Back to family history basics! In part because of frustration with the site I was writing for, in part because I can’t get to the site I was writing for. It is of course down right now, and I am not waiting any longer for a miracle. A return to the place the place I ended up (after the Windows Live blogs were killed)) My two WordPress sites. The family history project began here. I have a lot of content I will lose moving between sites, but at this point, that isn’t relevant. The continuation of content, the share of pictures and stories is what drives the blog. Yes, it was nice to get money on occasion for posting over time, but money isn’t the drive for the blog, it is just a nice to have.
1998 was a tough year, with twins arriving early (March) and then one of the twins going back into the hospital, things were tough. It is funny how a year can disappear. I know that so many years now have disappeared. But 1998 was a blur. I remember details of every year around that one. But 1998 is gone for the most part. I worked, came home, worked, went to work, came home and worked. It was almost a never-ending cycle for me. My wife wasn’t working at that time, so she took the majority of late night feedings. But there were times she would need help. I did the best I could on the sleep I got. My wife did the same, the best she could on the sleep she got.
I was working for a local customer at that time, and the customer was a really good friend. By the time the Twins were born, the customer wasn’t a customer anymore, he and his family were friends. We met him and his wife at the Olive Garden near the office for lunch. My wife slipped the twins to Olive Garden, and they got to meet my friend and his wife. Things were more stable at that time. April was tough, May I stayed home from work for a month (family leave). June was the lunch, and we were already starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Later that year was tough, but at that time everything was moving along perfectly. We had started building our new house and would move in less than two months after the lunch.
BY the way, my former customer, that became a friend, is still one of my dearest friends!
I was in Toronto Canada for training. That is when it started. I have news my wife said. Are you sitting down? I wasn’t by the way. I was in a hurry and had work to do, I should have sat down. “twins” my wife said and the world went black for a moment. “Are you ok?” she asked. I guess I blacked out for a moment. You prepare for things in life, but that isn’t something you can prepare for. I promise you. Two heartbeats instead of one is a big difference. Yes, there are people with triplets, quadruplets and more. They are even more unprepared for the announcement. The moment when you realize that you are suddenly not the parents of a child, but the parents of twins.
What was next would be a difficult period for my wife and daughter? My daughter, who was a year away from kindergarten, was suddenly going to be a big sister. She announced, “I am going to be the best big sister, ever.” On the 12th week appointment with the Doctor, my wife was informed that she was going to be on bed rest. What that meant, for the next 23 weeks was that during the day my daughter was bringing my wife snacks, drinks and taking care of her. A five-year-old stepping up like that is impressive. It shows great compassion, caring and a willingness to do anything. But then again, she was the best big sister ever even before they were born.
Everything bought had to be done in twos. Everything had to be the same but always different colors. We realized seven months into this process that two cribs in our tiny master bedroom weren’t going to work. We decided to build a house right around the 7th month. We didn’t talk to the builder until the boys were three months old. We didn’t leave the house much until they were old enough, and we survived the crisis. For the first two weeks after they were born, they were both in the NICU (Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) of the hospital. Then they came home, and then one of the twins was sick. They were back in the NICU for what was to be the worst week of my life. I was running between the hospital, the house, and work. The entire week was a blur. Well, most of that first year was a blur.
sometimes sad is ok
Wandering the pool again, it was an important part of our lives for many years. I mentioned yesterday that our HOA maintains a pool for the neighborhood now. I think I’ve been to the pool once. The kids may 40 times in 5 years. We literally would be in the pool 40 times before the 4th of July when there was a pool in our backyard. Funny how time, distance and location change everything! There is a great picture today of Francine. We called her Fran although her full name was Francine Marshmutt Andersen. Francine was my daughter’s dog. They were a pair the two of them. Everywhere my daughter went Fran was there. There are so many stories of the Marshmutt way to share; I’ll share a couple of today.
