Saturday, March 17, 2007

Wow, what a week -- what a couple of weeks

I woke up singing God's praises. Wish I could remember the song -- I did for a bit, but it dissipated as I did my morning routine. I remember the dream but it's way too complicated to put down in words. To simplify a bit, a very prominent artist owned an island and drew young people to it where they could engage in any kind of immoral act they wanted. Then the artist "got religion" -- accepted Christ, and continued to draw young people to his island where they praised God. As I woke up, I was walking down the path from the house, and spontaneously singing God's praises (like one of those old musicals where someone breaks out into song.)

Mike's back!

My husband is back in the evenings. That's the good news. The bad news is he lost his second job.

His boss accused him of stealing about $200-worth of gasoline from him. The boss show him the bill and asked why there were extra purchases on the gas card that Mike hadn't accounted for in the company vehicle. Mike -- who pretty much didn't like the boss to start with and was really tired and out of patience from the weeks before -- just shrugged his shoulders and said, "I didn't do it." Because he didn't try to explain anything (what's there to explain? He had no way of knowing why those charges showed up on the bill), he got fired.

Later Mike remembered when he lost the card assigned to him. He had searched the truck, couldn't find it, so called his company immediately (as expected.) They had canceled the card and gave him another one. He did find the original card, but that one had been canceled.

So yesterday when he had all day to fume over being fired, he remember that when the company gave him the new card, they said it was a copy and it was sometimes used by the in-town drivers to fill up their vehicles. They were going to get him a card dedicated to him, but they never did. Mystery solved. Mike's still out of a job. He's not even sure he's going to mention the solution to the mystery to his previous employers.

Since he's been home, I've been there to listen to him. Boy, he had a lot to say last night. But that means less blogging!

So here I was praying that God would somehow help us with our temporary money situation. In planning to go to Seattle next week, I overspent my grocery budget by about $50. (My trip is the end part of the pay week. Since I won't be here to buy whatever we run out of, I tried to make sure that we wouldn't run out of anything.) Then we had two vehicles break down and had to pay for repairs last weekend. So I canceled my appointment with Larry Marrich, my chiropractor, because we didn't have the money. (I felt okay, so thought the last adjustment could last awhile. But I'm still hoping I can get in to him before my trip.) Then Mike had an appointment to get his teeth cleaned (which he hated because he had to take leave from his second job, so he lost the money he would have been paid without taking leave) and had to have a tooth pulled. The visit cost him $75. And then I'm going to need money for the trip. Of course, I'll get reimbursed for much of it, but we gotta have it to start with.

My praying God would help us with our money situation didn't seem to help. Then when Mike lost his second job, I wondered if there was a message in there somewhere. We can slow down on paying off our bills. I had been worried about Mike's health and emotions -- the stress on him. Now he can slow down a bit. Now he has some socialization (with me). Now he has a chance to get some stuff done at home that he's been needing to do.

I became worried when two weeks ago, Shelli had an accident. She rear-ended a woman who was stopped in a merging lane around a curve in Santa Fe. It wasn't a big deal -- just basically a fender-bender, but Shelli jammed one of her toes (she'd been wearing flip-flops and one slipped off when she hit the brakes) and wasn't sure if it was broken. She drove herself to the hospital, and Mike who was just about finished with his second route was willing to take over her route for her while she dealt with red-tape, etc.

Mike (Shelli) had a deadline at the airport. By 9:00 p.m., he had to be there to deliver some package from some bank up in Los Alamos. He was proud of himself that he made it there on time (just barely) but then he realized that he had forgotten to stop at the bank (it was a once a week stop that he had forgotten)! So he had to drive all the way back to Los Alamos (his 4th? time that day) and pick up the package. He made it home about 2:00 and, of course, had to get up at 4:00 for his own route.

Being sleep deprived has a domino effect on couriers. Mistakes on the route means backtracking, which means tighter time schedules and more chances of mistakes. The next morning as Mike was headed to work, he ran a red light. (It was 5:30 in the morning, there was no traffic, the light was green for people going straight on, but Mike wanted to turn left, and the left turn signal had a red arrow.) He went anyway, and then when strobes flashed behind him, he realized this was one of those red-light cameras. It carries a $100 fine. Then he got two speeding tickets, which Mike turns into $$$. And of course, being stopped and issued the citations eats up the time a courier has.

