Saturday, June 27, 2009

Musings on life, death, and the meaning of it all.

June 22nd has come and gone again.

I am not sure why I am writing about this here or now. We don't do anything to mark this date, but the day passes and I catch myself thinking, Brian would have had his birthday today. Baby Kate came close to being born on the same day as her stillborn brother. He would have been 6 years old this year.

When he died, people tried to comfort me, but inside I seethed. No words about how he was in a better place or how children that die early were too pure for this mortal realm made me feel any better. It all rang hollow. I have always believed that there was a plan and a purpose to life, and this seemed to scream that life was full of pain and pointlessness and any plan that involved this was not one I wanted. I just couldn't see why God would do this to us, to me.

I read Connie Willis' book "To Say Nothing of the Dog" over and over again in the months after Brian was born. It is not a philosophy book, or a spiritual guide. It is pulp science fiction, but it is full of randomness and debate about the nature of "The Grand Design." while the main characters try to find the bishop's bird stump, a particularly ugly vase missing from Coventry Cathedral from World War II. They travel through time and change the past by saving a cat from drowning and bringing to the future. The main character falls in love with another time traveller as they try to repair the changes they have made in the 1800's before the future is changed irrevocably. The problem they find is that the solution is not what they thought it was, nor was the problem. They didn't have all the information and were wrong about what was needed to fix it.

I don't know if I can really say this how I mean to. On the page it seems preachy and incomplete. I want to say how I see this as a chaotic network, not clockworks, or a plot in the book. The things that are important to directing history may be small, they may involve death and pain, they may not make any sense to us on the ground at the time that it is happening and why. But, if we could understand the whole pattern we would see what really mattered. There was a story in the Ensign soon after his death where a couple faced a similar situation and they prayed, had a blessing and the baby was born alive. Why their's and not ours? I asked myself. The problem is I don't have all the information. Maybe there was a reason their's was saved and mine not. but maybe there is randomness in the equation.

Oddly, it is comforting to realize that I was wrong about world. I still think there is a plan, but I had a very simple view of it before. God's plan for the world includes randomness, pain, free will, temptation, sin, suffering, chaos, death, destruction, evolution, sex, growth, punishment, reward, and unjustness; all that we look around us and see. It includes beauty, success, love, mosquitoes, cholera, first kisses, camp outs, war, computers, fleas, mites, elephants. All of it matters. I just don't know how.

There is a plan he is in control, but it isn't like I envisioned. I can't see it like god is the grand puppetteer writing a script to a play where my son dies and I learn my lesson. He is the creator. It is like being a parent to the universe. You create it and it grows and exists. People die in this world. Even good people.

I even think that God is directing the outcome of this huge creation, but I don't see his control as heavy handed as I once did. I think it is interesting that according to chaos theory there is a pattern in randomness. That chaotic systems can develop order. Sometimes that order is hard to see though. How do you change and control a chaotic system? Sometimes small and indirect actions have a large effect on the system. Sometimes large ones have no effect because the interactions are self sustaining. Somehow that makes not understanding feel better.

Monday, June 22, 2009


Katherine Alma Gardunia - that is what we wrote down on the form, but now we are having name regrets. We were about to leave with "Baby Girl" Gardunia, but the nurse pressured us into writing something. So we did. I think we may knickname her Becca.

Friday, June 19, 2009

"Girl" Gardunia

9 lbs 10 ounces - length - I am not sure.

Leila came in to be induced at 6 this morning. By the time we got everything filled out and questions answered it was after 8. They started her on a pitocin drip and by 11 she was having regular contractions. The doctor broke her water around noon and then leila had an epidural. She was born just after 1 PM. The epidural only numbed one side so Leila was not very happy for a little while, but it went fast.

She was big enough that her shoulders almost got stuck.

She already has double chins and chubby cheeks.

The biggest problem is that we don't have a name at all!

