Thursday, February 26, 2009

As Quick As I Can Make It...

1. Best news first: Nine-tenths of the children are home for a few days! Paul is still over on the western slope in college, but Jon and Dominic are home from boarding school until Sunday. Since Jon's not 18 yet, he's required to have a parent sign for his passport, so, we took the opportunity to bring both boys home for a few days to take care of that and to get Jon's head put back on straight at the chiropractor (He has ongoing problems with his neck, unfortunately...) So, anyway, since Kevin's been home helping get the house ready to sell, we have nine of our ten under the same roof, eating together, praying together, staying up to all hours goofing off together. It's lovely.

2. What we've done on the house so far (thanks largely to Kevin): We chose our replacement flooring and ripped up half of the old pergo in the kitchen; we emptied almost everything out of my little study and had 220 electrical wired in to convert it into a laundry room (Until now, our laundry has been in our master bedroom closet); the boys moved a small decorative pond and dug a hole to access the septic tank into which the washing machine will drain and plumbed the source water that will feed the washer; Dominic pulled down half of the barbed wire on the front-ten pasture in preparation for new fencing; I drove up the hill about a dozen times to the farm we want to buy to remind myself why we're doing this; Dan and I started a novena to St. Philomena, our heavenly real estate agent.

3. I can hear a train rushing by outside. We live a little less than a half mile from the tracks and have gotten used to the sound of the whistle and the rush of the wheels as the coal trains hurry by. It's a good sound, one so much a part of this land that it's like bird song and wind to me. I was surprised that our realtor seemed to think it was a detriment to our property, its being so close to the tracks. But the sound of a train whistle is as much a part of this hundred-year-old farm as the song of the meadowlarks perching on the weathered posts of the original corall. The young men who built this house likely paused in their work to watch the trains go by. Granted, it would have been a steam engine they watched, but the feeling is the same. Off on their trans-continental errands, trains from our day or theirs, tell tales of distant places: Rocky Mountain coal miners filling the cars, engineers and brakemen making the journey, passing little prairie towns and dusty country roads, finally unloading the coal that powers the lights in some big eastern city... Undoubtedly the young family that homesteaded this claim in the early years of the twentieth century considered this homesite a plum spot because it was so near the railroad. I think it's a pretty neat spot, too. I hope someone else comes along to buy this house who agrees with me! (I'm pleased that the house we want to buy is also in easy ear shot of the trains...)

4. Not to sound like I'm complaining or anything, but here's the short list of Places That I'm Forever Having to Clean: That little nook behind the faucets in the bathrooms and kitchen. Yuck. It's always disgusting, no matter how often I clean that out. Then there's the wall going up the stairway. The Littles cannot keep from running their dirty little fingers along that wall when they go up. I've never found a solution to that problem, no matter how much I nag. And how is it that, no matter how many times a day I wipe off the handle to the refrigerator, it's always sticky, gooey, yucky? I haven't actually seen the Creature from the Black Lagoon nipping in for a snack, but I know he must be around here somewhere...

5. So, going to Omaha to get the boys Monday and Tuesday, I clocked about eighteen hours behind the wheel, and I'm still saddle sore. But, I do some of my best thinking when I'm driving, especially when it's highway mileage. I think it's the meditative quality to the half-focused state of concentration. You know how it is when you drive the long stretches? You're not (hopefully!) so relaxed that you fall asleep, but not so alert that you're stressed. The scenery flies by too quickly to pick up the details, but slow enough to appreciate the unfolding of a beautiful big picture. Nothing is required except to keep the car safely on the road and get where I'm going.

And referee the shenanigans in the back seat if I have the kids with me.

But, if I'm all on my own, I can listen to the radio and ponder. Sometimes I'll use my time constructively and say a rosary, chat with my Guardian Angel, or lay out possible scenarios to the Almighty. Sometimes I compile lists in my head ~ but that's frustrating, because I can't satisfy the urge to pull my notebook out of my purse and write things down so I won't forget. But, the most fun trains of thought take me over wild courses of possibilities, one idea leading to another.

Among other things, on my drive the other day, I traveled through every room in the house I want to sell, painting and decluttering, and then I jogged down the road and decorated every room in the house I want to buy. Next, I moved out to the yard of the new house, and tried to decide where I'd put my garden. That made me think of the 900 empty acres of prairie that lie behind that house. Which made me think about how there are likely to be more snakes there than on our current property. Rattlesnakes maybe. Yikes! But then, I remembered big, sturdy old Bella; surely she'd patrol around and warn us of any possible slithery intruders. And, of course, we'll be keeping one of Bella's puppies, because we have to have our Grigio. Then I thought, maybe we ought to keep two puppies, just to be sure all snakes are taken care of. But, what would we name that other puppy? It'd be nice to stay in the Italian theme, I thought. I wonder if St. John Bosco would be offended if we named a dog after him? We couldn't call him John, because we have a son named Jon, but what about "Bosco?" That'd be a cool name for a dog...

Are you dizzy yet? It goes on and on, you know. But, I'll spare you. You get the idea.

Back to our regularly scheduled Quick Takes...

6. Here are some shots of those future grounds-protectors (the white fuzzy ones) and a couple of their groupies (the multi-colored fuzzy ones). There were eight puppies altogether, five little boys and three little girls.