It took Mike several days to shake off the effects of being sleep deprived. In the meantime, he had hours of alone time to think, and being tired, he fell into old thought habits, mentally chewing on the things that bugged him.

So I was worried. Now Mike can slow down. Maybe he can get as much rest as he needs and deserves. Maybe we can get some work done at home. Shelli is also concerned. The number of miles she puts in (750 to 1000 miles a week) means that her chances of getting into an accident are extremely high. She wants another job because she doesn't want to take the chance of dying in an accident.

Money's still an issue, but I'm so glad Mike's home in the evenings.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Twenty-three Hour Day

I need a 23-hour day. I'm really better off with 7 to 7 1/2 hours of sleep than 8 hours. (It's in that last 30 minutes that I have all the dreams, so I'm really ready to wake up.) When I go to bed at 7 or 7:30, I am ready to wake up around 2:30-3:00. I have my alarm set for 3:30, so I usually make myself stay in bed for the last half hour.

Why not just get up and get things done, you ask? (Yeah, right.) Most people would actually ask why don't you just go to bed later? The answer for both questions is the same. Because I'm so d---n tired in the evening that I'm just waiting around to go to bed. I try. I tell myself if I can just make it to 8:00 (for example) on a Friday night, I can watch the new episode of Monk. And I've actually stayed up that late (!) but couldn't last through Monk (much as I like the show.)

Of course, the fact that I am virtually alone most evenings (no one but my cats and dogs around) doesn't help. I can't think well enough to write -- my mind is just all anumb. I tried getting on here and writing my blog last night, but just didn't feel like writing. And if I can't think well enough to write, you bet I can't grade papers. I straighten up the kitchen, but don't do any heavy labor. I feed and water the cats and dogs and clean up any messes. And that's about it.

So there I am -- half interested in whatever show is on, unable to get myself interested in reading a book at this point, just waiting to go to bed! I hate waiting.

As a kid, I hated Sunday afternoons. Those were when all the adults took a nap, and we kids had to be quiet. (We were supposed to be taking a nap, too, but whether we actually slept or not was up to us.) It was just wait and bide my time. Wait and wait and wait.

I've had many episodes in my life like that. I remember counting the slats on the side of my grandparents' car port in Mesa, Arizona. My sister and I lived with our grandparents at the time. But at their house, a kid couldn't really play. My grandma had plastic covering her living room furniture, for Pete's sake! And we could sit on it only on Sundays. Even outside, the grass was neatly manicured and the flower beds leaf perfect. Granny had some snapdragons and I snapped them until they lost their snap and just dangled. So finally, I divised this "game" of counting the slats. I'd walk along and touch each one as I counted. And when I got to the end, I'd turn around and keep counting, going back and forth for hours.

The point is sleep became my sweet relief. The evenings here aren't nearly as bad as my childhood, but that's because I'm an adult and can do what I want! And often what I want is to just go to bed. So I did last night -- BEFORE 7:00! And darn it, I was ready to go this morning at 2:50. This is just weird.

It makes parties difficult to go to -- or anything in the evenings. But then I'm not much of a party person, so -- oh well.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

Crossing the Cliff

I didn't want to wake up. It was only the crashing of Shiloh against my bedroom door as she chased the cats that got me out of bed. And of course, I had three piles of poop to clean up because I had slept so late. All because I wanted the dream to continue.

It started with my sister and I driving in a small car on a mountain trail (and I mean trail, not road) along the side of a cliff. My sister was driving too fast and lost control of the car. We fell out and some rocks landed on my sister's arm. The car, thankfully, didn't fall into the water below the cliff. It landed on another trail that was girdling the cliff lower down.

While I was taking the rocks off my sister's arm, some other cars happened by on the trail below. The first car just went by ours. But the people in the second car stopped and got out. Their plan was to push it over the edge and later come back to salvage it. But someone stopped them from doing that, and we were able to reclaim our car. My sister drove more carefully after that, although we were in some sort of competition with the people in the other cars and the sooner we could get across the cliff without falling into the water, we would win. After awhile, though, our efforts were more geared toward just getting to the finish line.

