Monday, June 23, 2008

Checking In! Back to Normal (?) Life

Hi dear friends, my buddies, pals, confidants, (new & old alike!)

It has been a week since I made an entry. I have had mega AOL problems,  Now everything seems to be working okay. I still don't know WHY I got this version, but now that I can get into my Journals again, I am NOT changing back to 9.(whatever it was) Optimized. I have had so many people (all nice & well meaning) tell me that 9 whatever Optimized was the latest AOL version.  (I am talking of the "paid" kind not the free version.)  I just had this thought, what if this is the free version??  I don't want it then.  What this version says it is is AOL Desktop.  I am a lot of things, but never claimed to be computer savvy!  Okay, enough of the what if's, I am DOING an entry!

I feel as if I am a different person than the Merry before the flood.  I realize now (my family) was lucky compared to so many people that lost everything!  I truly thank Our Heavenly Father, for every day.  I know you may read this and think. "My friend Merry really "flipped out," but I think I just had a wake up call.  I honestly feel that sometimes we are sent tragedies to make us grow stronger, and hopefully become better people!  And in turn,  this makes us become better friends to those people who touch our lives. 

I will be 64 in November.  Usually, I don't talk about age much, because I don't like to.  The truth is I am too vain.  (I have never been one to take it as it comes, I have fought it every step of the way!) But, still fight it or not, IF we are LUCKY, & LIVE, age happens!  Perhaps, getting older isn't so bad, if it finally has allowed me (after all this time) to feel comfortable in my own skin! So, I truly am going to TRY to make the most of my days.  Each day is a gift & we can choose to fill it with fear, *I do have Generalized Anxiety Disorder + all the stuff on my "All About Me.  column. I think I will be changing that, too.  After all, those disabilities are not who I am, they are things I have, but they aren't all that I am as a person! They are misfortunes that I have to deal with it. But the bottom line is this....EACH DAY IS A GIFT.  We are allowed 24 hours each day. How we spend it is really up to us!  Sometimes, we cannot find much to feel grateful about, but most days, if we REALLY look and see how much we have, I think most of us can (if we make the effort) really realize how blessed we are.  I have so much, and I am grateful for every bit of it. I am not talking about financial positions, or lack of them. I am talking about "REAL" life, real friends, real family.  I live in a "real" town, a nice small town, should I spend my time looking for what is wrong with it, or should I spend my time realizing I am part of it and try to make it a better place? 

The same is true of our lives.  We only get one.  I don't think anyone goes through life without adversities along the way.  Sometimes we are able to sail through hard times, but sometimes, we get stalled "in the flood water."  However if we just STOP & THINK, we just fall down. We must get up, shake ourselves off and the be thankful!  We we are bigger and better people for everything we are forced to deal with in the space of our life.

Today, I am happy to report we are about 85% done with the flood drama, and what is left are things I have to go through to see what  effect the dampness had on them. That will take time. But as far as I know, I have that, so that is "no problem!"  We had our basement decontaminated. We have a roof over our heads, and many things that make our lives easier.  So many people in our town, in our state, and actually, in the Midwest, lost everything!  We just been inconvienced.  We are lucky!  Others are not. That really isn't fair. But to be honest, I am very thankful that we came out of this as well as we did. We lost things, not people; & we didn't actually lose much $$ wise.  Really, the costs that we had were for the trash guys to come and haul junk that needed to go anyway, away & for the basement to be professionally sanitized. What we lost can be replaced if we want to do that.  I don't understand why some people have huge losses and we don't. That isn't fair, yet I can't lie....I am grateful for everything we have!  Mostly, I am grateful for the people I love & I am so lucky to have a wonderful immediate family, and good, true, cherished friends that dear to me.  I also want to let my readers know I do see that I am lucky and that I KNOW that!.  I do see that God has blessed me with family love and the love of good, dear friends. You friends who matter MOST, know who you are, and you know you are truly dear to me.