First off Fran as a puppy was a chewer. Wood was her chew of choice. In particular staircases and also window sills. There was a fairly significant cost to that chewing. Fran joined us as a puppy. The funny story there is that my daughter, upon seeing the picture the breeder sent us, picked one of the puppies by sight. The breeder said that my daughter picked the puppy named after the breeder’s father (Frank). We drop up to Fort Wayne Indiana (about a 2-hour drive) to pick Fran up when the time came for her to join our family. As we walked to where the puppies were playing in the yard of the breeder’s house, one of the puppies broke away from the pack and ran to my daughter and nipped her. That was Francine.
My other favorite story of Fran, was the food incident. Fran was a female lab, she loved food. One day I was installing a new computer in the loft area for the kids. Back then the kids shared one common computer. Fran saw me working in the loft that connected her girls room and the twins room. She ran out to see me. My daughter wasn’t home at the time. I patted her on the head and she ran towards her girls room. Then ran back to me, than ran to the girls room. The universal dog signal to “follow me.” So I followed Francine to her girls room. She ran into the room, stood in front of a dresser than ran back to me. I went in, opened the dresser and found the banned food. We had a mouse problem when we first moved into the house and had banned food in bedrooms. Needless to say my daughter had a stash of food in her room. Fran had turned state’s evidence against her. That was the first time, I yelled at my daughter about mice food and bedrooms she said ok. About a month later Fran did the same thing, in fact she did it every time my daughter had food in her room. It took us about a year of that behavior for me to just check on my own. But my daughter learned that if she gave Fran some, Fran stopped turning her in. Labs love food!
As the twins got older, I got more air pictures of them in the pool. The first picture shared today is one of my favorites. You can see the sheer joy on their faces as they would leap into the air off the diving board. The diving board was a misnomer; we banned diving off that board day one of the pool. We had the required depth for diving, but we (my wife and I) had read horror stories of kids diving and not coming back up. We didn’t want to have to pull a kid from the pool after they injured their neck or back. That made a diving ban a rule. Every single person that came to the house was told that rule. A few people over the years broke the rule, but I pulled them aside and said?
We spent hours outside in or around the pool. Early in the year, we would run the heater to get the water warmer. Later in the year, we would run the hose to get the water cooler. Funny how that worked out. I know over the years we spent a lot of time around in or on the water. We had a boat down at Lake Lemon, and of course the pool. Water is a very important part of my life. Living near the ocean is wonderful for me. I can be on the water whenever I have time. Back then it was as simple as turn the key, open the pool, and you were there. The pond and I had a love-hate relationship. The pool and I also had a love-hate relationship, the water and I never had anything but a love relationship!
I remember the first year of mowing by the pond. I had many years before learned to mow on the edge of Lake Ripley for my grandfather. I wonder now, how my father felt then. I mowed without complaining about my grandfather. When my father asked me, I complained. Anyway the first year of mowing along the edge of the pond I slipped and stepped into the pond. The silt and mud was around a foot deep. The mower had a safety release, so it was shut off and never hit the water. I, on the other hand, had mud up to the middle of my leg. It wasn’t the nice mud you get at the spa. You know covering your face and opening your pores. It was the gross mud that smells and sticks. Anyone, I was more careful after that mowing!
My wife worked, for a time at the YMCA of Greenwood Indiana. The kids also participated in some sports at the YMCA (football, baseball, soccer, and basketball.) It is funny sometimes, my inability to play sports at a high level made me a fan. It made my kids into non-fans. I guess that is the result I deserved somehow. I end up watching the majority of sporting events alone. My wife watches sometimes, but she is not a big sports fan. The dogs watch with me, but that is more to watch me. Dylan was encouraged as a young dog, to nip my feet when I redirect the referees on the television when they make mistakes during the game. Dylan nips my feet when I yell.
That started when he first joined the family now six years ago. I haven’t yelled at the refs since. It is not that the referees are doing a great job now, compared to then. , I don’t want my feet nipped. At least Dylan and Raven will sit with me. The twins, my daughter, and my wife won’t even come in the room. My future-son-in-law will sit for a time, but he is very quickly bored with sports. Like I said, for the most part, it is just me. I have to say; sometimes I do feel like my dad is watching with me. Mostly IU Basketball games, when I suddenly feel overwhelmed by bad calls and, well I don’t yell at the Television anymore. I sit there quietly and say things about the refs under my breath.
