making plans, dragging feet

time marches on.  it just won’t stop and i’d like it to.  i’d like to pull back on the reigns and say, “whoa” and have time stop.  and wait until i’m ready for it to move forward, but it won’t.  it just won’t.

right now i count the days by the thens.  michael’s in indonesia right now.  he’s been gone for almost 2 weeks and has another week to go.  then he’s home for a little less than a week.  then he’s in africa for approximately 2 weeks.  then he’ll be home for close to a week.  then he’s in america for 4 days.  (yes, he’ll spend almost as much time traveling for that trip as he will actually be there and he’ll spend way more time recovering from that trip than he will be there.)  then he’s home.  and for some reason that’s when time really starts for me.  time starts in april.  not sure what my mind thinks happens between now and then (mid Feb and early April), but for some reason it doesn’t feel real.  it doesn’t feel like progress.  about the same time michael returns from america family starts arriving.  aly (i cannot wait to see her, it’s been so long!!!), her boyfriend (we’ve never met him), my mom, and my aunt will all come to chiang mai.  and i’m crossing my fingers and hoping against hope that chan will also be coming (that feels like a bit of a long shot, but also not impossible).  we’ll have two weeks of family and tourist stuff and songkran and time not stopping.  overshadowing everything is the weight of “this is it”.  this is good bye.  this is our last smokey season (miserable, but we’ll miss it).  our last hot season (miserable, but we’ll miss it).  our last songkran (not always miserable and something i will definitely miss).  and i think what makes it harder is that it doesn’t feel like there are any firsts to come.  it isn’t our first time to live in america.  it’s not our first time to live in colorado.  it’s not even our first time to live in the house we’ll be returning to.  it feels like too much.  but it can’t be stopped.

so, we make plans.  there are the we need to sort this plans, the we need to do this plans – the logistical stuff that comes with moving.  those are sort of easy (easy to see, not necessarily easy to do.)  but then there are the we have to do this plans.  and they aren’t the same for all of us.  michael is ticking off some of his through work.  i know with each trip he makes he’s saying goodbyes.  and it’s not easy for him.   the hardest plan of all is the final how do we leave chiang mai plan.   figuring out how to do goodbye isn’t easy.

it’s much easier to say late july is forever away.

better with age

last year there was a post on the oprah blog that listed 24 things that get better with age.  24 seems an odd number.  25 would be better.  i’ve got an excellent idea as to what number 25 should be, but first the 24 from her list:

  • Ford Mustangs
  • A wheel of gouda
  • Sea Glass
  • A cast-iron skillet
  • Amish friendship bread
  • Cowboy boots
  • Scrapbooks
  • Single-malt scotch
  • Sense and Sensibility
  • Ivy-covered walls
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Blue jeans
  • A rib-eye steak
  • Stereo headphones
  • Your sense of self
  • Love letters
  • Hardwood floors
  • Peonies
  • Sexual satisfaction
  • Chinese century eggs
  • A baseball mitt
  • Diamonds in the rough
  • Your vocabulary
  • George Clooney (this one seems somewhat subjective)

and here’s my suggestion for number 25 –

10yrs

this could also serve as a reminder that 10 years is too long to wait to have pictures taken.

shaken

i just felt the second tremor of the evening.  they’re very mild here and having no experience at all with earthquakes it took me a few seconds to figure out what was going on.  the epicenter of the earthquake was up near the burma/thai/china border and it was somewhere around a 6.8 on the richter scale. here in chiang mai they’ve said the tremors register about 3.0.  which, from what i understand, puts these tremors in the category of no big deal when it comes to earthquakes.

