Sunday, September 25, 2016

History Lessons, Part One

Dear Harrison,

I hope to be around for many years to come and be spry enough still to dance at your wedding someday.  But, since life is an adventure that keeps one guessing, I didn't want to leave some things to chance, so just in case, there are some things I want you to know and hopefully if I'm not around to tell you myself, someone will read these to you when you're ready.

One of the things I hate about being adopted is that I have no idea what my birth family was like.  It's a vortex.  Not just who are my birth parents and what were they like, but who are my ancestors - were they great nobles in the homeland or simple farmers.  It doesn't matter that much in terms of who I am really - I was shaped by others, but I miss knowing the content of my fabric if you will.  I also hated being so isolated from family.  I didn't grow up with aunts and uncles and cousins nearby.  Unfortunately, on our side of your family tree, the branches are a little less leafy than I would have liked, given that feeling of isolation I always had.  You have family, but they're not close by.  But, you do totally come from a rich tapestry and have lots of people who love you and loved your mom and still do.  So, when we were decorating this house you are about to be born into, I wanted you to have a true sense of who shaped all of us who will be responsible for shaping you, and I wanted you to be surrounded by them everyday.  I want you to walk down the steps every morning and be greeted by these people who may not be right here with you, but are a part of you, because they taught us to be who we are.  Let me introduce you, starting at the top.

You'll find that my father, your great-grandfather, is over-represented in the house.  It's partially because I'm the sole caretaker of his legacy, but it's also because I'm proud of his service.  He was an Air Force bomber pilot even before it was called the Air Force, which I'll hopefully explain about.  He served over two decades in the military and fought in two wars.  What you see at the top of the stairs are his medals.  He served with distinction and retired a Lt. Colonel when I was very small.

Immediately below them is a shadow box of your great-great-grandfather's stethoscope and uniform insignias from his service in the same war my dad fought in first.  That's his picture you see next to it, taken many years later.  He was every bit as kind and calm as he looks there.

While we're proud of what both men did to serve the country, I think it's very safe to say we all hope you never have to follow in their footsteps.  They felt the call to serve when the need was great, but I'd rather we all try harder to live in peace for your generation.  I can't really say what demons Dr. Veldman may have carried away from the war, but I know my dad never really got over it.  There were things that haunted him all his days, right up until the moment he died.   I think he would be the first to tell you he wouldn't want you to have to experience those same things.

I will say that Dr. Veldman went on in peacetime to deliver babies, so one would wonder if the decision to bring new life into the world was a reaction to watching so many young men leave it so violently.  Maybe that's something your grandfather can speak to; you'll have to ask him someday.

Whatever you learn of these men, you'll find that both men are living in us still.  My dad instilled in me a powerful work ethic.  Both men believed strongly in education and took good care of their families.  Beyond that, they differed in their temperament and interests.  You'll find I've got more of the fiery temper of my dad, whereas your grandfather channels that calmer demeanor of both sets of his grandparents, although he's got a limit, which I'm sure you'll test.  Your mom is a combination of both of us, and I know you'll test that.

I'm sorry you'll never meet these two fine men that you see on the walls, but hopefully over time you'll come to learn more about both them and our time with them and what they meant to us.   While my dad was complex, and I had a rocky relationship with him, he was beyond a doubt the single biggest influence in my life, so his values and life lessons will touch you.  And that's really the thing that I think allows all of us to carry the sorrow of our lost love ones - that realization that they live on within us and they'll continue on through you.

I don't want you to think of that as a burden.  More like your birthright.  Maybe you'll find that of all the things we give you over the years, the true sense of family will be the greatest gift of all.

More to come...

Much love,

Your grandmother-to-be

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Making the House a Home

We have a ceiling.  Wow, we actually have a whole, intact ceiling!  And after all the hassle and all the stress, it was worth the wait.  I hate to think what it's going to do to my insurance premium next year, but that's a worry for another day.  For now, it's time to finally, finally finish what we started and get settled in.   And thanks to the overwhelming generosity of Marissa's friends, mine and our family, if Harrison decided to announce his presence today, we'd be ready.   Time to re-enter the world and see what we've been missing.