These pictures today are from the YMCA’s indoor pool. We had a birthday party there one year. We spent a lot of time at the YMCA. Well, my wife and the kids did. I was normally gone during the week. Swimming lessons were the one thing I often did, sitting in the hot little parent’s chamber, watching the kids in the pool as they learned to swim. Water is important. Back then, of course, we had a pool at home during the warmer months, so the need to be able to swim was high. Sitting in that tiny parent’s box always felt like a punishment to me. I would have rather been sitting out in the actual pool area watching the kids. But I do understand that some parents are too involved, and they need to separate them a little from the class of kids!
It depends, is the answer you would have gotten from me, was it great having a pool being the question you would ask. Yes, having a pool was wonderful when with clear and shiny water we had friends over. Everyone standing around the pool, relaxing their children, my children playing in the water. The adults with younger children watching carefully, just in case. Laughter ringing in the air and the day seems perfect. You didn’t notice on those days how hot it was. That the adult only hot tub was full of children splashing the water all over. The journey that was life was full then. Yes on those social event days a pool was a great addition to our lives. Our backyard for those moments transformed into a magical theme park.
There were as well afternoons when the pool was a glorious addition to our lives. My wife and I, relaxing by the side of the pool as the Ya-Ya’s were released into the wild. Our neighbors wandering over and sitting us as well. The passage of time, seeming to slow to almost incremental time. Each second seeming to last a week, a month. Then the world would come crashing back in, and with the turn of a button, the pool cover would slowly move across the pool, covering the shiny water. The sound in the distance of the pool pump churning water. The diving board is seeming to fill the space above the pool, but now the cover in place we would go indoors for the evening. The pool day is done. Yes, those were the times the pool was a joy.
Then came the other times, out of town for work for two weeks, coming home to change the filters and skim the pool. It seems an easy job, but it isn’t. Sometimes frogs got into the pool, and not being animals meant for salt water, they would expire. Someone had to remove those. Or to clean the drain at the bottom of the deep end of the pool when leaves filled it. Jumping into the pool not to swim but to pull the leaves out. Walking around the edge of the pool not thinking where shall I jump in, but instead looking for leaves, for bugs for anything that one surface of the pool could be grabbed with the skimmer. Seeing a low water level, and pulling the hose to the pool to fill it. Oh yeah, those were the days when having a pool was more pain than pleasure.
Today a few more inside the boat pictures, because outside the boat was wet. Well, part of the boat is always wet (the bottom of the hull is in the water), but the top part is normally dry. Yesterday the top, sides, and bottom of the boat were all wet. Plus it was incredibly windy; the gusts were between 20 and 40 mph. That makes the water very rough. Instead of wandering off to the Bay, we wandered off to an afternoon of cleaning and arranging things on the boat. If I may digress for a moment, based on yesterday, I remembered all those many years ago. The other day I did a technology of the last 27 years. Mostly because coming up later on in June is my 27th wedding anniversary.
My wife is the most low tech things in my life. Not that she hates technology rather she is a late adopter. One of the people that don’t jump onto new tech trends. Rather, she waits for me to understand it, then she will embrace it! In the world she works in, driving around all day in her car, the reliability of tech is more important than the cool functionality. In those 27 years, we have created a family history. Yes, we’ve had bad times, and we’ve had scary times. There were times when we both lost our way. That I suspect can be said of any marriage or for that matter any friendship. You have to, in a marriage find common ground. The place where you can be connected.
Dylan Thomas wrote, “do go gentle into that good night.” It is not about raging against the light; rather it is about finding that common ground. That common ground where dreams begin to work together. Where it is no longer I or me, that speaks but we and us. It is more a place within you where you consider what the other seeks as not just important but as required. I think that is the one learning I have in the last 27 years. That sometimes the priority isn’t about what I want. It isn’t about the things that I consider; it is about checking with my wife and making sure it is something we both want. Funny how things happen over time that makes you realize there is more to life and typing!