Les Miserables

Guess who just managed to complete the first of the last two semesters of her Master's Degree.  Me, that's who!  Granted, I will keep interning over the break.  BUT...I do not have to participate in any discussions or class work until mid January and then I am steamrolling my way to May.  The end is in sight, and I can see the light.

Unfortunately my last week of class went out with a huge bang, and I had to take two whole sick days off of EVERYTHING.  Fortunately, it doesn't look like strep, because I am finally noticing a slight improvement today.  But speaking of misery, I have officially finished 1984.  And now I get why everyone winced when I mentioned reading it. It's like Ecclesiastes...with absolutely no hope...ever.  So, I decided to perk things up a bit, and I have resolved to finally finish Les Miserables.  Merry Christmas!  (You do know how that translates, right?!!  You get the joke???) 😉😂

Just in time, too, for my upcoming work trip.  'Cause who doesn't want to cart a 20 lb book around for a one-night stay?  But you know I will.  I have, too.  Because little things like this are what has made THE WORST part of my job one of THE BEST.  I, seriously, hated these trips when I first started this job.  Being away from my people was the most crushing experience I had to endure (over-dramatic emphasis very validly mine).  But now...I have it ALL figured out.  I take my little candle (shhh!  don't tell!).  I take my current knitting and my current read.  I take my (not-so) little glass of wine (shhh!! don't tell!).  And I have COMPLETE peace and quiet in a hugiddy-jungous bed...alone.  And I can even go to the bathroom without anyone shouting or waiting outside the door! Ahhhhhhh.  Any mom can understand...THAT'S where the real peace lies. 😉 And then, I get to get up...GET ready...like, for real get ready...no interruptions, and I get to go see ALL my work friends for one whole day!  (AND have a fun gift exhange!)  Who could ask for more?

The best of these trips are when I don't have to work the day before, and I can arrive early.  Alas, this one is in the middle of the week, and I cannot bring myself to cancel my one opportunity a month to visit to a certain school.  I'm afraid I will be too tired by the time I arrive to actually enjoy the alone time.  But that is ok!  My beloved boss has upped my opportunity for enjoyment to 4 times a year (plus conference), and where that once might have been nightmarish to me, it is now something to which I semi-sweet look forward.  (Though, really not looking forward to the one that is going to be a 5-hour drive.  However, you will not find me complaining.  If I can do Nashville for one night, I can do Cape Girardeau.  The end.)

Speaking of work, my work-provided phone has been driving me a little bit insane, overheating and dying every...like...5 seconds.  I finally broke down and called to have the battery replaced, and I was SUPER excited to find a place (s-i-l recommended) that had an opening on the day I called.  I was so pumped when I told Matt about it, and in one huge blow, the grinch (😉) crushed all my dreams.  "Should you check with your boss about that?"  UGH!

Of course, I knew he was right.  And, of course, my boss said "authorized dealer only" and I had another big girl tantrum over the whole thing, because I didn't want to wait another week, and I CERTAINLY didn't want to have to go ALL THE WAY to the Plaza.  GRRR!  BUT, as per my usual self, I SLOWLY managed to turn my immediately negative response into lemonade, and I suggested we make it a family date.  And then, one by one, the kids declined for other opportunities, until I found myself alone with my husband on the Kansas City Plaza...at Christmas-time.  💖

Turns out the Apple Store isn't that bad...it was actually kind of fun...and we spent our whole hour wait in Barnes and Noble.  So...if you don't know me well, there are two places you should NEVER take me if you don't like to wait: 1) a yarn store 2) a book store.  But, guess what.  My husband is REALLY patient, and we had so much fun.  B&N on the Plaza is 4 WHOLE LEVELS.  You guys?!!  If it had yarn, too, I might have thought it was Just Like Heaven. 🎶 💖

AND while we were on the Plaza, we managed to get him the one and only gift he asked for this year...a Topsy's popcorn tin.  Ok...so...the tiny shop on the plaza is soooooo endearingly, uncomfortably cramped.  And we talked to the worker about Matt's past life, when we first met, and he worked at Topsy's on Brookside, and I would sneak to work with him (because we just had to ALWAYS be together).  And I would hide in the basement when customers would come, so he wouldn't get in trouble.  And those memories were so sweet, and it made the current memory we were making even more precious...because...it's been 20 years, you guys!  And I really am the most fortunate woman in the world, I think.  And guess what I found...a popcorn tin that had an image of the Plaza on it.  PERFECT!!  But it didn't have cinnamon, and he really wanted cinnamon...so we just got an extra bag.  And that lady working was SOOOO kind.  And he never asks for anything, so it was sooooo happy to me to get him exactly the perfect thing.

