Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Words of Children

These are poems my youngest daughter wrote this year.


I am (Insert her name here), a younger sister and gymnast.
I feel sad when I can only see my dad every other weekend.
I love warm clothes from the dryer, reading until my head hurts and doing as much gymnastics as I want.
I wonder what gooseberries taste like and what my dad is feeling.
I worry what will happen when I move to Tennessee and if I will make new friends.
I try to help my family and the environment and to eat less junk food.
I dream that I will get an adorable little puppy and not have to chew only sugar free gum.
I am (Insert her name here), a fun loving person and best friend to all.


If I were in charge of the world, I'd cancel buzzing bumble bees, mean hamsters, very long car drives, and also icky asparagus.

If I were in charge of the world there's be king sized beds for everyone, free Rita's ice cream every day, and big jet tubs in every bathroom.

If I were in charge of the world you wouldn't have to pick up your room.
You wouldn't have to eat dinner before dessert.
You wouldn't have pool water that's to cold or secrets to keep from your sister.
You wouldn't even have an annoying sister.

If I were in charge of the world your favorite show would always be on. You could always drink soda, and a person who doesn't brush her hair or like cats would still be allowed to be in charge of the world.

Friday, May 28, 2010

The Duke Who Outlawed Jellybeans

Yesterday I packed up the last of my belongings from my job as Pre-k teacher. I loaded the car and unloaded it back into my basement. As I put my children's books back on my bookshelf, (I have a library of my own, it saved my life this year)I saw so many of the books that I loved reading to my own children. I also saw books from my own childhood.

In years past as a teacher I read stories related to my "Theme". I still did that this year, but I also just read plain old books that were special to me. I can read these books better because I know them and love them. I read "I'll Love You Forever" and cried in front of the class. I read all my "Francis" books.

I have trouble getting rid of books. My siblings and I still have books from our childhood hanging around our houses. For many years these books were in my parents attic in boxes. Eventually, my parents said,"No, more!" and made us get our stuff.

As I preschool teacher I have more than others I suspect. I got to read these stories to my class and say,"This is a book from when Mrs. Ziegler was a young girl." I would read the names in the front of the book of my sisters and brother.I would read other books and say,"This is a book that Mrs. Ziegler read to her own children." I would tell them about who gave us the book and which of my children liked it best.

In our process to move we are attempting to purge. My children still have books on their shelves from when they were young. I can't even bring myself to take them to my "Preschool Library" in the basement. My children are 9 years old and 11 years old. They are past picture books level reading. However, the other day my youngest daughter asked,"MOM, where is "The Duke Who Outlawed Jellybeans!?"

"The Duke Who Outlawed Jellybeans" is a book of fairy tales or fanciful tales given to my children by my brother. The beauty of the book is that the stories are fun and creative. Another nice aspect is that all the families in the stories are unique. There are families with 2 moms and/or 2 dads. It is not a big deal just part of the stories. I get to answer my daughter,"That book is on your shelf or your sister's shelf." I know this because even though it is what you would consider a picture book I never removed it from their room. I just couldn't. I am so happy they still like that book. I am hopeful one day that it will end up in my house in a box waiting for them to fight over it and read it to their children.

Monday, May 24, 2010

The Ziegler Family has a Weight Problem

I am overweight. Ok,not really. Those of you who know me know that while not a size 2I am not overweight. Except for some reason on the Wii. But I fixed that problem by making myself taller.(Ha! take that Nintendo)To be honest, this blog isn't about me and my size at all. It IS about the weight of my STUFF. Apparently Jack and I have more weight than we are allotted to move. (I blame the books, their like cookies, you can never have just one)

The mover coordinator called me and left a message on my cellphone. She wanted me to call her about this problem so we could discuss our "options". (translation: what it will cost us) I don't have figures yet but what am I supposed to do? NOT take something with me? My moving coordinator was really nice and funny. She told me not to worry about it and she would ask the relocation coordinator if they would allow us more weight. Of course, my coordinator also said, "Girl, you got a lot stuff."(add some teasing attitude tone and you get the affect)

I have spent some time pondering what to do or not about all this stuff. I have been in this house 12 years. I am also fairly certain if I was not a preschool teacher our load would be lighter.(I don't care, I am NOT giving my my Dora Playhouse,it is TOO cool)I should find out today or tomorrow the fate of our weight. I am hoping it will all work out and we don't have to go on a diet.

