Lessons Learned: Patience…Ugggh!

Last week I wrote about spring-cleaning. My efforts were short lived in ways than I would never have imagined. Everything I wrote about – warm weather, cleaning, and finding happiness were all shot out the door. Was that the cosmos laughing at me?

First, I got sick. I hate being sick. I will fight tooth and nail in hopes that it’ll go away or I’ll only get a dusting of systems. Most times I win. This time I did not. I went to the doctor on Friday, and she granted me the temporary title of Ms. Acute Bronchitis. The title gave me some relief as the prize was antibiotics, cough pills, and cough syrup with codeine. Unfortunately, my burst of energy to clean for spring went out the door. My energy…gone.

Second, the weather turned to crap as well. We have had rain, rain, rain. And then we had wind, wind, wind. And then we had rain with wind, wind with rain, and vixen cold temperatures. I believe I heard snow in the forecast for the next couple of days. Unbelievable. Spring is no longer spring. It’s stormy, gray, blah weather.

Third, I am sad that a few people I know are stressed to the max and unhappy. For one of those peeps, a change was forced upon them that effects their whole being; another is drowning under a rain cloud that’s not allowing enough sunshine in to grow and breath; and the other is stuck in a situation that was made by choice and soon found to be a bad choice. I know the cosmos are off right now. In “horrorscope” terms, a solar eclipse is in our folds. I just wish the world hadn’t turned to a darker side so quickly.

Last week I had a positive attitude. This week not so positive. I’m feeling the effects of the cold, some unhappiness that’s hanging in the air, and bad weather. So what do I do now? Be patient. Be patient. One day at a time. It’ll get better.

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Using your senses.

Wild, wild, weather. One week snow and below freezing temperatures to sunny and hot a few days later. WTF? Spring has finally come to Minnesota/Wisconsin. And the best part was last night. We had the doors open in the house and the rain came pouring down. We had ourselves a little rainstorm. I breathed in the humidity, smelled the earth as it drank in the water, and felt the cool breeze that brought in the mist.

At work I will put on my headphones and listen to nature sounds. I make my own mix of thunder, rain on a roof, and sometimes wind chimes. The mix is relaxing and drowns out the noise around the office when I need to concentrate. But it’s not the same as being there. It’s amazing what the senses can pick up when there’s more than one sense pulled together. Right now I’m writing in my living room with the windows open. I can smell the upcoming rain again, a grill cooking barbequed meat from one of the neighbor’s yards, and a little smoke filtering through from a fire.

This reminds me of how important it is to include more than one sense when writing. The sound of nature coming from my headphones is nice, but the experience of smell, sound, and touch together is awesome. That’s what the reader wants to experience.

Lesson Learned: Something about birds.

Tonight’s blog isn’t really about a lesson; however, I know there’s one in here somewhere. I just haven’t figured it out yet.

Yesterday, in between the Midwestern storm that produced snow, sleet, and rain, I stood in front of the dining room window to see how the ice coated the tree branches like thick shellac. My husband stood with me and we watched as a mature eagle dipped low as he soared over our newly developed park. His presence was so unusual for the area and so beautiful. This made me think of the other birds that I’ve seen within the last year and beyond that had captured my attention.

At our old house, we used to have an owl perch on a tree branch in our backyard. We’d always listen to it hoot after we snuggled in bed for the night. When we moved into our new house, we had an owl that liked to take watch on our next-door neighbor’s roof. Again, we liked listening to it hoot. The owl was a regular for about a month and then disappeared as the weather grew colder. He never returned.

After my brother died, almost two years ago, an American Robin liked the eave near the window in my office. He’d look in the window, tilt his head, fly off, come back, and then look out to the street as if on guard. I kept thinking of my brother as I watched this bird.

Last year, we had a flock of American Robins in the front of our house. I’m not sure if flock is the right word, but I had never seen that many robins joined together like geese taking a rest before flying south for the winter. Dozens of robins hopped around our front yard and in the park and I could only watch in awe.

Last September, my husband and I went to a corn maze to get lost in the jungle of stalks. In one corner of the maze, in the quiet, I watched as a blackbird gracefully flew close to the ground and in between the corn stalks. He swooped down, flew the length of the row, and then headed back up to the open sky.

These little snapshots have since stuck in my head. I look forward to the next bird(s) to come along and catch my attention. Maybe one day I’ll know why they have intrigued me so.

Lessons Learned: Spring Fever

Snow. Snow. Snow. Snow. Snow. Yes, I know that March is one of the snowiest months of the year for the Midwest, but having three big storms in less than one week (and creating havoc for the morning rush hour) is enough. Last year on St. Patty’s Day, the temperature was 80 Degrees Fahrenheit. People watched the parade in shorts, t-shirts, and sandals. This year, everyone bundled up. The good news is that the snow doesn’t stick to the roads like it does in January and February. The bad news is that it’s still snow. I’m not complaining. Really, I’m not. Okay, I am.

