To read the story of our precious Harlynn Renae, start here and follow the "next" links at the end of each post. Thank you for coming and sharing with us in this journey.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

You missed a spot...

I am a type A personality. I like things "just so" and prefer that everyone do things my way, because obviously my way is the right way. I love to keep my house clean, my desk, I have my yarn organized by color, I have my books organized by size and category, the tag of the towel has to be on the inside-back if it's over a towel rack, etc. Just so.

When Brent and I were first married he was working for Fed Ex, and I was waiting tables and working as a teller, part-time. He was gone from 6:30 in the morning until 6 at night, and I was gone for four hours during the day, and 4 or 5 hours at night. We hardly saw each other. However, our apartment was pristine. When Brent wasn't at home, I was able to clean, cook, and organize like nobody's business. I would get so frustrated with him when he wouldn't put the remote back in the basket designated for all-things-remote. Or when he would leave a pot holder out on the counter. God forbid he ever leave his wet towel on the bed! I'm pretty sure God forbids it, because otherwise, why would it bother me so much?

For the first two or three years of our marriage, Brent and I were always on opposite schedules, and I was able to be home for at least some part of the day. I was working part-time, going to school part-time, and Brent was gone all day all the time. We saw each other on weekends, sometimes, and whenever I had a night off from the restaurant. You've read about it (the restaurant) here.

We moved to Fargo in 2006 and again were on different schedules. For the first time in seven years of my working life, I was working only one job, and it was during the day. Brent was working a job from 3:00 to 12:00 midnight. We saw each other when I came home for lunch, and on the weekends. Still, I was able to get so much done in the evenings while he was at work. Our apartment was spic and span. Type A personality wouldn't let it be any other way.

We bought our house in 2007, and Brent was on the island of Mauritius for the first two weeks we lived here. I painted the main floor by myself, and got everything set up once the movers (and good friends) brought all the furniture and boxes in. I believe Brent was sitting on a beach and shopping in the downtown marketplace. He missed me a lot.....when he remembered he had a life back in the states.

Evenutally things settled down to the point where Brent and I, for the most part, are at work during the same time and are home during the same time. Finally, right? Eh. I don't know what it is, but Type A takes a vacay when Brent is in the house. I can't get anything done with him here. I used to think it was because I felt obligated to spend time with him, but I know that's not the case because half the time he's here, we're in separate rooms, or I'm knitting and he's watching television, etc. My productivity completely shuts down when he's home. I literally can't even move when he's home. I ask him to rub my feet or my neck or my back because something is always sore. I'm always half-asleep. I'm so wiped, I can't even stand up to cook dinner.

Unless he's not here.

Tonight, Brent went to a football game, dressed in his referee attire and I didn't see him at all after I got home from work. I strapped the baby on in the front-pack, cooked dinner, fed the baby, did laundry, did the dishes, cleaned the kitchen, changed baby (twice), read baby a book, cleaned the bedroom, put baby to bed, and even had time to catch up on facebook. Brent came home and ate some of the marvelous dinner I prepared, (thanks to e-mealz) and now I'm relaxing a bit before bed. I'm pretty sure there is some scientific explanation as to why I cannot function at normal capacity when Brent is home.

I refuse to believe it's because I'm spoiled and subconsciously know that if I act pitifully enough, I will get a foot massage out of the deal. It can't be.

There are times when I can't stand the state of our house anymore (by the way, it is much harder to maintain the cleanliness of a house than an apartment. Can I get an "Amen!"?) and I will ask Brent to leave. He has to go somewhere so I can find that motivation within to get the house cleaned. What in the world?

It's not just true for me, though. Brent tends to get a lot more done if I'm not home, or if I'm in an entirely separate area of the house. I can still be in the house for him to function, though. He needs to be off the property for me to make any real progress. The only thing I can really do with him home is laundry, or shine my sink.

Maybe I'm not a Type A Personality after all. Maybe I'm a Type A-. Or a B+.

Seriously - put the remotes in the basket.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Speak Into My Good Ear.

Recently, there was an article online stating more teenagers are having hearing problems, brought on by listening to music too loudly through headphones, etc. To those of you who can keep your hearing by making smarter choices, I say this, "PRESERVE YOUR HEARING!"

I wish I could hear. Seriously, I do. I've had a hearing loss my entire life, in both ears. It wasn't brought on by listening to music too loudly or being around heavy equipment or loud gunfire - it's just one of the things "wrong" with me that I've had to deal with my entire life.

When I was about nine or 10 years old, Mom and I were coming out of an appointment with the audiologist during which the doctor had told my mother I did in fact have a significant hearing loss, but the cause was indeterminable and they wouldn't ever know until an autopsy. As we walked to the car, I asked my mom, "Did we make the appointment for my autopsy?" I didn't know what one was - CSI (or any of its 85 varieties) wasn't on television back then.