I also feel comfortable in my own skin.  I know this is fleeting, everyday will not be a happy day for me.  I did not go through any born again experience, but I do think my "wake-up call" has made me think. The things that matter are not things you can buy.  No amount of money determines how many friends you have, or how strong your faith is.  As my Mom use to tell me "Happiness comes from within."  And so, for today, I have to tell you all, I know I am blessed and luckier than so many people. For the gift of life, I thank God.  For my friends that I have I thank GodFor those of you who came "out of nowhere" but gave me strength, you sustained me through a hardship; and I THANK YOU!   I love those of you who did that for me.  Even if I have never met you, I do know you and I love you.  I don't need to be financially well off, (although that's always nice) :).  I know people who have much more than I who are miserable; I know people who have so many less than I do, and yet they are very happy people. They reached out and touched my life with caring and kindness.  I don't need to list names, those of you that I am talking about know you are important individuals in my life. I actually think If I could fill my life with more people like you, and in turn be here to help you in your lives; Then, in fact, no greater legacy or wish could I have.

NORMAL:  This is what life is becoming again now for me.  I thank God for each and every blessing He has bestowed upon me & you, my Journal friends are precious beyond words, to me.

For all of you, I hope you have a "NORMAL" life. That is what I wish for you. If you don't, work at it.  I tell you, "normal" is wonderful, and it's what I wish for each of you. Work at becoming and staying "normal!"  Pray for it.  If I can help any of you who helped me, just call out my name as the song goes, "You know wherever I am, I'll come running to see you again, etc." (James Taylor). Bye for now!

With Love Always,

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Sunday, Father's Day!

Part 2

Just like a bad penny, I am "back again!" You won't get rid of me easily, LOL.  Ah come on, I know you ya'all like me or are starting to, & I absolutely love ya'all!

I still haven't stopped washing clothes!  I am telliing you, I don't think there is a bottom to the baskets!  I actually love to wash, but I don't like to have an ironing build up & I will. I iron down in the basement & I can't stay down there and iron now, until it get decontimaninated. I run down to use the washer & dryer & race back up here. That place gives me the creeps since the flood.  I can't WAIT until the cleaning service that does decontamination work gets to our name on the list.   I had no idea; but we have heard it gets up into more than one thousand dollars!   When they get here, I will let you know if what it actually cost.  Don't know about you, but we don't have extra thousand dollars laying around. But, what can we do?

I would attach a picture of Gorgeous Jack , the grandson I have been braggng about, but we haven't downloaded the recent pictures of him  The old ones I have he looks like a baby yet in.  I only see him about every 2 1/2-3 months & he has changed dramatically every time.  He went from looking like a baby & crawling aroung to become a very tall slim toddler, who runs (never walks, LOL) around. Always with a smile on his face and like my own Dad, a twinkle in his eye.  He is precious beyond what words can say. When I hold him, I hug & hug him, and sometimes he squirms.  We waited 45 years to become Grandparents, most of our friends have Grandchlidren that are teens, some even in college. But Gorgeous Jack was worth waiting for! 

Today is Father's Day!  I have to pay a little tribute to my own Dad.  I can't believe it, but today I figured it out & my Daddy has been gone for 23 years.  Sometimes, it seems like only last week, but sometimes finally after many hard years, it seems like a LONG time ago.

