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Coming Back

After coming home early from work yesterday and oozing into bed for the better part of 24 hours I am FINALLY starting to feel a bit more human!  Just as added insurance, though, lunch today was the most basic old-fashioned solution to the creeping crud: chicken noodle soup, heavy on the noodle and light on chicken.  Because the canned stuff is so high in sodium (even the reduced-sodium variety is 28% of the RDA!) I pre-cooked some spaghetti noodles and threw into the pot to help even things out a bit.  We balanced out the taste with pepper and salt substitute, which is doubly good because it adds an electrolyte I’m sure I needed.

G’s a bit happier today because his replacement motherboard has been shipped and should be arriving tomorrow.  He misses his snazzy new computer.  Here’s hoping the new mobo fixes the problem and he’s up and operable again.  He’ll be MUCH happier once he’s got his ‘puter back, and I can’t say I blame him.

I’m also glad we had Christmas covered this year before all my health issues because my paycheck is suffering bigtime this month.  I have PTO for the actual time involved, but that doesn’t make up for about $1200 in missing extras I don’t get when I’m not there.  Can we say, “Ouch?”

Our Christmas gifts will be an extensive family photo album on multiple DVDs, so each kid gets a copy.  (Well over 2500 family photos, some going back more than 100 years.) The package should also, if we’re lucky, include a dub of old Super 8 movies from when I was a kid.  My dad had a camera back in the day and a few years back my sis got them dubbed to videotape; G will be moving them from the videotape to DVD if all goes well.  Nobody’s expecting that part.  It may not have the bling of the latest geek gadgets, but my kids are old enough now I hope they appreciate the value of the photos – especially since they include a bunch of pictures of the kids’ dad, of which there are very few elsewhere.  I think they may also get a kick out of the old home movies from when I was a kid.

The picture glut was the only thing we got from my parents’ estate after my dad died.  He was in mid-divorce from his second wife when he died and since the divorce wasn’t final she got everything else.  Not a big deal – when my mother died we got the things that really mattered: I got her scissors and her serger (she was a seamstress all her life) and each of the other kids got something personal that had belonged to her.  Our relationship with our dad was such that we simply didn’t care about any mementos from him.

My relationship with my parents was at its best strained.  My dad was a bully who didn’t care who got hurt in his power ploys.  My mother was a fundamentalist penticostal Christian who was, in one person’s words, “So Godly she was no earthly good.”  Her entire life revolved around the church and her religious beliefs.  Her kids came a few steps below that and other responsibilities, and we were never quite good enough to live up to her religious tenets.  She could forgive other people if they weren’t up to snuff, but her kids were never eligible for that bit of grace.  We were loved – so long as it didn’t impinge in any way on her relationship with whatever her church of the moment.

It wasn’t until after she died that we discovered my mother had an affair with one of the preachers in our small Iowa town and that my younger sister may well have been a result.  All us kids could do was shrug and wonder why she still stayed with my dad.  It makes a warped kind of sense: my mother’s own failure to live up to her own standards probably pushed her to the extremes she took with us.

Over the years I’ve achieved a respectable detachment from those aspects of my past.  Sad as it is, I’ve found peace since my parents passed away.  It’s a simple relief to be free of judgment and criticism. Sometimes I still miss my mother and would like to talk to her – that’s human nature.  I did love her, and I know in her own way she loved me and my siblings.

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