Tuesday, May 21, 2013

The Rule of Seven

My mom must have told me about the rule of seven, from a conversation she had with my brother Rich.  He had been climbing some frozen peak and his face and hands were raw and sore from the cold and climb.  She asked him, "Why would you do this?  How could that be fun?"

Rich explained that some things you appreciate or enjoy after seven seconds, or seven minutes, or seven days, seven weeks, and some experiences take even longer to distill - seven years or more. This has been rattling around in my brain since I got back from visiting Bryan/College Station.  I have thought about it repeatedly while I was running, especially during my last seven mile run on Sunday.

1. Seven years.
Bryan, TX I missed, College Station, not so much.  I stopped by our old house, which looked identical except for the huge tree and rose bushes.  You're welcome, new owners, for the new roof, siding, window shades, tile, paint, and landscaping. Seven years ago that tree was puny.   I never thought it would grow.
I visited our friend Erin and family on Saturday and it was great to see old friends.  We had such good friends in Texas, and Indiana.  Something about the age and being in school together as we were making decisions and raising our kids made it easy to make life-long friends.  It was surprising during my department visit to see how little it and the people had changed, but campus had grown so much. The Beasley Lab, the Cotton Lab, and the Heep Center still felt like home, but I realized the rest of the campus was foreign to me.  I didn't recognize it and I didn't miss it.  
I spent an evening collecting petrified wood out of our cotton fields and Saturday morning at the cemetery.  I thought ten years would feel like a long time, that old wounds would be healed.  I was wrong. 

2. Seven days.
One of the engineers I work with collects instruments from around the world.  I begged him to invite us over so I could play the erhu.  I made a very squeaky, scratchy squawk, but after seven days I am beginning to think I need one of my own.  
 Joe has this great townhouse in downtown Des Moines with a rooftop patio.  He also smoked pork and chicken that was better than at the state fair, which is a high compliment for pork roast.

3. Seven minutes.
On Saturday, Colleen, Kate, and I went to Chichaqua Bottoms Park to go canoeing after we finished planting the garden.  A member of our ward runs the park and promised me free use of his canoe.  I thought this would be a great reward for working hard in the garden.  
Colleen and Kate look happy in this photo, but it is a lie.  Colleen just sat up from her kneeling prayer asking that God would keep her from dying in the canoe.  Kate is repeating to herself, "If I fall out, Dad will rescue me.  If I fall out, Dad will rescue me."  Colleen assured us that the Holy Ghost told her she wasn't going to die this day, but that didn't keep them from crying out for divine intervention to get them out of the canoe and onto dry land the ENTIRE time.  Kate even cried out for Mom to save her!
Then a few minutes after getting out they were both thrilled to be in the water.  Colleen told me how grown up she felt riding in the front of canoe and helping to paddle.  No mention of the hour of terror in the boat.  

4. Seven Seconds. 
On Monday, we had a full evening schedule - 4:50 - piano recital for Emily and Aleah, 6:00 - Graduation party for a friend in the ward, 7:30 - Emily's Choir concert.  Sunday night we all slept downstairs because of tornadoes near Huxley, so the kids were a little on edge, as were parents.  As we were driving to Ankeny, Kate was whining about something.  "What is the matter?" I asked her.  

She said that she wanted to be more like her Dad when she grew up.  I asked her to tell me how she wanted to be like me.  She said that, "I want to eat spicy food.  I want to like peppers and tomatoes.  I want to be able to tickle babies.  I want to take hot baths with really hot water.  I want to be able to snore like you.  I want to read lots of books and go to work.  When I am a Mom, I want to be a Dad." That made my day.  That may carry me through a lot of days actually. 

I was cheery even as we drove through a developing tornado.  
 It didn't touch down, but there was a tornado watch because of this storm.  We spent the first hour of Emily's concert in the locker rooms waiting for the watch to expire.  

Some other things that have went on this last few weeks:
Here is Kate and Emily trying out beards.  Very fashionable.
Emily's band concert.  They have the last concert in the gym with 5-8 grade bands.  There are too many kids and parents to fit any where else.  I love that band is cool at Ballard.  
Leila calls this putting your hatchet where your mouth is.  I met a family at the track meets with turkeys they were willing to give me, if I butchered them.  Big, very tasty birds.  I also sliced my finger with my newly sharpened knives. 
For the freezer
For roasting.  Very flavorful turkey.  
May 3rd we had significant snowfall, then it jumped into the 90s, then dropped down again, and then tornadoes and storms.  I still don't have all my corn planted.  Crazy Midwest weather. 

Lots more to talk about, but this is getting long.