My Dad was my Knight in Shinning Armour!  He was MyPrince Charming!  I was the baby in our family, I have one older sister.  I was born more  than 2 months early in a blizzard in Hinckley, MN.  I was born at the doctor's nurses home; because my Dad could not get Mom to the closest town that had a hospital.  I weighed 3 lb. They put me in a dresser drawer with warm jars all around me--that was my "incubator."  The doctor came shortly after the nurse phoned him and said he missed the big event.  He gave me 2 drops of whiskey, slapped me on the bottom & told my parents I would be fine.  I was & I am!  The only hard part was after I was born, for months my Mom had to feed me every 2 hours.  My sister  went everywhere with Daddy, until she went to school (she is 5+ years older than me).  But make no mistake I knew I was the baby, and I loved it!  My Dad always called me, Jo Baby.  (My middle name is Joann after his Mother). I could do almost no wrong in my Dad's  eyes, and he was my very best friend for the first 37 years of my life. At this point my parents moved to Florida, and we left Davenport, the Quad Cities and moved to Mason City, IA.  Dave's office transferred him here. But he could have chosen to go elsewhere; I had to talk sweet, to get him to Mason City--it was as close to MN as I could get him!!  (Mason City is about 20 min. tops to the Minnesota border!)   My Daddy was a  a caring, kind, compassionate, & gentle father to both my sister & I.  But for me, there was no one single person I would rather be with throughout  all my life than my Dad.  I had more fun with him than even my closest friends; and I have always made friends easily.  So, today, on Father's Day,  I am remembering all that my Dad did for me.  It makes we cry, but it would even make a stranger cry if they knew the dynamics of our special relationship. My Dad's only flaw was that he could never say no, and also, he could not discipline me or my sister.  Poor Mom had to do all that (in later years she told me she hated that, but "Someone had to inforce some rules on you two girls"). Daddy, I know you are looking down on me from Heaven above, and since Mom died 7 years ago, I know you aren't lonely anymore.  I miss you still, not every day like I did the first few years, but when I do, it is a deep loss.  Life without you, Daddy has never been quite the same.  But in his own way, Dave has become my Prince Charming and even my Knight in Shinning Armour. My parents always loved Dave, so, Daddy, I know would understand my feelings of transferance, and approve of it. When I picked Dave, I picked the guy that was the most like my Dad in every way that mattered to me!  Of all that I have done, I know you loved having Tim for a grandson more than any other single thing, I did.  But I also know you would be very proud of me. You taught me the love of reading and books, you instilled in me a deep quest for knowledge and while you were still alive (you were 71) at the age of 39, I presented you with my first College degree. I'll never forget the smile on your face.  Ten years later I was back in school on that quest for knowledge in a different field.  I know you weren't here anymore, but I also know you saw me graduate from Heaven.  Daddy, I love you just as much today as ever & I hope I have made you proud.  I know that you gave me another great gift.  You always had a way with people and you had many, many friends. Everyone who knew you, liked you.  I don't think I can match you there, but I do know I love meeting people, and I love my friends.  You, Dad taught me that a friend was one of life's other biggest gifts.  Here's to you, Daddy.  Hug Mom for me & hold hands, I hope it'll be a while before I join you! I am having too much fun, to leave this earth, so I hope God gives me a few more years here. I love you, Daddy!  Jo Baby

I have to go cry a little now, (but only a little, because I know you wouldn't want me to be sad!  So, I will leave you (finally, LOL). Then I'm going to watch TV with my dear husband, Dave!

See you all later,


PS Remember hold hands, look both ways and cross streets carefully. (This is something my sister use to say to me.) I guess Father's Day reminds us of all family.  Sooooooooo, I must add, I love you, Bev.  No matter what you will always be my big sister!

I THINK THE Worst Is Over for Us & CR, too! Yay!

Hi Friends!

I think the worst is over, finally! What a week this has been!!  It seemed like a whole year, but it was only a week.  We were okay, our son, wife and grandson in Cedar Rapids, IA were okay; but they, as our had losses and they had to stay at a motel for 4 days because they lost power.  Jack was staying with Patt's Aunt. If you saw 13 month old Jack in action, you'd know why he would not be a happy camper in a one bed small motel room!  He is 13 months and once he learned to walk, he immediately learned to run, and boy does he go!    I talked to Tim early this afternoon and they had been back home in daylight so Jack could play with his own toys, they had picked him up. Then went back to the motel & Jack was napping

(I didn't think he even did that, because the night we watched him we couldn't slow him down even by midnight, lol). That was one week ago Saturday, boy it seems like a month ago, tho with all that has happened!

They live 3 hours from Mason City.  He'd get a 2nd and then a 3rd wind. Patti & Tim came here to go to a wedding of one of Tim's friends daughters. This was our first babysitting gig!  We did A-okay, too!  He never cries, he has the best dispostion.  But, he is a mover and a go-er guy!   Tim said they had to throw out all their freezer stuff, and the refrig. freezer, and most of the refrig. as well. 