The Road Less Traveled

I am sure many of you are familiar with the Robert Frost poem, The Road Less Traveled. This past week I felt frustrated and tense about the road MORE traveled. My road even has a name, Naamans Road.

Rt. 202(Concord Pike) is connected to Philadelphia Pike (Rt.13 ) by Naamans Road (Rt. 92) or as I like to call it, the slow road to hell. Often on a Monday or Thursday my children have gymnastics and karate. The karate studio is located on Concord Pike. The Gymnastic Studio is located off Naamans Road just BEFORE Philadelphia Pike. There are 19 lights to go through. They are not timed for easy travel and although the trip is no more than 5 miles it often takes 15 plus minutes to go one way.

I ping back and forth between the two sites, with perhaps a brief 15 minute or 30 minute break at home. I have become creative with these time slots, I whip up a quick ZUMBA routine, sort through some papers, or prep a little dinner. It is challenging with these snippets of time, (Remember how I could not figure out how to cook the turkey?)but I don't have much longer to suffer.

Naamans Road is my temporary single parent cross to bare. In a few weeks it will be not the road MORE travelled but the road traveled no longer. It could very well be the road that takes me to Interstate 95 and off to Tennessee. (in which case, I better change the name to something different than the slow road to hell) I am off to Tennessee to many new roads to drive on which will take me to the new karate and gymnastics. I am, however, choosing to look at my move, the packing, the adventure starting in early June as my individual Road Less Traveled. I hope it makes all the difference.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Being a Good Christian is Exhausting

On Sunday I came home from church drained. It occurred to me that this is not the purpose of church. Are we not supposed to go to church to be renewed?, refreshed?, rejuvenated? I will admit a large part of church for me is the fellowship and friendship, not necessarily the spirituality. As a minister's daughter I understand people attend church for several reasons. They also leave churches when their needs are not met.

It made me think about the exhaustion and drained feeling I get from church so often. I have been a member of this church for about 17 years. I realized that I have been dealing with conflict and churned up feelings for 7 years. Over time I have been more and sometimes less involved with the fallout. I have protected myself by ignoring or distancing myself from certain people or committees. I have even considered leaving the church.

I have been extremely fortunate to have close friends at church who keep me laughing and listen to me cry when I can't take it anymore. I also call my parents and vent. I gather perspective (OVER AND OVER AGAIN) because no matter what my perspective I cannot fix the problem. I am leaving this church by moving to Tennessee. I wish I did not have such a sense of relief. I am saddened to leave my friends behind. I feel as if I am leaving a blighted section of a city to move to a shining mansion on a hill. The hard work of repair and rebuilding is falling on their shoulders. The church is at a turning point (AGAIN) and I will not be standing with my loved ones giving it one last push. I guess I will do The only thing I know good Christians can do, pray a lot.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

A Toast to the Bride and Groom

Today is my wedding anniversary. I know it is my anniversary because my husband called me to say, "Happy Anniversary!". He had to do that because he is in Tennessee and I am here. However, in all honesty, this is fairly typical for us on our special day.

During this crazy time in our lives, I guess I could be forgiven for forgetting. But really, I almost always forget it is our anniversary. We have been married 15 years and still Jack has to call and remind me. I am not good with dates or names.(thanks Dad) I often say my anniversary is May 10th when someone asks. Jack will politely point out that May 10th is the wedding date of his brother. Opps, I say, and smile sheepishly at him.