To my blog reader in Hawaii, please take a moment to go outside, put your face to the sun, smile, and drink in the bright warmth. I need it. Thank you. 🙂

Lesson Learned: Snow Day!

Saturday night was the start of a huge snowstorm that swept the Midwest. The storm ended this morning and produced 10 to 12 inches of snow in the Hudson area. The bad news is that I had somewhere to go on Sunday, my writer group’s meeting and holiday party. Driving over fifty miles in snow and on slick roads is not a favorite of mine. The good news is that I wasn’t the only one who thought the same. We cancelled the meeting and rescheduled the party to our January meeting. I now had a full day with no commitments. A snow day!!

I thought about all the things I could knock off my list, like clean off my desk, go through my emails, and wrap the presents I had bought. I wanted to get started right away, but my mind spun in every direction. I froze for a bit (not literally) and then took on the first chore of watering my plants. I went upstairs with my water pitcher and thought of something else to do. I tried working on that, was distracted, and then remembered I had to finish watering the plants. How frustrating!

At that point, I stopped and looked out my bedroom windows. I have three high windows on one wall. Inside, I decorated the sills with candles, snowmen, and white leaves. Outside, the backdrop was snow and ice clinging to the window, almost as if Jack Frost had come to visit. I smiled as I admired my windows in this new winter scene.

I then went to the dining room window and looked out to the park. I watched the white flakes swirl down to the ground. A dog jumped across the blanket of snow with his tongue hanging out and ears flapping. Snow flew up as he bounced around and circled the marshmallow- coated pine trees.

I did get to my list. I prioritized and dug into the tasks I knew had to get done. In between work, I took a few moments to look outside and watch the beauty around me. What a great day.

Lesson learned: Be patient.

Mike and I are the new proud owners of a Class B RV. We wanted a convenient little home for us to travel in that wouldn’t limit us to where we could stay or park. With our new baby in possession, we decided our first trip would be up to the lake property. A place where we could practice, play, and make sure that all appliances and functions worked on the mini-home.

Saturday morning, we woke early to clouds and rain. We weren’t going to let a little rain spoil our weekend. We loaded up the RV and tried not to get soaked as we quickly ran back and forth. Neither of us expected the sudden crack of lightning or the thunder that came next. The thunder sounded like the sky had slammed into the earth in one powerful motion. I know I jumped, and I’m pretty sure the house jumped too. I think that’s the closest I’ve been to where lightning hit the ground.  We weren’t sure if we should leave, but we decided, once again, that we weren’t going to let a little storm change our minds.

Getting out of Hudson, the rain let up; however, that was just a tease. It rained through the construction zone. I swore the cement dividers set up on both sides of the lane were narrower than normal, or they seemed that way in the RV. Mike’s knuckles were white and embedded into the steering wheel. My right hand dug into the door handle. My body kept leaning either to the right or to the left as if it were to help the RV stay centered on the road. I had to peel my hand away from the door once the road construction ended.

And then it down poured. Torrential rain swooped down and flooded the roads. My husband’s driving ability was thoroughly tested as we kept on. So was his patience. Peering between the wiper blades and cursing himself for not Rain-Xing the windows, he was ready to turn back for home. He gave it another half hour. His patience paid off and the rain did stop. He was happy that I didn’t have to give him a shot of heroin to calm him down. (Disclaimer: all in laughs – never tried or will try heroin). I had to give him kudos. His patience was tried; he lost it a few times, but he did gain control.

Once up at the lake, our next adventure was trying to position the RV in the right spot. I never realized how uneven the ground can be. We moved the van in different spots and tried using the air compressors inside. We watched the levels attached to the front and back like hawks. Patience it took to get the damn bubble in between the lines on the level.

We did this as the day became super-hot and the sun roasted us like a pair of marshmallows. We high-fived it when we found a somewhat level place to park. We hooked up the electricity and then we tried reaching the hose from the RV to the well. Four feet short. We thought of different, creative ways of filling the fresh water tank, like using a funnel on the RV side and aim the hose so the water would shoot like a fountain into the funnel and down the tank. At that point, we were ready to say “screw it” and get by without water. We had the well and buckets to haul water if needed.

And then we remembered why we went up there. We knew up front that it would take us time getting used to the RV. We knew that we’d have troubles figuring out how to work the different gizmos. The lake property was the perfect place to be. We took a break to step away from the frustration, and then we started over. Being patient and calmer, we backed up the RV, put water in the holding tank, found a new place to level the RV (where one bubble hit the mark and the other off by a bit), and then hooked up the electricity.

Now that we’ve had the weekend to test all the appliances, the electricity, the generator, and the propane in the RV, we feel better knowing that our initial run was done on familiar turf. Now we can take our first trip to the campground. We’ll head off early, park the RV into the site, and one of us will say, “Okay, now what is it that we’re supposed to do first?”

Remember to be patient.