs are good; drugs are my friend.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Yes, I am alive...

I know that it has been awhile since I last posted anything, but I just haven't had the time. Somehow, life has gotten in the way:)

Last week, Kaylea was attending art camp in the morning and then we had VBS in the evening. I worked in the kitchen at VBS and when we got home, I was just too tired to do anything. Then Sunday, Kaylea and I went to Macon, GA, to meet up with ThiThi and visit with Memommy and Mr. Jimmy. While we were in GA, mom had a Taste of Home party (yea MOM!) and we did some shopping(yea MOM, again!). Finally, we drove home yesterday (Thursday) and now I am preparing for Barry's parents 40th wedding anniversary party (yea Pappy and Grammy!)

Maybe next week will get back to normal. I hope so, anyway, because I need some downtime so I can catch my breath. WHEW.

Thank you to all my loyal followers. I see you guys haven't given up on me. That is a great feeling!