I've been told many things about my hearing loss over the years. I would be deaf by the time I was 18. I would need hearing aids by the time I entered high school. I would need hearing aids by the age of 21. My hearing will get worse and eventually I'll be deaf - before I'm 40. So far, none of the medical predictions have come true. Thank you, Jesus. How I'm able to sing - on key, no less - is a mystery. I shouldn't be able to carry a tune with my hearing loss. Yet, I do.

My hearing loss has been a hindrance over time. I always had to sit towards the front in classrooms, auditoriums, church, else I couldn't hear. Someone can be talking to me, but if I'm not looking at them or if they don't already have my attention, I won't hear them. Part of my hearing loss is a disconnect from my ears to my brain...I hear a noise (talking) but my synapses aren't firing that someone is talking to me. It's more like a mosquito buzz. Countless times people have said, "Val? Val. Val! VAL!" after they've already asked a question, or in some cases told me all but their life story, and I haven't heard a word of it. It's not that I'm not interested or that I'm distracted, I simply didn't hear it. And song lyrics - Lord have mercy, let's not even go there.

Higher-pitched sounds are out of range for me. I can't hear watch alarms (does anyone even wear a watch anymore?), certain cell phone beeps or ring tones, crickets - all out of range. Sometimes Brent will hear something and ask me what that noise is. I don't hear a noise. "You don't hear that?!" Baby. You've been with me for almost 10 years. No, I don't hear that. Or most other noises. (But utter a swear word under your breath, and I hear it from the next room!) After Brent and I moved into our house, we were sleeping in the basement as our original idea was to have it set up as a suite. There was a cricket in the basement for a week, but Brent never said anything. He knew I couldn't hear it, and he new if I were aware of it's presence, I wouldn't rest (or let him rest) until he found and killed it.

I have this weird habit of rubbing my feet together before I fall asleep at night. When we were first married, I didn't even realize Brent knew it was my habit. One night, I was rubbing my feet together, and Brent moved his leg to smother my movements. "Am I shaking the bed?" I asked.
"No. The noise is keeping me awake."
"What? It makes noise when I do that?" I have been rubbing my feet together for years....and I thought all the while it was my silent pre-sleep ritual.

My hearing loss also causes me to misinterpret words or phrases that are spoken. For instance, if someone says the word "place", I might hear "base", etc. Or, I could hear something completely and totally random. It happens. As a teenager, one Sunday in church, I was talking with my friend, Lizza. "There's urine on the pew!" she said.
"WHAT??!! EW!! Urine?!"
She looked at me, quizzically. "Val? What did you hear me say?"
"There's urine on the pew."
"No-" she pointed, "There's a string on the pew."

Several times I have to ask people to repeat themselves. It's really embarrassing when I have to ask a third, or even fourth time, for someone to say the same thing again in the hopes I might finally hear them. Soft-spoken doctors are the worst. "Mumblemumblemumblemumblemumble for years." Um - ether you just diagnosed something serious, or you told me a fishing story.....I didn't hear any of it.

This morning, Brent was talking to me from another room and the radio was on. Yes, a recipe for hearing-disasters. Background noise of any kind makes it near impossible for me to hear anything other than the background noise. Brent said something to me, but what I heard was "Thee skip boo diah fear hip." I stood, I pondered, I tried to relate to to context....yet my reply was, "I really wish I could hear." All the time I'm asking people, "What did you just say?" because I know they couldn't have possibly said what I just heard.

Then there are people, who even after I reveal my hearing issues to them and ask for their cooperation in trying to accommodate it, continue to mumble, turn away from me when they speak, never enunciate, speak too quietly - and I get really annoyed. I liken it to if my arms were broken, and they insisted on trying to play catch with me. They would just stand there and keep throwing the ball. Numskull! My arms are broken! But in real life - Numskull! I can't hear you!

I'm sure over the next several years, my hearing will significantly worsen, and I very well may lose it altogether. Well before my time, I will be that woman who shouts, "WHA? HUH?" and squints and leans to the side to try to hear what someone may or may not have spoken.

So do me a few favors. If I "ignore" you, remember my ailment and realize I probably didn't hear you at all. And by all means - do not listen to music blaring loud, always wear ear protection when you use firearms, and don't expose yourself to awful elephants. Oh, sorry, I could've sworn you said awful elephants. What was that? Oh right - harmful elements.

Did you say something?

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Poem For Haley

Tiny fingers
Tiny toes
Little lips
Little nose

Big bright eyes
That always shine
Delicate lashes
Long and fine

A giant smile
A toothless grin
Those slobbery gums
Drool covered chin

Your wispy hair
With reddish tint
Your high-pitched squeal
A temper hint

I love you, Haley,
From head to toe
Your tummy rolls
Your cries of woe

I love our mornings
I love our nights
I love you, Haley,
With all my might

My prayer for you
My dear sweet babe
God will give you
All He's made

You'll live in peace
You'll walk in love
You'll serve Him well
Who dwells above

I love you, Haley,
Know that its true
Mommy's heart
is full for you!