Our wedding was a fun one. My parents side of the family STILL talks about it. We ate, danced, and laughed together. Jack pointed out to me this weekend that our life right now is similar to our life while planning the wedding. There are crazy details that all need to be taken care off at the last minute. You can plan but you can't do anything until it has to be done right NOW. I laughed and admitted he was right. We also both agreed that the big difference was after the stress of planning a wedding you had a big party to release stress and be with those you love, and in this instance instead of a party we would be driving south in a packed van crying from good - byes.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Heaters, Turkeys, and Mom, will life be less hectic in Tennessee?

Yesterday morning started as a typical day. I got up and realized the house was cold. I had turned the heat off when the weather got warm, but we were in a cold snap so I decided to warm up.

Sure enough when I got downstairs the temperature was well below our typical accepted warmth. I flick the switch.

Nothing, no click, whoosh, wow. Hmmmm. I go to the basement and all is quiet.(except for the sump pump, which we all know is NEVER quiet) I immediately suspect the condensate pump on the heater. I hate that pump. It has given us no end of trouble. It never costs money because it is always under warranty, but the fact that I have to keep getting it dealt with puts me in a tizzy.

I stomp upstairs, cussing like a sailor, slamming phone books, and calling for service. The heater is now working.(but naturally will need a new part to KEEP working) Oh well, I can now focus on the other tasks of the day, leaving messages, getting ready for the yard sale on Saturday, and cooking the turkey that I had in my freezer.

I have really never cooked a turkey, except in my Crock Pot Roaster. I thought I could use it this time but alas, it is only good for up to 16 pound turkeys. For some reason I bought a 19 pound turkey. It now sits in the fridge thawing.

This gives me time to consider how and WHEN, I will cook it. When am I home? My life is divided into nuggets of time from work, errands, running children places, and getting ready to move. Hmmmmm. I think Friday will work. Oh well, today is Tuesday, lots of time to worry about that.

Last night, I got the worst cut of all.(worse than the turkey will ever get) In the van, (ALWAYS in the van) my daughter asks, "Mom, when we get to Tennessee will things be less hectic?" Will you not eat dinner at 9:00 at night, can we have family dinners, and not be so busy?

I sigh, to myself I answer, "I hope so". To my daughter who I know is facing change and fear I say. "Yes, honey, things will be better when we get to Tennessee. Daddy will be there to help me. I won't have to feed you Ramen noodles and hot dogs for dinner and then throw you in the car. He will help get you places." I think to myself, Jack will be calming, funny, available for homework help, and willing to eat my cooking. Jack will not put up with Ramen noodles and hot dogs for dinner.

Tonight, we skipped karate and had no gymnastics. Even so, the girls and I ate at 7:00 PM. The heater repair guy had left, along with the mover survey guy. I got to laugh with them, hear about who was being nice in school and their best/worst of their day. Jenny of course did not eat my chicken meatballs. But, I guess, you can't win them all. If it means later bed time but less hectic, I will take it.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

It's all About the Shoes

May is a crazy month. It is full of end of the school year events and celebrations. In the case of my two daughters, it meant a Spring Concert. Each of my children play instruments and had a singing solo. It was a time to REJOICE! Ok, maybe not so much when my life is so crazy.

One thing about Concerts at school, it means a specific outfit. White shirt, black pants, and black shoes. I swear I saw flyers with a forgiveness on the dark shoes. I acted on this assumption. In my house,(other than me) there are not many shoes. The girls have sneakers and a slip on shoe. That is it! (ok, besides snow boots, which we won't need in Tennessee) Anyway, the dress shoes for concerts are always a problem.

Thankfully, I usually have gifts or hand me down shoes to handle this situation. On this particular day, I had more than one problem. It was warm. Warm or hot means shorts. We don't have BLACK uniform, dressy, skorts, or skirts.