(Check out Anna's shiner. It was a hit and run accident; she was running and hit the truck. The parked truck. Smack! Right into the side of it. This comes of not looking where one is running. Ouch!)
7. I've had the chance to tweak my Lenten schedule, and have decided to pop in only on Thursday nights to write 7 Quick Takes, and, aside from that, will only get on the computer to check my e-mail every other day. Hopefully, I'll get some time on Sundays to run around and visit and see what I've been missing all week.

I'll miss everyone! But, right now, in addition to Lent, I have so much to do in preparation to sell the house, that it seems like a good time to really step back from the computer. If I disappear for a while, assume I'm laying tile or something and say a prayer for me, please!


Laura said...

Lisa, even though I come from a big family myself, I am intrigued with yours. I would love to just sit at that table and listen to the conversation.
How great is it to have those handy boys to renovate for you?
Must be wonderful.
Great puppies.

GrandmaK said...

I was not only dizzy...I AM exhausted. WHEW!! You an wear a body out! Have a grand weekend! Cathy

Kim H. said...

Okay, I'm glad I don't live close or I'd be coming by to get a puppy. :) What's better than puppies?....NEW BABIES, of course! :)

Poor Anna -- that eye -- ouch! She and my John are two of a kind with that black eye.

Bosco is an AWESOME name for a dog. I totally may use that some year -- you know if we ever get another dog after Miss Dyna's gone.

Love your train description. I too love train whistles and the chug-chug sound of them on the tracks. Have loved that since as long as I could remember.

Don't know if I could live out by you though -- SNAKES???!!!! Pleae tell me you've never had one up close and personal....

Soutenus said...

For some reason I have missed that you are moving! I hope it all goes smoothly. From the sounds of this post it is a place you are looking forward to moving! :-)
I agree with Cathy - you are like the energizer bunny!
We just moved to a place that is with in a rock's throw of the train tracks. The walls literally shake when the train goes by (like 5 times a night and 5 times during the day)
Hopefully we will only be in this place a few months but we will see. :-)
You keep me positive. When I read about you and your family I feel lifted and inspired.

Lisa said...

Laura ~ It is a wonderful thing that the boys have gotten so good at renovating. They really are amazing. I don't even know how they learn to do half the things they do! But, God is good. He knew we'd need all these young men to do this stuff, considering the junker houses we always buy! &:o) And, I've thought the same thing about getting to sit in on some of your family's get-togethers! You guys look like the most fun bunch!

Cathy ~ I'm pretty pooped, myself! (ggl!) Hope you have a wonderful weekend, too!

Kim ~ We've had WAY too many snake encounters, I have to tell ya. But, never yet a rattlesnake, praise be to God! I'll make a quick link on the bottom of my quick takes to a post about snakes, if you have a while and aren't too squeamish... &;o)

Lisa said...

OK, so having troubles posting it (my computer is being dumb) ~ But there is a snake post, if you have a hankering to read about snakes, under the "critters" title in the index in the sidebar over there... It's an old post, and not particularly well written, but details a few of our snake tales. &:o)

Natalie said...

Your train descriptions reminded me of my home town. We have two train tracks and one train goes through town every 30 minutes, every day, every night. Since the tracks cross, sometimes both trains have to stop and back up so the other can pass through which can make for a long car wait. I always loved it when I saw they were shipping live cows because it made me wonder what the cows thought of their trip. =)

I agree that Bosco is a great name for a dog! Those puppies are so very very cute and I can understand why the little ones would want to be with them. Poor Anna with her eye. I'm having a similar problem with Clark because he likes to crawl with his head down and then he will run into the wall, cry, and want me to hold him. Sometimes I do, and sometimes I just tell him that is what he gets for crawling with his head down. Depends on how hard a hit it was. =)

Gonna miss your posts for a while so I'll be looking forward to getting them back after Easter. =)

MightyMom said...

oh you're gonna have to give up your little room?? I love that little green room....that's just too sad.

Marie said...

We have a train line running at the back of our house to and whenever I am outside I still like to wave as it goes past. *TOOT* *TOOT* LOL.

I wish you well in your renovations. I hate renovating and have insisted the next time we undergo renovations I am moving to a hotel for the week! lol.

Peace to you Lisa:) God bless you & your lovely family:)

marie xoxoxoxoo

Bia said...

Those are adorable puppies.

And along the lines of disgusting things that need to be cleaned...I could do an entire post on boys' bathrooms.


You are so busy that I feel positively lazy.

BTW, my oldest has a shiner just like Anna's. It happened Thursday during a football game on the playground and someone wearing a cast on his arm knocked my son in the eye. It's not pretty.

SuzyQ said...

How great that your boys are so great at helping out with the DIY!

Praying hard everything goes smoothly with the house sale and you find yourself the perfect place for your gorgeous family to settle :0)

I Love the name Bosco for a dog. How original and of course John Bosco is a favourite saint of mine too!

Aubrey said...

How great to have almost all of your children home! It always feels so good when all of my siblings and I are able to get together but it happens so rarely now as seven of us have grown and moved away from home.

Can't believe how much work you are doing on your home! I hope that it sells quickly for you and that you are able to move to your new farm with no worries.

Your talk of trains made me think back to my nursing days. When I'd sit up at 3 in the morning with a baby, feeding him, I could hear the trains on either end of the city. It's such a pleasant noise, their horns. I've laid there in bed and wondered what key their horns blow in. We're far from tracks, so we hear very little.

Hope you have a blessed and holy Lent!