To that end, Greg and I went down to the Strip two weekends ago as a first foray back into the world - the ceiling was in flux at that time and all our stuff was jammed into the dining room, but that actually seemed like a good time not to hang around the house.  The Strip, for those of you who don't know, is not what the name might imply.  (Which, sadly, it took me all week long to figure out when Marissa and I came to visit here in 2007, and I almost didn't realize the wonder of the place until our very last day here.)  It's uniquely Pittsburgh.  A hodge podge of shops and sidewalk vendors - some hippy-dippy, some all Black and Gold, and a lot of good (really good) food to be had.  The original Primanti Brothers is there, as is the first Pamela's.  And then there is De Luca's.  It's hard to describe De Luca's outside of saying it's a diner with a wall mural, and a more detailed literal description would have any reader coming away with the concept that it's a dingy diner at that - wall mural and all.  But there's something about it.  The food is good, bordering on great, but you sort of wonder why we all stand in long lines waiting to get in - it's not that great.  Well, yes it is despite its simplicity.  But there's a lot of great food in this city.  It's got more to do with the feel of the place - the 'Burghness of it.  And you never know who you might see there.  While we were there, we saw a giant of a young man walk up to the counter to pay.  Clearly a football player.  I saw him on TV last week on the Pitt sideline.  He's an offensive lineman.  A HUGE offensive lineman.  There's a plaque on one of the table benches where Rosamund Pike sat when she was in town filming Jack Reacher.  But really, it's more about how easy it is to just chat up total strangers while in line and have a great time doing it.  Pittsburghers may be sometimes off-puttingly blunt if you're not used to it, but they are also open and friendly, and there's always something to talk about in a busy town like this one.  And you can drink it in at a place like De Luca's.  And I did.  I immersed myself in the atmosphere of this city I love so much, but had missed so much through the spring and summer, and felt so at home even after a long absence.


So I'm sitting in my newly intact living room with my furniture finally in place and pictures going up on the walls, football on TV in the background, and wonder why it's not quite feeling homey yet when I can feel so totally at home in someone's else diner.    And it begged the question:  what defines home?

Maybe the answer is different for all of us.  But I think I've decided it's an acceptance, first of all,  and a comfort level with a place.  Of course, having loved ones with you is key, but we were never lacking that here.   But I finally decided that if I had to point to one thing above all others, it's the ability to feel perfectly free to be yourself.  We did lack that here in a weird way, through no fault of our own or anyone else's, but because of circumstances that were topsy turvy, it's felt like we were camping in someone else's house for the last couple of months and always slightly on edge - waiting for the next shoe to drop, and then the next one.  At long last, while we still mourn the two beloved family members lost since we got here (Charlie and Ripley), we can settle in and make the place our own.  So I think it won't be long until we relax and get into a flow and begin to put the strained beginning to our time here behind us.

But, putting our individual situation aside for a moment, I was thinking more about this as I was driving back home today (from buying yet more dog toys to replace the stash that never materialized after the move) and decided it's not about who has the nicest house or the most expensive furniture.  I drive past houses everyday that are both way more elaborate and far more humble than mine.  In the same neighborhood, I might add.  I have no idea what the interiors of these places are, but I can guess.  Yet, if my new definition is right, one has just as much of a chance to be a great home as the other one.  It has nothing to do with the trappings and everything to do with something else entirely.

I'm not rich, but I'm not poor and my furnishing reflect that.  We inherited a lot of what we have.  Maybe you did too.  Or maybe it's all from garage sales - mine was early on when I was just starting out.  I still have a couple of those pieces.   But it really is, I'm more and more convinced of it, building a home has far less to do with having the grandest house with the best furniture on the block.  It's whether you feel like you have the comfort level to be truly who you are when you kick your shoes off after a hard day's work.  And that lies within more than without.  So it has nothing to do with the house (of course, I say this from the security of living in a safe neighborhood - so...take all this with that grain of salt).  We haven't been at home here yet because there's been too much tension and grief.  As I stated, that sense of waiting for the next bad thing to happen has been pervasive.  But it won't last.  And it hasn't all been bad.  We just need to take a little time to breath, relax and reconnect with ourselves.  We can and will be happy here.  And we'll have a ceiling over our heads when we do!

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Fifteen Years On

I know I've done 9/11 theme blogs before - probably most notably on the 10th anniversary, but five more years later and the world is a very different place, and we're all different people, so I thought it might be worth taking a look back to the lesson we seemed to learn temporarily from that horrible day and seemed to have forgotten.