We draw on older stuff, that is perhaps smaller. You must remember my children tend to keep getting taller not bigger anywhere else, allowing them to hold onto clothes for many years. The skirts we wear are passable, but shorter than fingertip length. (unless you are my eldest daughter who insists if she puts her shoulders back it is fine) We get dressed and all seems well. BUT, there is still the matter of SHOES.

I get my coffee and we dig into the shoe tub. My youngest seems happy with white sandals.(I KNOW not black, but I REMEMBER reading it was ok) My eldest finds black sandals that are from the Hand Me Down Chain. I saved them because they were black. They do have heels but oh well, I am desperate. My eldest daughter puts the shoes on, she REALLY likes them.

I look at her for a moment. She has a maturing girl body, a SHORT black skirt, and black heels. I think that if I give her a floppy hat, paint her nails and give her makeup, she could be the Jodie Foster character from "Taxi Driver".

"No Way", I say. "You can have THOSE shoes and navy blue capris OR that skirt and different shoes."

She does not stop to think. "I will go change." she says as she races upstairs (as fast as those heels will allow) She looks much better when I see her next. I breath easier. The school will not think I am a bad parent (at least not for how my child is dressed) and she gets to feel more "grown up". Right now, being more "teen" or "grown up" is how my daughter wants to feel.

I feel like adulthood for her and all the nonsense that comes with it is swirling down on us fast and furious, like a tornado, OR just like this doggone move to Tennessee.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Stages of Grief

I have a close friend who once told me, it is not the times you expect to be sad, birthdays, anniversaries, or holidays that are so bad. You can be prepared for the sense of loss and change. It is the times that suprise you or sneak up on you that are the hardest when you are suffering from loss.

My friend and others all have ways to grieve. We are all different and prcoess things in our own unique way. I will admit, today, I think I realized I have been to busy to process my own grief at the changes to come in my life.

This is not to say I am sad about moving or resent the change in my life. In many ways I am excited. I am REALLY looking forward to seeing my husband more often. Right now though, I have to many things to get done to worry about it. As I have stated before, currently each step I take toward moving leads to several more. All my work involves phone calls, FAXes, and email of confirmation.(and usually the sacrifice of my first born child)

I am reminded of when my father was a conference minister.( a man in charge of ministers and congregation relations for 104 churches) He would always have "many oranges" in the air. This referred to churches under his care who are facing a variety of challenges with their ministers. A phone call would come, my dad would have to go out. He would say, "Sorry, an orange dropped, gotta go."

So is my life at the moment, I am waiting for the first orange to fall. I try to take small bites and attack what I need to do. Today I attempted to enroll my children in camp. Jack had provided me with a listing of camps from the local paper. The girls had expressed an interest in a "Performing Arts Camp". I found some options and took to the phone.

I was fortunate to find one that both girls could attend. It was all day and was close to our new home. All is going great, I can even enroll online. I get started and give our information. Name, address, (which address should I use?), ok, I move on, health information (ugh,make note to call doctor and get shot record before we move, IN 3 WEEKS). All goes along smoothly until - EMERGENCY CONTACT.

In all capital letters, it sits, who do you want to the camp to contact if you or your husband is unavailable?. I pause, the curser blinks, mocking me, and I feel the tears coming. I HAVE NO EMERGENCY CONTACT! I will not know a sole in Tennesse who I could ask to do such a thing. I begin to cry some more, and call the camp for help.

I explain, while not crying, that I am moving from Delaware and do not know who to put for an EMERGENCY CONTACT. They say, not to worry, put someone in from where I am now and update it later. LATER, I think, I am going to make an EMERGENCY CONTACT friend in the span of 3 - 4 weeks!

I give up and put a good friend from Delaware. Thinking, what do they care, I could put Charles Manson and make up an address and they may not notice. This does not inspire my confidence. To spite this, I submit our application.