but for me it is a bit more than no big deal.  because it plays into one of my biggest fears.  the fear that something horrible will happen while michael and i are separated.  this has been on my mind quite a bit lately.  michael arrived home from the states just before the earthquake happened in japan and he’d had a layover at narita airport hours before the earthquake struck.  that moved this fear of mine from back burner to high gear (am i mixing my metaphors?  are those even metaphors?).  and then he headed to nepal.  and up into the himalayas.  and he sent me texts that said things like, “wow!  we finally made it.  crazy, wild times.”  which to my paranoid mind translates to “wow!  can’t believe we made it alive!”  or the one from this morning, “taking very scary bus ride through the himalayas today.  mostly downhill with barely enough room for the bus.”*  and i’m pretty sure by that he meant, “headed down a mountain in a death trap with no brakes!!”  thankfully, i’d heard from him earlier this evening and he said, “looks like we made it through the worst part.”  so i knew he had better than even odds of not being trapped under a bus somewhere on the side of the himalayas when i texted him that we’d felt the earthquake.

we’ve never discussed what to do if something major happens while we’re apart.  part of me doesn’t even want to go there.  but then i wonder if that’s wise or responsible.  shouldn’t we have a plan?  shouldn’t i know who to call in the middle of the night on a weekend if i need help and i need it now?  i like to think that the chances of needing a plan like that are slim, but with as much as michael travels (40 days so far this year, but who’s counting?) it might be a tiny bit more likely than i think.

just like riding a bicycle

this is michael’s bike

michael’s bike is a special bike.  it’s not special because it’s a super-dee-duper top of the line bike (it’s not), and it’s not special because it’s an awesome color (it is an awesome color, but that’s not why it’s so special) and it’s not special because of any amazing promises that were made in the advertising of the bike (we saw no advertising).  it’s special because it’s different.

and it requires a different bike riding skill set to get it to go.  it didn’t come this way.  the pedal came off and before we could find the tool we needed to fix it our house help’s husband had it all taken care of.

the final countdown

michael’s been in the philippines and indonesia for the past 2 weeks.  and, while 2 weeks isn’t all that long, i’ve discovered that about 10 days is my single parenting threshold.  starting on day 11 it’s sort of a crap shoot – i fluctuate between all’s well and katie bar the door – and it’s better if whoever is around is on the opposite side of that door from me.  but this trip we’ve managed.  there have been a few close calls.  some short fuses when short fuses weren’t called for, but no blood has been drawn and no permanent psychological damage has been done.  (i think).

here are a few of the highlights that occurred after the 10 day threshold

  • i made wassail for 300 and caught myself on fire.  with flames and everything.
  • s11 participated in the school christmas program.  (even singing one song in thai – well, most of it.  he forgot a few words.)
  • c16 and i had our final performance of the worst best christmas pageant ever.
  • a13 had birthday party (slumber/movie viewing).
  • c16 performed a monologue and acted in a two one act plays.  his monologue was disturbing, but powerful.  maybe i mean powerfully disturbing.

michael gets home tomorrow.  and i get to transition into a one-half of a pair of parents and i’ll be an active duty spouse again.  it’s an akward tug-o-war transition, because we both are ready for a break.  ready for a sleep in and a day or two of much fewer responsibilities.  i’ll actually be happy with a good night’s sleep.  lack of sleep probably contributes greatly to that 10 day threshold.  not being able to get to sleep before 2 in the morning when he’s gone sorta sucks.

(not so) silent sunday – father’s day

today is his majesty king bhumibol adulyadej’s birthday.  and that makes it father’s day in thailand which means i have a chance to make up for the really bad job i did of celebrating american father’s day.  but, i can only make up for it in a post, because michael is in the philippines, where it’s not father’s day.  so…

happy father’s day michael!  our kids are amazingly blessed to have you for their dad.

and thanks for making it so very easy to put together a post like this – i’m not sure one person should have so many silly pictures of themself so readily available.  we love you.

one-upmanship

this picture was taken a few weeks ago.

how cool.  me and a baby tiger – of the generic, regular tiger variety.  a baby tiger that is still baby enough to come across as cute and not deadly.

this picture was taken last week.

sweet – isn’t it?  all of them and a not so much a baby tiger.  of the special, white tiger variety.  i’m pretty sure that paw that’s sort of floating around in front of s11 could take off his head ear in one swipe.