I was working on the company newsletter and thought it would be fitting to do a little tribute to 9/11 in an area I reserve for just fast tips and tricks, so I went trolling for quotes and found one that struck me.  Then I saw who said it.  Barack Obama said it in a radio address back in 2011 (I believe).  I loved it above anything else I found, but I almost didn't use it because the President said it.  The black President.  The black Democratic President.  I worried it might be too polarizing in today's weird world of racial  and political tension where if you're not of a like mind with your neighbor, you're suspect.  My hesitation was despite the fact that I campaigned and voted for him twice and continue to believe in his integrity and leadership, but I still hesitated.

Therefore, while I'm reflecting like everyone else on this anniversary, I'm thinking back to how we all reacted seemingly as one mind to mourn those lost that day.  We didn't ask what color their skin was or where they had worshipped or who they had voted for in the past.  They were Americans and we mourned them as lost brothers and sisters.

What happened to that sentiment?  What, nearly fifteen years later, caused Colin Kaepernick to decide to take a controversial stand (or I guess I should say sit) on racial inequality in 2016?  What makes me hesitate to put a I'm With Hillary yard sign in my yard in my all white neighborhood?  Why do I live in an all white neighborhood (meaning, why are there all white neighborhoods - not why do I live here because I like it here)?

In the years since 9/11 the pendulum has swung back in a bad way.  To an extent, I get it.  I might not excuse it, but I get it.  The world view we had on September 10 was shattered irrevocably.  There was no longer a sense of security that we had always lived by in this country - at least in my lifetime.  Enemies walked among us, we learned.  We couldn't tell who they were because they were civilians - the rules of war had changed. That sense of fear has been stewing for a decade and a half and it's now at a boiling point.

I know, I sound like I blame 9/11 for racism and religious prejudice.  I don't.  It's a problem as old as time, we all know.   But I personally would have thought that as that time progresses we'd learn the lessons history continually tries to teach us.  Yet, it would seem that we resist those lessons, and I do honestly think that the general unease we've lived with since that fateful day has worn on us and made us increasingly suspicious of anyone who isn't a cookie cutter version of ourselves.  And, further, I think it's a fire that's being fanned by politicians who want to use that fear for votes.

Why should I feel uneasy to tell you whom I'm supporting for President, because that's a cornerstone of our country - that freedom to participate in selecting our representatives in free and open elections? And I seem to recall something about all men being created equal too.  But I do tend to keep it close to the vest because I worry about being harassed or worse.  It's not without precedent in my personal experience.   But that makes me mad.  Go ahead and disagree, but don't make me feel I'm unsafe or my property is at risk because I differ in opinions from you.  That's nuts.

And why should we worry what color skin others have?  I don't know about you, but I couldn't help the color skin I was born with, so it seems ridiculous that I would hold it against someone else.

Anyway, as we remember the lives lost on that day fifteen years ago, I think we honor them best by remembering how it brought us together as a truly United States of America.  Like President Obama said, "Even the smallest act of service, the simplest act of kindness, is a way to honor those we lost, a way to reclaim that spirit of unity that followed 9/11."

Sunday, September 4, 2016

About our Grand Moms

Wednesday marked what would have been my mother's 98th birthday, and with the impending birth date of her great grandson approaching, parenting has been on my mind a lot lately.  I got a fair amount of feedback from my last post that had a common theme - intelligent, loving women who were very self-critical of their own parenting styles.  I know I certainly have been harsh about my own parenting, as those of you who have followed me for a while know, and with good reason.  And I've not always been kind to my mom as a mom.  She was a complicated woman - my thoughts about her as a mother are equally as complex.  Long before Alzheimer's starting creating chaos in her brain, she could be a hard nut to crack in terms of her parenting skills.  She did some crazy bad stuff that would have a family therapist tearing his or her hair out.  Some of it because she didn't have the best role model to pattern after herself - she'd be quick to tell you that.  Part of it because she was dealing with some things - as was my dad - that none of us understood.  My dad struggled with life in peacetime and the aftermath of his war experiences, and Mom never understood it.  So their marriage would strain to the breaking point, and I would be caught in the crossfire.  It would take years after my dad's passing for me to really be able to objectively see any of that for what it was and to forgive my dad.  Mom never did see it for what it was.  Yet, their marriage ebbed and flowed, and it wasn't always that bad.  And she was a better parent when I was a better kid.  Like most daughters do to their moms, I tested her patience.

