Thursday, July 21, 2011



That is the only word I can think to use to sum up my feelings. 

I could use: stressed, excited, nervous, fearful

But anticipation seems to sum all of them up.

I have always been one to use analogies.

To explain things and teach others
(thanks Dad for teaching me this trick)

It even helps me understand myself when I am feeling overwhelmed.

And lately there has been plenty of feelings of overwhelmed.

Then this morning it hit me.

I know how to describe how I feel.

I am four years old.

There is a huge Christmas tree in my living room. Decorated to the hilt.

Underneath that tree is a gorgeous gift.  With my name on it.

My Father tells me it is mine.

My dream gift.  What I  have wanted for my entire life.

But I cannot open it until the special day.

But because I am only a young child, I cannot read a calendar.

I am clueless as to when Christmas is.

I have no idea if it is tomorrow or next week.

I know it must be soon.

But when?

Living in Connecticut has been a dream and desire of mine since I was a child.

It has always felt like home.

And will someday be my home.

My Father has wrapped this special gift up for me.

But it isn't quite time for me to open it and enjoy the bountiful gift.

I know the special day is coming soon.  I just am not sure when exactly.

The little girl in me keeps staring at the unopened gift...anxiously waiting for the day. anticipation.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Lost is Found

I'm not sure if I can write this without crying.

I'm not even going to try.  I'm just going to let the tears fall as they come.

But the lost is found.

My dad and mom bought each of us kids a mountain bike when we were 14.

Biking was always an important part of our lives.  Especially of dad's life.

I remember going shopping for my bike with my dad.

We didn't get the bike until a few months after my 14th birthday because my day falls in the winter  months.

We went to a bicycle shop in Medina and roamed the store. 

I sat on so many bikes, trying to pick out the best one.

Dad gave his input and his advice.

After all, he loved to ride bike. 

Fast forward 7 years.

I was 21. 

I lost my father.

My best friend.


I moved out of the house in with some friends.

Taking my bike with me...or so I thought.

When I moved from those apartments I realized my bike was not in the garage like I thought it was.

I assumed it stolen.

For 10 years I have silently mourned the loss of my bike.  The bike that meant so much to me because Dad helped me pick it out.  Because I knew how much biking meant to him.


Fourth of July weekend my mom decides to clean out her little barn out back. 

My brother in law climbed up into the loft and found a pile of bikes.

My sister texted me this picture:

And I stared at it in silence.  And then tears began to stream down my face. 

My bike had been found.  It never was moved to Medina.  It never was stolen.  It was never lost.

I realize it is just a thing.  Just a piece of metal. But this bike holds so many memories for me. 

I felt like it was a little gift from my dad (again) after 10 years of being without him or the bike.

Tonight I was at moms and decided to check it out. 

I opened the little barn doors, anxious to see the bike. 

What I saw took my breath away.

There. Propped up in the back was my dad's bicycle. 

The one he rode to train.  The one he rode for Pedal to the Point.

For about 10 years my dad rode 150 miles in two days to support Multiple Sclerosis. 

Once I asked him why he would do this.

He stood there, with tears in his eyes, and said "I have two friends battling MS.  I don't know what else I can do to help them."  That was the heart of my dad.

On the bike I found a tag.  With a number on it.

I snagged it and took it with me.

I'm assuming this was from the year 2000.  The last year he rode for Pedal to the Point.

Pedal to the Point is always in August.

 And he died in March of 2001.

While my dad had his shortcomings and his failures, he was my hero. 

He is everything I hope to be someday. 

Everyone was his friend.  No one was a stranger.

He could make anyone feel special.  And important. 

He had so many qualities.  Qualities that I hope I can nurture.

I know he made his mistakes.  But I just want to remember his achievements for what they were and for who he really was.

I can't wait to get my bike to a bike shop and get it repaired.  

I can't wait to get on my bike and go for a long ride.  Alone.  

To ride fast and have the wind rush by me.

To remember. And smile.  And be thankful. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Funeral

Squirrel Saga: Part Two

As previously posted there was a squirrel in my wood stove. 

Being that I do NOT do wild creatures I made the choice to just let the thing die. 

I waited.

And waited.

And then decided, forget it.  The squirrel can go with the house.

'Cause I am way. ever. opening that stove. again.

Last weekend I had some friends in from CT and told my story.