And I had rested REALLY carefully for two whole days, and my throat still hurt, but I just decided I was done being sick, so I was done.  And we had fun.

It's like that, isn't it.  Some days are so perfect and others so miserable.  But don't go getting all George Orwell on me, when it's miserable, because there is ALWAYS hope.  There is ALWAYS HOPE.  Don't ever let yourself lose hope.

Evan got a little hopeless this week.  My sweet, little guy, who told me I'm part of his "Lovey Dovey Club."  Who secretly whispered to me this week, "You're the BEST person in this family."  My precious little sweet totally turned on me.  Albeit the moment was relatively brief, I can't deny that it happened.

Dillon is Fornite flipping INSANE right now.  And everything is Take the L and Orange Justice and Skull Trooper and Dark Knight and "BUY ME V BUCKS!" til I'm sick to death and shouting, "Oh good grief, can we PLEASE talk about something else?!"  "Seriously...don't ask me one more time, or I might internally combust!  And then, you would only have yourself to blame."

So, I really had no choice than to take him to this silly event, but you guys!...It was at WAL-MART?!  And Wal-Mart and I?  Well...we have moved past separation and are almost COMPLETELY divorced, and I avoid it at all cost.  But Matt was working, and my Mom didn't answer her phone, and my only hope to get him to hush up about it was to finally break down and take him.  But I insisted on driving out of the way to Excelsior Springs, because I was sure not gonna DARE to take on Liberty Wal-Mart and Fortnite event in the same sentence.

And here is why I LOVE Excelsior Wal-Mart.  I had no trouble finding a parking spot.  There was NO ONE in electronics.  And when I asked about the Fortnite Event, the lady kindly pointed me to an isolated table with a few toys and a STACK of cards that contained the veritable "Fortnite Spray Paint" single use code.  And I probably could have taken the whole stack and no one would have cared, but I am a reasonable person.  I took one for each of my 4 kids, and my beloved RJ, and we called it good.

I was so content with my cleverness at having chosen this Wal-Mart, I even took the time to grab a few groceries.  And other than getting stuck behind a few VERY slow-moving folks, it was a pretty good time.  (No creeper trying to reveal himself...actually happened to my MOM.  Or "accidentally" rubbing up against me as he passes or whispering "You're beautiful" in my ear.  Are you starting to get why I hate Liberty Wal-Mart?  For Real!)  It was a legit not-bad experience.

UNTIL...And I seriously JUST NOW heard him say to Matt in another room, "I love Mom more than ANYTHING!"...my sweet little angel turned on me.  We were getting close to the end of our trip, and I was rushing to self-check all my groceries, and Evan said, "Wait, we have to get a toy."  And I pulled him out of the cart and said, "No.  You can look at them, but we aren't buying anything."  And he made a little whine, and I assumed that was it, 'cause...well, that's what it's always been with my kids.  But what I hadn't considered is that none of my kids have spent so much time with Grandma Opal as Evan.  And, certainly, none of them went to Wal-Mart as often with Grandma Opal.  And as I soon found out, FYI, Grandma Opal spoils this kid.  Because he legit equates a trip to Wal-Mart with getting a toy.  And when I didn't get him a toy, he cried.  And I couldn't help but laugh at his innocent tears, because he really hasn't experienced it any other way.  And I had to explain through his tears that this was just not realistic...to assume I would buy him something every time we came to the store, even Wal-Mart, and especially right before Christmas.  And Dillon and I just giggled at his semi-adorable rage, until he shouted, "I'm NEVER gonna speak to you for the rest of the night!"

But, even in that, he was so innocently adorable.  I didn't answer.  And as I predicted, his guilt was written on his face when we got home and I unbuckled him.  And I just said, "It's ok.  You were just upset."  And he buried his face in my neck.

And, for him, it was a miserable moment in his week.  But even that moment held the potential for hope, because despite his rage, he received calm forgiveness.  And he snapped back into his happy little world without much more than a hiccup.

And to counter...just when I think I've got it all figured out, I go and pull some stupid move, and my whole world is left just about to come crashing down.  And I am thanking God for Paul's words, because even though he isn't alive, the fact that one person at one point in time could identify with my insufferable humanity...that is exactly the empathy I need to keep on carrying on.

"I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do."  Romans 7:15  (#metoo)

Some days are good.  Some days are bad.  Some days I am soaring.  Some days I am sinking.  But it's never really 1984, because one day...I have hope in the completion of this...this...whatever this is!...and there is something so much greater to which I look forward.  And I know that I know that I know...that hope that is seen is no hope at all.  And what is unseen is the greater good that is to come.  And I'ma just keep clinging and fighting my way through all this mess that is the process, until my final hope is realized.  Amen!

Happy Happy, Homies!  💞