Rainy Saturday

Today’s rain has put me in a reflective mood, and I thought it was probably time to update my blog, since I haven’t blogged all summer. I have decided not to be a slave to my blog but to post when I feel like it.

But anyway, I was just thinking about this summer and how different the mood in our house has been since last summer. Last summer we were dealing with a major depression in our family, a newly independent college student home for the summer (and conflict abounded), a new job for me, and all the usual stuff that comes with family members being together in small quarters when we hadn’t been around each other for a while.

This summer I am happy to report that John has been busy gardening and working occasionally for a friend who owns a pool service, as well as doing a plumbing job or two. Julie has been working at Jenni’s Splendid Ice Cream, a new shop in East Nashville, and she’s enjoyed socializing with friends. Daniel’s still “slinging pizzas,” as he describes his job at Papa John’s. He’s had sleep difficulties for the past several months and is trying to deal with that.

I’m glad Julie’s been home this summer, and I’m even happier that she has matured and we (John & I) are in a much better place emotionally than we were last year at this time. That’s not to say we haven’t argued…but I’ve decided that conflict is just a part of family life. Sometimes we yell, often we disagree, but in the end we love and forgive each other and try to get on with life despite our little issues.

I’m feeling a little more at home in marketing after a little over a year. For a while I felt like I had moved to a foreign country. I’ve decided it just takes time to adjust to the rhythm of a new job and new personalities (much more extraverted, for the most part, than my former department). Have been working on an online bookstore project for months, and we are about at the end of that (thank goodness). I have nearly lost my mind at times over this, as we discovered the further we progressed in the project that our customer service and online bookstore provider made us some promises that they really couldn’t keep. They didn’t have the infrastructure ready to handle our HTML and other components of the bookstore, but we didn’t learn that until we got too far down the pike to backtrack.

Yesterday I felt like throwing things when I was at work because our content management system for the bookstore was running very slow, and tasks that should have taken just a few minutes wound up consuming hours. I finally threw in the towel about 4:00 p.m. and said, “I’ve done all I can do” (after consulting with our IT dept. to be sure nothing was wrong with my computer, and also trying to access the bookstore content from another computer). My compatriot in this bookstore project said hers was functioning a little slow, but she managed to get work done. Aaargh. I hate technology sometimes.

Today I found myself griping before breakfast at my husband and then I thought, “Wait. It’s not fair to take out my frustrations on him.” I pressed Reset in my brain and attempted to start over. The anxiety level decreased, and thankfully we wound up laughing about my ill humor.

Our family has been through some tough times financially and otherwise, but every now and then we get some signs of hope. One came last Friday when John & I went to the Frist Center for Visual Arts and I won 2 free round-trip tickets on Southwest Airlines. YES! We haven’t been able to afford a vacation, so this was a godsend.

Our other sign of hope has been our bountiful garden this summer. We have been blessed with just the right soil, just the right amount of sunlight, a little ingenuity on John’s part (well, okay, a whole lot), and enough rain or stored rain water to keep the garden green and growing. We have had summer squash, butternut squash, tomatoes, and cucumbers in abundance. We are starting to get cantaloupes and watermelons. Sunflowers have shot up along the edge of the garden, and the sight of them has cheered me immensely, even when their heads start drooping. John has worked hard on the garden and approached it scientifically, inserting his own creativity along the way. He hung some CDs around the edge of the garden to keep birds away. Then he put plastic milk jugs around some of our cantaloupes, weighing them down and protecting the cantaloupes from a raccoon or some other varmint that has enjoyed a couple of ripe cantaloupes.

One of the best things about having this plentiful garden is that it has allowed us to share our bounty with neighbors, colleagues, and other friends. I think it’s very important to share with others, even when you’re having financial struggles…maybe then it’s even more important than ever because it reminds you how much indeed we are blessed.

So I’m feeling grateful for a rainy Saturday, for the buttload of housework I need to do today and for the fact that I feel energetic enough to launch into it and do it (there have been times I couldn’t say that). Life is good. Laughter is good. Love is good. It’s all good…and all part of the journey.