I WILL make friends. I also know enough that making friends takes time. I can't unpack them when I arrive or expect them to be lined up at the door to meet me. I will admit, I picture in my mind a line at my door. They could whisper to each other, I hear that Ingrid Ziegler moved in today, she is the coolest person, great cook, funny, excellent writer, and soooo kind.

Oh well, I guess at least in reality, an orange dropped, I got to taste the grief I feel in my heart and the sense of loss. It will keep coming and I will keep dealing with it. All I can say is, thank goodness for texting, email, and maybe Skype. Then I can at least grieve, along with all the rest of my EMERGENCY CONTACTS.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Movers Hate Zumba

The move is coming. It barrels toward my like a train speeding up. I am choosing to NOT be the damsel tied to the tracks in peril. I am the hero facing the danger head on ready to save the day.

To that end the phone calls and coordination begin. I gather my weapons and support troops and begin the attack. I do my best to take on comfortable battles. Start the ball rolling and then handle the 10 or so items one phone call will lead me to take care of.

The problem with this attack is that I call, then I get calls. (always at the most inconvenient times) Mostly when I am trying to get in my ZUMBA. My exercise relieves my stress and makes me happy. It is hard to do your salsa when the phone keeps ringing.

No matter what happens or when the calls arrive I will survive. I keep the notebook handy to write down my questions and/or the task I must tackle. In order to keep my sanity, I may even get up early to exercise. (although I have been getting very relaxed in that area)

There is a ZUMBA infomercial where a delivery guy does ZUMBA in the back of his truck on his lunch break. (When the truck is a rockin, don't come a knockin.) Maybe the people in my relocation are intuned to this vibe. If I am lucky the ZUMBA feeling will vibrate through my chaos (and them) and allow me to shake my booty in peace.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Pastor Virgins

In my life right now there is much transition. I am transitioning to Tennessee, my school year (and brief return to teaching) is ending, the Christian Education year is ending, and the school year is ending for my children. All at ONCE, funneling to a single point of light sometime at the end of May.

There is another transition that should also be noted. My church here in Delaware is transitioning to a new pastor. The issues involved with this change is not something my children have been aware. My youngest has finally put things together though. She asked me, "Mom, why does Pastor Dave have to leave?" Why indeed?, I think to myself.

It is a Monday morning and I am not ready to try and concretely, politely, and in an age appropriate way tackle this subject. I have not even had my coffee yet. I take an easy way out. "Ministers change jobs, honey. Just like dad did. They need something new and they find a different church."

My daughter ponders this and then says, "Who will be the new pastor?". I take a moment to explain how the church will form a committee and talk about what they want in a pastor. They will search for someone new who can meet the criteria they need.

My daughter looks at me and says,"Oh, sort of like buying a new house? You make a list of all the things you want but you won't get everything on the list? You just try the best you can?"

WHOA....I think. Out of the mouths of babes. When DO you get everything for everyone out of a pastor? Never. Maybe before I leave I can suggest anyone on the search committee watches a lot of Property Virgins on HGTV.

Property Virgins always starts with the young couple walking in a neighborhood they like. The host talks to them about what they want in a house and why they like this particular neighborhood. Then she asks them how much they think these houses cost.

Reality check time. Most of these guys have no idea what their money is going to get them. Their journey begins for what they REALLY want (and can actually get) in a house. Their ideas sometimes change as they search.

Even when people on TV or people like you and me get a house, things change once you are in the house. Maybe something was not quite the way you pictured it, or this room needs to be changed more, or something big breaks that will take a lot of time and energy to fix.

These and other things seem similar in a house search and pastor search. Those initial walk throughs get you excited. Then you have inspections and see a few flaws but you deal with it. As time goes on you grow to accept your new dwelling warts and all or perhaps gently adapt it to suit your needs.

I hope the people in our congregation are willing to be able to see some flaws in a pastor and perhaps even adapt themselves a little. I hope they find healing and growth in their endeavor to find a pastor. Most of all, I hope that this process ends with the church feeling like a new HOME which supports them all.