About 5 Tim called again when Dave was home to wish him a Happy Father's Day & they are HOME AGAIN with POWER restored!  Tim said 2 blocks away one way or another in that town, can be bad. Then the next block can be like "normal."  All you see on TV (& they have been showing Cedar Rapids, IA a lot) is the bad stuff. But Tim said they hardly have any more water in their basement than they get after a good hard rain.  They had NOTHING like we had, and no sewage backup at all!

Anyway, back to the point.  (Yes, I know I tend to ramble like I am a dumb female, but I assure you I am not dumb, I am a 2 time college graduate and belong to the Phi Theta Kappa National Honor Society.)  We are still wating to get our basement decontaminated by a professional. We don't know when that will be.  We've only had water safe to clean with since Thurs. or Fri. So, this may be a while.  Our bathroom, and luandry room especially got the sewage backup, (don't mean to gross you out people, but floods are not for those who get queasy easily.)

Just to be able to run the dishwasher, wash clothes, drink the water is Heaven.  I promised God, I will never take water for granted again!  I leave it up to you, friends, to remind me of this.  Or if I complain about petty things & I probably will, you can tell me to "remember when."  We had water restored to flush the stool & take showers like on Thursday, but we could not wash clothes in it until mid day Friday. I think....I am not senile, it's just that in the midst of a catastrophe, you lose track of what happened when.  I think our brains are still in the stress mode. 

Iowa City is near where Tim works for a Business Newspaper there, he is a Journalist. He's a news reporter & a page designer.  It's only a 20 min. commute. Patti works for a big company as a Computer Engineer in Cedar Rapids.  Iowa City has not seen the wost of the flood yet. What is worrysome is the U of Iowa Hospitals have had to partially evacuated.  Same for a lot of the U of Iowa Campus, in Iowa City.  Down the road another hour, is Davenport, IA & the "Quad cities"). *Illinois towns are part of that grouping also.  We lived in Davenport for 21 yr as a family; Dave acutally lived their all his life until we moved here; as most of you know I was born and raised in Minnesota. Davenport will have damage, when these smaller rivers empty into the big Mississippi.

I think I am writing way too much, so am going to stop.  I'll do "Part two" in the next entry. I promise not to yak on so long there. 

Check both entries out!  I love all your comments & I can't tell you how much it has meant to me to have you all leave me positive comments and several of you have also Emailed me.  You are the best.  I think I am really a part of Jland now, and that makes me  a very happy girl.

Love, Merry

Thursday, June 12, 2008

DAY 5 (Flooding, etc.)

Hi; I am just going to make this a short entry. I am beat tonight. I may write more tomorrow!  I do want to thank you who commented in my comments and those of you who Emailed me, and even those of you who thought of me even briefly today because...I need you all in my life!

Things are quiet for today. It rainded last night but today has been beautiful and sunny.  The forecast is bleak for the next few days, all over the state of Iowa.  Please keep all of Iowa in your prayers.  The tragic tornado with the Boy Scouts happened in one of my husband's overnight sales territories; he goes there every other week.  The surviving boys were so brave.  This was just a devastating tragedy!!  

I got out of the house & went shopping today!  I told my husband, "You know, the saying, 'When the going gets tough; the tough ones go shopping."  Well, he knows that too well. I bought a couple Father's Day gifts for him, some fancy, dancy cosmetics to make all my wrinkles go away (LOL, I am kidding). Well, at least I will feel better, wrinkled or not.  I also got more towels for us. We still can't wash clothes or dishes or drink our water.  Then I could not help myself I found two really cute short jackets that I had to have. One is bright line green, with white flowers in and will go with lots of my summer clothes & the other one is beige, I have a lot of beige things, (I usually wear pink things or pink prints with them. I have a pink thing!)  It started because of my concern for all women regarding breast cancer, but now I just plain love pink! 

They say we MIGHT have water that we can wash clothes in and dishes and even drink by Sat. or Sun.  I will believe that when I see it.

They sent water to be tested somewhere and are waiting to hear back.  However if it rains more, our water treatment plant will have problems, and we will get it shut off again.

Tonight, besides being very tired, I am doing pretty good.  It was a pretty good day although this AM I didn't think it was going to be. 