That and I left the digital camera sitting on my desk. Hey, it was 5 AM. I thought it was in the bag. I bought a disposable camera at the lobby, so none of the pictures will probably turn out.

For names we have considered:
Katherine - Kate? Marie
Rebecca - Becca
Sara Jane
Ann (Marie)
Chubbs {Double Bs for double the chins}
Evangeline (Evie)

Going to the Hospital

Leila and I are off to the hospital to have this baby.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

The rest of the story

Leila wrote about some of the move, and I agree the move itself went smooth, but it was a stressful couple of days.

My last day at work was the 15th. After that I was at home trying to get some things done, but I found I could spend my whole day just hanging out and get not much done. But, I cleaned out the barns, picked up tools, organized the garage, the basement, washed the windows, replaced the broken pane in the living room, worked my way through the relocation company checklist, mowed, cleaned out the flower beds, and when the movers came felt like we were ready to go.

The movers were great. The two of them moved our piano like it was no big deal. They packed everything Thursday. Then Friday morning they loaded the truck. They parked on the street and wheeled everything from the house all the way out to the road, about half a block. I was impressed.

Friday afternoon Felicia Trembath came over to help clean and we cleaned the house from top to bottom. But, we still hadn't mopped the floors when it was time for us to go eat and so we decided to come back on Saturday morning and mop one last time. We ate with the new Merrills, and spent the night with the Cooks. All was going pretty well. Saturday we had a load of stuff in the trailer that I took to goodwill while Doug helped one of the Elders put up a swing set. Then we went and cleaned the floors in the house.

By the time we were done, it was really too late to hit the road Saturday so the Cooks offered us another night at their place and we would leave first thing Sunday. That afternoon I asked Tara if I could borrow their laptop so I could check email, blogs, etc. I sat down and opened my gmail account and the relocation company had sent me the results of the foundation inspection and had decided that in order for them to assist us in selling the house we needed to:

1. Replace one of the support beams in the basement

2. Install window wells with drainage for each basement window

3. Regrade the dirt around the house.

If we didn't do these things they would not assist us in selling our house, which we needed since we are committed to buying our new house in Iowa. I was so mad. I called and complained, I stomped around for about an hour trying to figure out what to do. The relocation company had an estimate for them to take care of it at 4300 dollars. I was about to scream.

Then I started calling around and got help from Aaron Trembath, Doug Cook, Kyle Merrill, Marriner Merrill, Marshal Winder, Cory Hansen, and Dwayne Harris. Aaron went with me to get fill dirt in his truck. Doug went to get supplies at Lowes. Everybody else brough shovels and rakes. We met at our house just as the rain hit. In the rain we filled the best we could with the dirt we could fit in the Trembath's truck and went to work digging the window wells. I made everyone stop because it was pouring hard for a while with lightning and thunder, but we were soon back at it. We stopped as it was getting dark and still raining, but we had a large part of the grading done, the window wells installed, and the post replaced.

I don't know what I would have done without their help. Aaron Trembath went back after we left and added gravel to the window wells and cleaned up the landscaping even. I owe them a lot.

I think I called in all of my favors that last night.

In the morning we left the Cooks and came to find the cat. we couldn't see her anywhere and Emily was frantic. I told her we could wait until 12:00 and then we needed to be on the road. we looked everywhere, but that cat was hiding out somewhere and of course didn't come when we called. We waited and looked until 1:00. (I have a weak spot for weepy girls. ) We said one last prayer and I walked all around our property and down the fence rows on either side. Just as I had given up and was on my way back to the car, I heard her in the bushes. When I emerged from the brush with her in my arms, the girls were nearly apoplectic with gratitude.

By then it was nearly 2:00 and we had a long ways still to go. We stuffed the cat in the travel box and drove away. The cat hyperventilated for the first few hours of the car ride, but then settled down and slept in the cat carrier. The girls were great in the car and slept most of the way. We made one stop for gas and got in time for bed at the new house.