What she was, however, was a great grandparent.  At least until the dementia starting creeping in and complicating things.  And so was my mother-in-law.  Now, overall, I think the MIL had the mom thing down pretty well too, but I didn't know her then really.  My mother-in-law had the home field advantage, and I assume that made my mom nuts, but really, she didn't show it too much - to her eternal credit.  She was at her best in my children's early years - both as a mom and a grandparent.  I cherish my memories with my mom in those years.  She was generous, as many grandparents who can afford to be are, but more importantly, she was sweet, kind and involved.  She was open to new experiences with the girls and was loving with them when they were young.

So I've been thinking about all of that over the last few days and here's what I've concluded:

  • First of all, what I think all of us Moms need to realize is that we are hardly as bad as we think we were.  If you're reading this and have a child who is a functioning adult, then you can't possibly have completely failed.  Take it from me, kids do just about everything possible to not reach adulthood.  They take ridiculous chances, having no real sense of their own mortality.  The same drive to experiment and learn to find their own way in the world makes them willful and stupid at the same time.  Without the rules and boundaries our parents set down for us, I shudder to think where most of us would be, but our very human nature is to try and push those boundaries and that led many of us into trouble - some more serious than others.  But whatever crazy crap you did - trust me, your mom shouldered a lot of that guilt.  If you were a "bad seed" in high school, that reflected on your mom.  At least with teachers and other moms.  And she felt it in her soul as well.  Maybe she earned some of it, maybe she didn't, but she took on the debt.  And, from what I heard from moms last week, she's likely still carrying it.
  • Moms are ultimately human.  And therefore flawed.  If you expect your mom to be perfect, then you're setting yourself up for a failed relationship.  If you're a mom wanting to be perfect, ditto.  Look past the action and hone in on the intent.  If that was mainly pure, then I think that's about all you can ask.
  • We'll be better at it the second time around.  By the time we tack "grand" onto the parenting label, we know some things about ourselves we didn't the first time around.   We've done the experimenting and analyzed the data and are primed and ready for this second round.  Granted, it helps that it's not all us all the time doing to parenting.  Our role is different and, as countless grandparents have told me, we get to hand them back at the end of the day.  But I think it's not that simple.  I think it might just be that our patience is greater, our tolerance is better, and we're less surprised at the curve balls kids will throw our way.  We've been there, we've done that, and we probably own the t-shirt in other words.  We can be the calm within the storm.

I was thinking back to some of the things both my mom and my mother-in-law did as grandparents, and I was struck at how much that was really because they loved us and see their grandchildren as an extension of us.  Whatever crazy crap they did as parents when they were tired, stressed and new to the job, could it be outweighed by the enormous shoulder of support they offered to us later when it was our turn to be crazy, tired and stressed?

Of course, not all grandparents are grand.  Not all parents are not very grand.  About all I can tell you with absolute certainty is that parenting is the hardest job we'll ever do.  Period.  And I don't care if you're a rocket scientist trying to put people on Mars. Parenting is harder.

So, go hug your mom for even taking a stab at it.  Now!  Because I said so.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Fall is Coming!

Summer is fighting to hang on.  The blast furnace hot temperatures linger over the area, but signs are everywhere that we're over it and ushering in fall whether Mother Nature wants us to or not.  School is back in session, ads are hawking sweaters and boots, preseason football is on the tube and, thankfully, I had my first pumpkin ale yesterday.

Bye Summer, don't let the door hit you on the way out!

This has been a brutal one.  I am not sorry to see it go.  I'm beginning to think winning the Stanley Cup is a bad omen for us.  I'm trying to banish that thought, but...  Nonetheless, after all the trials and travails of the summer, we're almost settled in to the house - albeit still without a living room ceiling - and we can turn our attention to other things.  Like the fact that my future grandchild is busy making himself ready for his world debut, and it's not that far off!