Because I actually woke up, turned over, then fell back into the dream, the transitions are spotty. So bear with me.

I had been through several of these competitions. I could see the cliff like a map in my mind, with my path marked in red, zigzagging across that cliff, up, then down, across, then down, then up. Then another path in green, and another path . . . many attempts.

At one point, my dad was driving us (the family?) in an SUV. We were driving cross country, and the highway was so crowded with other vehicles, motorcycles, trucks, cars, even runners! We had to go our speed without hitting anyone.

We moved from mountainous highway to wide open valley road, in the land of my mother's parents. My mother told us about the last time she was here, she actually got us ahead in the race by using an airplane.

"Where did you take off from?" I asked, thinking there were no airports out here.

She said, "Down highway XXX a few miles, then turn right. There's a big abandoned warehouse/dairy. I radioed I would be taking off from the road that leads to it."

So I imagined my mom piloting the small airplane, it dragging our SUV behind it, and finally getting enough power to lift off with the SUV. . . our getting high over the valley and crossing the highway filled with travelers. I wished we could do it again, but this time, we didn't have an airplane. So there we were dodging the cyclists, runners, other vehicles, and rush, rush, rushing.

Then I was alone and back at the cliff. I'd ditched the car and was just working my way across by rock climbing, using my arm strength most of the time. And apparently, I'd done very well for myself. I had several certificates of winning with me.

Now I was at a new cliff (farther downriver?). I paddled around in the water below the cliff. There was another competition, but this one was for children.

"Ladies and gentlemen," I heard the announcer say, "We have some experienced competitors." Apparently, they had already started the event. The order the competitors normally left in was more experienced to less experienced so that the slower ones wouldn't be run over by the faster ones. But they thought all the competitors were new to the event, and they'd already started it when they discovered this problem.

But come to find out, the two little kids HAD been in such a competition before, but not the same event. They had competed with something like little motor scooters, similar to the adults' using cars, but their scooters had broken down and they had been unable to even finish the course. When the referees found this out, they figured the kids were not experienced, and were fine going second.

Across from me, on the cliff was a grid of something like grocery carts on hinges. Inside each was the certificates of the competitors. Upon each pair of competitors' starting the race, the announcer would read the certificates and announce the competitors.

I was next to these two kids' mom, who stood anxiously waiting for the referees to get their stuff together and start her kids on their race.

Actually, I wanted to go find a race for myself, but I was curious how these two little boys would do. They were about seven years old, and quite cute. So I swam around, up and down the river, waiting for the kids to complete their course. When they were started on the race, I was amazed at the helicopters and aircraft that kept pace with each team. It's for safety, I realized, but we adults didn't have anywhere near the same thing.

At one point, I swam back and asked the mom how the kids were doing. She said she didn't know yet, but she did want me to hang around for the awards. She had seen my certificates and thought I deserved to be introduced to the crowd because I was a winner in a similar event. I didn't mind the recognition.

There was a little stage with a curtain, and the kids were put on the stage to get their awards. After the kids got their awards, I was asked to wait behind the curtain, but the MC couldn't get the curtains velcroed together apart, so I went around to the front and was introduced to the crowd. The two little kids whose race I'd followed suddenly got a look of awe on their faces and hero worship.

I took a moment with them and told them, "Make peace with the water. Out there, you're alone with Everything -- water, rock, and air. Enjoy it." Then I swam downriver looking for another competition I could enter.

Even while I was dreaming this dream, I was aware that the water meant my spiritual life. But it seems the cliff, and being high up on the cliff -- as in the air -- has some symbolism as well.

The pathway or roadway is the path of life. And I guess I do take it as a competition. Not so much to WIN, but just to accomplish. Like my therapist once said, I'm a human doing, rather than a human being. I'm not satisfied with paddling around in the river. I've got to be trying for the finish line. Going too fast, however, will get me in trouble.

I don't know what it all means, or if it means anything, but I sure felt comfortable with myself.