Brad looked at me curiously and said..."Um. So.  What did you do with it?"

I looked back and said "Um. What do you mean?  Its still there. 'Cause I'm not touching it."

He smiled and then offered to get it out for me. 

I was worried it just might still be alive.

We prepared a box (casket??) prepared for the departed. 

As Brad cracked open the front of the stove and declared "YEP. Its dead."  (Lets just say it smelled. Slightly.  So when they said it was an airtight stove. They MEANT it!)

Riley did the honors of scooping it out of the stove while I stood and watched. 

I screamed. Literally.Screamed when I saw the thing. It was huge. As in the biggest.monsterous.giganitic squirrel I have ever.In my entire life.seen. 

Rhianna carried the closed 'casket' out to the back for the official burial.

The pallbearers following close behind:

Once they reached the burial plot, Rhianna set the coffin carefully into the hole that Brad so willingly dug:

Riley said a few words and sang a hymn about a squirrel falling down a chimney while Brad shed a few tears (or is he laughing??)

Final goodbye:

The tombstone:

After the service we went in the house for a funeral meal and to take the time to discuss our dearly? departed.

And so ends the saga of the squirrel. 

I hope that this is the one.and.only saga of a squirrel.  

Friday, July 8, 2011

Seriously. Squirrels??

Last Wednesday I heard a noise in my wood stove.  As we all know by now, I don't do wild animals in my house At.all.

And if you don't know this by now you can read about a previous encounter with a wild animal

Anyhow.  I heard a bit of scratching in my wood stove. Again.  I inwardly groaned at the idea of facing another wild creature.

I was keeping one of Rhianna's friends overnight and thankfully her mom and boyfriend pulled up to drop her off.  I asked him if he would be willing to check out the animal.

He grabbed a box and opened the side door to the wood stove.

Nothing happened.

He stuck his head in the door to see if he could see something hiding.  I was screeching in horror thinking something might jump out and attack him at any moment. 

Then Riley decided to peek in himself.  My heart skipped at least 3 beats.

He banged on the stove. Open and shut the damper. But nothing. Nothing appeared.

I was relieved...assuming it was a bat that flew up the chimney.

The next day (Thursday) I got a call from the realtor saying that I had a request for a showing on Saturday.  I, of course, was excited and also relieved that the animal was gone from the stove.

Friday morning comes around and I hear some serious scratching in the stove.  The thing actually started knocking on the doors like he was asking to be let out.  Are you kidding me? That door is staying tightly locked. Sorry mister.

I went to work and came home early evening to find the noise had only gotten worse.  Knowing that I had a showing the next day I was in a slight panic. 

Who does this happen to but me?  Who else finally gets a showing and then has something fall from the sky into their fireplace?

By Friday night it was quiet again.  I breathed a sigh of relief and assumed it was just a bat and flew out at dark.  I tiptoed over to the stove and made sure the damper was shut.tight.veryvery tight.

The next morning all was well.  The house was clean and the lawn mowed.  I felt pretty good about things. 

The showing was to be at noon and by 11:20 I was getting ready to get the kids rounded up to head out.  I had a few errands to run and needed to get a few things to the car.


At 11:24 am.

I heard it.

36 minutes until showtime and the crazy thing had to come to life and start spazing out again.

I called my brother for help.  I knew he wanted to open the stove just about as much as I wanted to but I had no idea who else to call.

My sweetheart of a brother came over and we formed a plan of attack.  We had a box covering the door ready to catch whatever was dancing in the stove.

We slowly creaked open the door. 



Nothing came out.

Jared peeked inside and saw something.  At first he thought it was a bird.  Then said "No. It's fluffy" 

He peeked a bit closer and said "It's a SQUIRREL! But its just about dead"

At this point it was 15 minutes to showtime.  I made a snap decision and figured that a noisy animal in a wood stove during a showing was much.much better than a loose squirrel during a showing. 

I slammed the door shut, locking it tightly, propping wood (and bricks) up against the stove.

We snuck out the back door at 11:55 while the realtor was pulling up front. 

As we left I told Riley to pray that they love the house and that God would strike that squirrel dead.immediately.

The showing went well.  They had looked at 9 homes and mine was in their top 3.  But in the end they chose another home.  Not sure if they heard anything in the stove...that was never mentioned. 

To be continued....