Somewhere in the midst of all the chaos of this summer, getting ready for the single big event that actually was one of the prime motivators of our moving in the first place took a back seat.  It's not that Baby Harrison was forgotten - how could he be?  He's shoving his mother's organs around in uncomfortable ways and because my daughter is so petite, he seems particularly large.  She's got all the usual last trimester laments:  swollen feet, aching back, overriding exhaustion, and a constant need to pee because he's slamming around in there.  And his presence in the room is unmistakable - he had no where to grow except straight out, and growing he certainly is!

Yet, despite his making sure no one can forget he's around, he's not been the prime focus in a summer of chaos and loss.  Now, suddenly, he has to be the only focus because he'll be here soon.  But past getting an ample inventory of diapers and swaddling blankets, and my making sure he's indoctrinated into the Black and Gold culture from the moment of birth, we're not all that ready.  There are daycares and hospitals to tour, pediatricians to select, and furniture to put together to be sure he's ready to be welcomed.

But for me, there's a lot more to be considering.  I've been with my daughter at most of her appointments, tagging along into the exam room, cheerfully introducing myself as the "overly involved grandmother."  I'm worried that might be a little more true than it should be.  So how do I support my daughter in caring for her infant son while not overstepping my bounds?  Probably a lot of grandparents have that dilemma, made a bit harder when families live together, but for me and my life experiences, it's more complicated still.  You don't need a degree in psychology to see it coming.  Try as I might not to think like this, I can tell that somewhere in my brain pan is the notion that I've got a second chance.  I'm thinking to myself, try as hard as I can not to, that I failed my own kids, so now I've got an opportunity to be fully there for my grandkid and to not fail him this time around.

So how do I balance the need to have my support some of the time without suffocating my daughter's attempt to grow into her own parenting style?

Well that's a great question!

That I can't answer.  But I need to come up with one and soon because things in the mirror are closer than they appear.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Sweet Dreams

I couldn't help myself, I had to put Mr. Blandings Builds His Dream House on as background noise one day last week.  I love that movie.  I've loved it for years, but it had an odd resonance that it's never had before.  While I didn't build a new house out in the country, this is to be our dream home and it's been anything but a smooth ride to get there.  Some of it I might look back on laugh at - probably a lot of it, but some will never settle into our memory as the stuff of a sweet late 40's comedy.  We've lost two members of our family in the last month, after all.  First our 18 year old cat Charlie slipped out one weekend morning three weeks ago and never came home.  We hold out hope, but he's old and in a strange neighborhood.  The hope is fading.  And of course there's Ripley.  But the rest of it, I'll confess, will eventually just be stories we shake our heads and reminisce over as we, hopefully, enjoy our lives in our happy home.  But, we're not there yet...

I'm needing to think forward - and quickly - to plan a baby shower for my daughter, but I don't have a ceiling still.  I think I'll need to start looking for an alternate venue, but there hasn't been much time to think about it.  This week, the crisis of the week was that the trap underneath the utility sink gave way so we couldn't wash clothes.  But that was okay, because we couldn't dry them either because my not-quite-handy husband couldn't get the dryer installed after impetuously deciding to switch out the old washer and dryer the previous owners had left for our newer, energy efficient ones.  I had to beg the plumbing company to come out this week to do the work so I can get wash done to leave town for work.

Then the smoke alarm decided 3:30 in the morning (after a very late night at work) would be an excellent time to malfunction.  At least that's all it was - I woke up thinking there was undoubtedly a gas leak from the thwarted attempt to connect the dryer and wonder how much time I had before the whole place blew.  That would be about par for the course.  After opening all the windows onto a warm. muggy night and checking every nook and cranny for any signs of something amiss, it finally occurred to me to check the back of the smoke detector and find out it was just beeping to tell me it had crapped out.  But I immediately was expecting the worst, because so far we've had a plumber out twice with a third service call scheduled for Monday, an electrician out to restore power to half the kitchen, including the outlet the fridge is plugged in to, and we've had two contractors scheduled to try and help with the ceiling - both seem to have a problem remembering to actually come do the work.  We got so far as cutting away the damaged part and drying it out, but that company was supposed to repair and reinstall the plaster this week and never showed.  And we've had small little things perplex and confound - pictures falling mysteriously off walls, limbs crashing down in the yard.  Any time we hear a noise, we wonder what just happened now.  It's an edgy way to live.