A good reminder that we should all just keep "trucking" because even a lousy day can turn into a very good day.  Life is like that, full of ups and downs.  Valleys, hills, & mountains.  But the streams at the bottom of the mountains refresh us and give us the strength to go on and make ourselves and our familes, happy. 

I wish you all a wonderful mountain stream tonight and that you will be refreshed and ready to go at the world again tomorrow and remember you never know what surprises might be just around the corner waiting for you. I hope yours are good surprises!

Love Always,



Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Day 4 flooding

Hi everyone!

I have gotten quite a few comments. I don't have a fancy journal like ya'll (LOL) do.  I don't have pictures in here, and I think folks like journals with pictures more.  I like pictures in other people's journals, but I care more about what they write.  Maybe that's just me, I want to be known and remembered by the things I do or have done, and also by the lives I touch.  That is what I try to do when things are fairly normal for me, which they usually really are.  Anyway, I want to thank all of you that took the time out of your day to send me a comment.  When you go through a crisis like this you really need support.  It was hard for me to share my feelings about all this flood devastation, I was afraid people would be too philosophical.  But a friend told me Jland would not let me down, so I wrote.  Gosh, what a great friend that was/is!  Jland is supportive and all that folks told me it would be.  You guys are awesome supporters and I love you for caring about me, my family, & my state!

Gee, we thought we were getting water this AM FINALLY.  All AM I had faucets on, but only got a trinkle. I called some neighobors that are home in the daytime, and they didn't have any more. That was real disouraging.

I finally got MAD & thought I don't care that they said the water we saved on Sunday should not be used. I am taking a bath and washing my hair. I boiled water  over & over & over until I finally got enough & I took a bath!  & I did it and I am not sorry. But I  had half cold water, I mean like ice.  I tried to pretend I was a kid again at our cabin in Northern Minnesota, the cold water never phased me.  But every time I tried to lay all the way down in the bathtub I could NOT do it! Finally I got on my knees and dunked my head upside down & washed my hair, then boiled more water,  and rinsed it and eventually got as clean as I could under the circumstances. 

Guess what?  About a half hour after I did all this water started coming out of the faucets. What a wonderful sight!  I thought like this, "And on the ___________day God created water", or something like that--I can't remember what day. (I am a good Lutheran and I know the Bible fairly well, but right now I am stressed.....that's my excuse for today & I am sticking to it.   Tonight my husband is taking a REAL shower.  I am too!  I promised God I won't take water for granted, EVER AGAIN I hope I don't forget that one. 

We still can't wash dishes or clothes with it; or drink it though. They say MAYBE next week. This is maddening and hard to take!

Several parts of Iowa also have been hit and Cedar Falls and Waterloo, IA really got it. Des Moines will tomorrow.  Cedar Rapids got some & some people got evacuated.  Our son, wife and grandson (Gorgeous Jack age 13 months) live there.  But they are fine and are not near any flooded areas!

I always thought I was still a Minnesota girl.  This moring when I saw those pictures on TV; I cried.  Iowa is my home, (gee, it only took about 45 yr. for me to say that, LOL0. This devastation broke my  heart and I cried and cried.  I guess I truly am an Iowan now.

Unfortunately we are supposed to get rain for the next 3 days, so who knows what will happen. This ordeal is far from over. If we get more rain, our foundation might not take it.  So, I am scared but I am going to put this in God's hands tonight. 

So for today, I am thankful for the water we had  & for my friends, and Jland.

I am going to go now and end this on an up note.  I hope it reads that way, anyway.

God bless you all, real good as the saying goes!




Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Flood update Day 3

Upon the advice of a rather new Jland friend of mine, I am continuing to post entries in at least one journal.  I don't usually communicate this way (about my personal life) (preferring to normally email people privately). But, it's easier to update a journal.  And because this friend of mine urged me to post, saying that Jland will be supportive to me and people really want to know what is going on with Merry. 
Hope people don't get too philosophical with me. Right now, I need to feel as I have some care and concern generating my way, BUT I must admit, I can't take too many ultra "Cheer up" from some people who have everything normal right now.  I guess I will just have to hope some folks can be concerned but also a little empathetic, cuz you never know what a disaster is going to do to you until you are in the middle of it. Yesterday I was so upbeat and cheerful and content to rough it out. This AM it's not as easy to be that way. 
My major hobbies are this computer,visiting with people, shopping, cleaning, washing (myself, then clothes 2 and or 3X a day) kinda in that order.  What?  If you are thinking that your friend Merry sounds a little bit obsessive compulsive, you are right, but it's not like I have to take medication for it or that bad, I have gotten this way more since I am not able to work outside the home anymore, due to my physical limitations.
I believe it's the way I handle stress by keeping myself, my house in perfect order. When unable to do that, I have to dig down and find the great core genes I inherited from my awesome parents!! Then, I rise again and can not only cope but maybe go down the block and at least talk to people.HELP SOMEONE ELSE!
I'm gonna make it through this, I just sometimes need to vent, but I am stronger than it may sound.  To those of you who have Emailed or called me, thanks again for your concern & Emails. It means the MORE than I can express!
Love your friend,

Day 2 of Flooding

You think you will just have to deal with doing what regulations say, (No bathing, no water for coffee, that is if you can even find any right now in this town!)  I think I mentioned we have no water.  The dishwasher is full, and I don't have enough water to use to wash them anyway.  Sat. night we were busy watching Jack, and had no clue all this was going to happen, so I didn't run it or wash dishes in the sink.  OMG
One of the guys in Dave's office who lives in a small town here said we are welcome to come there and shower.  Dave may need to. I took a bath in the little bit of water (I had filled the tub yesterday AM to save to wash up with, to flush the stool with, etc.) in a kitchen Rubbermaid plastic container (actually our recycling bin. --I washed it first.)  We did have coffee this AM and not in boiled water, as I thought it was safe as we got it before they shut the water & sewage treatment plant down due to their flood damage. Now my neighbor told me they are saying that water, even boiled is not safe to brush your teeth in even. Well, this neighbor told me that if that's true Damn Mason City had a major water problem before this happened! She is right! 

Did I tell you I waded through the water yesterday (before the sewage really got bad in the laundry room) (now it's literally full of broken feces). I know, I know I am grossing you out but I want you to know the severity of our situation. I went down and brought up my iron.  Those of you who REALLY know me, I know can believe that one.
Also, after I sponge bathed (& I managed to wash my entire body in a plastic dishpan (there's not too much left of my body so that helps.  --See, being skinny IS advantageous, :)  I put on all my moisturizers and full makeup.  I didn't get to wash & fix my hair. Hey, I did this because I had to do SOMETHING, Dave will NOT let me back down in the basement.  He is home just for today.  My work will come when I sort out the multiple storage containers I have winter clothes in, extra sheets and blankets, etc.)  (In other words after the clean up.)
When I send my next update I may repeat some of this, (because I am  nervous right now) but I will be adding things to, so just read what's new and ignore what I already told you.
One neighbor who works for public health says we may not get water or be able to use even bottled water for a week.  It's sunny now, and not supposed to rain today, but more RAIN is coming again Wed, Thurs., and maybe Friday.

PS Worst case about getting evacuated like if we get more rain is that Kaycee couldn't stay with us at a shelter.  All the motels in nearby towns that are NOT effected by all this are full. I was on the phone this AM. If we are forced to leave, I will have my cell with me.  So,  if you can just pray we get to stay here and that the worst is over (we don't get MORE rain) that would mean the world to me.

Flood update (DAY 1)

How I First Discovered We Were Flooding
Dave was sleeping in the basement. (Our son from out of town and wife and grandson were in other upstairs bedrooms.  I was in our bedroom upstairs.)
  I had kicked Nice Dave out for snoring. He couldn't go to the spare bedrooms upstairs since Patti, Tim and Jack were in there. 
I went down to get Dave up to have coffee with me. I started to go in the bathroom downstairs, and one foot in there I step in water ankle deep!  What a rude situation to awaken to!  I don't think I will ever forget that moment!

I love you all.