Sunday, April 17, 2011

Catching up

The last few months have been hard.  I've been sick.  I haven't sold much at work since Christmas. And worst of all, my hearing has gotten so bad from the illness (Doctors think it was just exhaustion and flu) that haven't been able to work much at all in March and April.  My job is 100% telephone dependent, and if I can't hear I can't work.

Needless to say, I am worried about money.  Probably going to have to crack open the IRA.  Athanasia is looking at the budget tomorrow and will let me know if I need to call the broker. Thankfully, the value of the IRA has grown dramatically in the last two years (oil and silver ETFs, and undervalued stocks.  I'm long on National Grid, if you are interested.), so there is money to take out.  Too bad about the early withdrawl penalties.

I don't know if I mentioned that I dropped out of grad school.  I did.  I was just spread too thin.  Between illness, work, Cub Scouts (more on that below), the kids school.  I feel kind of bad about it since I had finished half the program and had an A average.  But as I said, I was spread too thin.

Last week Anselm and I, and the rest of the Cub Scout Pack spent the night on the retired air craft carrier, the U.S.S. Hornet, known the the Imperial Japanese Navy as the Gray Ghost. It was an amazing time.  One of the engine crew from the 1960s was a docent.  He and Alnselm hit it off and Anselm got the tour to end all tours of the engine room.  It was really neat.  The old chief and my son were crawling through tight spaces, looking at ball bearings the size of pumpkins, turning wheels, talking to each other through those horn things.  The kids were kept busy busy busy.  Just before lights out one of the docents told ghost stories.  Some people think the ship is haunted and this crew member told what he saw and what others have told him.  When it was over I asked Anselm, "Are you scared?"  With utter contempt for the idea he said, "of dead people?"  It was as though I had asked him the stupidist question ever.

Anslem has been working up a storm to get Cub Scout stuff done before summer.  He has officially completed all the requirements for bear rank and will be promoted tomorrow night at the Pack meeting.  He completed all the training through the Red Cross to earn the Boy Scouts of America Emergency Preparedness Pin, too.  At first I didn't know it was that big of a deal.  But Athanasia, who is a Red Cross emergency responder, went though the Basic Aid Training with him and told me that the pin is a license from the Red Cross to assist in disaster and emergency relief.  I'll have to buy him a hard had and a good flash light now.  He'll recieve that pin tomorrow night, too.

Today after Church, Anselm and his mother made paper mache masks.  It was the 50th and final elective activity he had to do to earn all the Arrow Points he said he wanted to earn.  Last year he earned 1 gold and 3 silver.  He said he wanted one more this year, so he has been busy doing wood crafts (he made his own tool box), looking up information on planets and giving reports on them, collecting coins, learing about maps, and a whole buch of other things.  So, with todays paper mache mask making he met his personal goal.

We visted the Sacramento Valley a few days ago.  My wife was interviewd for a position at the University of California, Davis.  She doesn't think she'll get the job because they have a strong internal candidate but it was a fun little trip.  We listend to Kenneth Brannagh's ex-wife reading Nanny McPhee all the way there and back.  The family was very kind and played it VERY loud so I could hear it too.  While Athanasia was at her 5 hour long interview the boys and I investigated the little town of Davis.  We spent a couple of hours at Central Park, where I took a nap on a bench and the boys played with some other kids.

The park has a really neat garden.  It is designed to inspire the local population into doing one of several kinds of gardens.  My fave part, and the boys favorite part, too, was the section devoted to plants that attract beneficial insects.  It was buzzing with lady bugs, bumble bees, honey bees, praying mantises, etc.  One thing I thought was especially neat is that the gardeners left one aphid infested fava bean plant right in the middle of the garden.  I asked one f them about it and she said, "have you ever tried to keep lady bugs in a garden when there are no aphds for them to eat?"  Well, I had.  So I knew exactly what she was talking about.  She said that one plant keeps so many lady bugs in the garden that aphids can't get a start on any other plants.  I looked and she was telling the truth.  The infested plant was covered in black aphids (being gobbled up by voracious lady bugs) but I didn't see one aphid on any other plants, not even the plants nearest the infested plant had aphids.

Another neat part of the garden was full of plants that attract bees and humming birds.  I think that might have been my favorite part of the garden (I love bees and humming birds) but for the littlest part of the garden where all of the grain crops grown in the Valley had been planted.  Corn, several varieties of wheat, rice, oats, and rye all growing together in a multi-colored plot of grouned no more than 25 feet square.  It was beautiful.

Since I've lost my hearing and don't know when or if I'll get it back (I see a ear specialist on Tuesday, and will recive the mystery of Holy Unction on Wednsday, so who knows?)  I've been applying for jobs that don't require hearing as much as my current job.  Lots of them are out there: Material handler, tool room clerk, copywriter, etc.  Later this week I'll apply to become an apprentice electrician.  I'm looking at a machinist training program, too.

Basil is pretty excited about something.  The Pack meeting this week will be the last time he wears his "Little Scout Buddy" shirt and hat.  Then, at the May Pack meeting he will wear a real Cub Scout uniform.  It is almost all he can talk about.  He asked me, "When i get my uniform can I start earning beltloops like Anslem?"  I said, "Yep.  In fact, would you like to earn one right now?"  And we spent a couple of hours with the chess board.  By the time we were though he had completed all the requirements for the chess Belt Loop.  He was very happy and excited.  I just can't believe how fast my little boys are growing up.

Yesterday, Lazarus Saturday, we went up to San Francisco and ate caviar with my God daughters and their parents.  It is an anual tradition and much much fun.  Of course, we also drank ENORMOUS AMOUNTS of champagne and vodka.  Hours with them seem like mere minutes.  It was a welcome respite from the challenges of life and Lent.  Today, Palm Sunday, Athanasia did not wake me up for church.  She thought she was being nice, assuming I would have a hangover, but I didn't.  I think I woke up just as she and the boys were driving off to the service.  I was sad to miss Palm Sunday, but as it turns out, I probabaly would not have enjoyed it had I gone.  What do I mean?  Well, tonight I went to Bridegroom Matins but could hear nothing.  If it hadn't been for people crossing themselves I don't think I would have recognized the "Glory to the...".  I stuck around for a little while, but I couldn't hear anything and I became to distracted by worry for my hearing. So I  just came home.


DebD said...

the deafness sounds quite troubling. I sure hope they figure out what's wrong and that's temporary.

GretchenJoanna said...

I've heard it said that the loss of hearing is worse than the loss of sight, because it cuts one off from communication with other humans. May God have mercy and restore your hearing. I will add that prayer to my prayer for Devon.