I've decided, however, that if the house thinks it can beat me into submission, I'd just fight back and show it who is boss.  I'm relentless when I want to be.  And I am determined.  You want to send my things flying off my walls?  I'll just put more things on the walls (I've always held that empty wall space exists for one purpose and one purpose alone - to not be empty anymore).  Slowly, very slowly, with the exception of the living room, the house has started to become ours and to feel like we belong.  For the very first time this week, I sat outside for a while and worked on the computer so the dogs could get some air and play a little and had it actually feel like home.  Then today, at just the oddest moment - I was washing my hands in the utility sink after pulling some weeds - I was struck with the image of my grandson having friends over and hanging in the little nerd cave we've created down there (all the Star Wars toys I doggedly hauled from Texas finally saw the light of day in the basement - it'll be a boy's dreamscape at some point) and thought, okay, we'll be happy here.

I hope I'm right.

No, I am right.  I'm going to try for optimism this week.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Asking the Why Question

I suppose an overcast, humid Sunday morning is as good a time as any to confess I'm having a crisis of faith.  Before anyone gets in a twist - that really has nothing to do with my belief in God.  I'm firmly convinced the two can be mutually exclusive.  You've got to think more than one priest in Germany in the 30's and 40's had a substantial crisis of faith wondering how God could let a Hitler happen.  I've wondered that myself, but then I've always answered it myself with the idea that God didn't: men did.  And you can equate that to the current Presidential election if you want, I certainly will not stop you.  But, I digress...

Anyway, back to the point at hand:  what it has to do with is the underlying concept of "everything happens for a reason" or "some good can come from bad things".  I've relied on those two sentiments to push me through a lot.  Maybe I don't know that there is a pre-ordained Fate for all things and sometimes crappy things just happen, but I've always held steadfast to the belief that you can find a purpose, learn a lesson and pass it forward, or become resolved to do something good to help others as a result of a tragedy.  All major events in our lives have repercussions - it's up to us to determine whether those repercussions will be for good or not.  Or so I've always believed.

And that's held me in good stead.  I think I'm on pretty solid emotional soil after the tumultuous years between 2000-2009, which, as we know, ended in the largest tragedy that can befall a parent.  Yet, it wasn't always the case.  A little time and distance was needed to process it all, and there had to be a little break with sanity on my part before I could.  I remember one night pretty early on in Kelsey's illness, but far enough in for things to be serious and highly emotionally charged, that I decided I was going to go to the nearest church and demand of God why this was happening.  For some reason, I couldn't get in the car (I think I was blocked in), so I decided to walk because I just had to have an answer right then and there.  I headed off in the direction of the church I was most familiar with because it was right across from Marissa's school and my mom's assisted living center, not really thinking that there was actually a church not very far in the other direction from our house.  I didn't even make it close.  I got outside our neighborhood to a quaint little park by day, but a notorious drug hand off spot by night, got freaked out by that, turned around and walked home.  But even if I had made it to either church, did I really think the doors would be open, and I could waltz right in?  And if I could have, would God himself really have boomed down the answer from on high?  Of course not.  And even, let's just say, I got the answer to the question.  Then what exactly was I going to do that information?

I'm sad to say I had more than one crazy lady night like that before I realized losing my shit wasn't helping anybody, and just learned to accept the reality, roll up my sleeves and get to work to try and change it, which of course I never did.  But I never had as bad of a moment again after I reached that acceptance point until, naturally, that fateful early morning in West Virginia when the trooper knocked on my door.

I never got the answer to the question why.  People had theories they liked to share and some had a certain validity - even some of the cruel and small minded ones - but in the end, why didn't matter.  The fact that it was really happening (and not to me - that's the other lesson I had to learn the hard way, it was SO not about me) was all that needed to be learned and, once learned, accepted.  Once I gave up asking why it was easier to just try and deal with the what.

However, by nature, humans ask the question "why".  Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it's caused humans to explore and discover, build and invent.  So not being able to know the reason why to something is counter to our very nature.  And that leads me back around to my current crisis.

I picked up Ripley's ashes yesterday.  I brought them home to my house without a living room ceiling which, by the way, also does not have a working dryer currently - long story in a long line of long stories in the short month we've been here.  I'm running out of pep talks to give myself about why this happened to Ripley, and why I'm left to mourn my young dog.  No real crazy lady stuff.  Just a tired old lady trying to reason out the why of something to try and move on past it.