Saturday, November 30, 2013

Black Friday

I’m always puzzled why people get so worked up over what someone else is doing or not doing. A sure-fire way to get more chores handed to you around here is to ask “Why isn’t so-n-so doing something?” or “Why am I the only one doing this?” It doesn’t matter why and has nothing to do with you or what you have been asked to do. Another way is to say “I’m bored,” but that’s another post. I just can’t jump on board with all the Pre-Black-Friday-sales haters. I’m not a shopper, nor am I an employee working on Thanksgiving, so I don’t have a dog in the fight. But, just as an observer, I’m not sure why so many get so torn up that a store is opening on Thanksgiving, and there may be extreme exceptions and a few good reasons, but in general I just don’t see why it is such a big deal. Times are economically tough these days, so it could be that some of those employees are glad to get the hours. It could be that if that store didn’t open on Thanksgiving to get that extra boost in income that, not only are those employees not working on Thanksgiving, but they may not have a job at all by February. So, to work a day now is better than no job at all later. It could be that some of those shoppers who are sacrificing time with their families on Thanksgiving night are able to have more Christmas presents for their families by being able to take advantage of extreme sales. It could be that new Thanksgiving traditions are born, so who is to say that it even takes away from families? It just might give them something to look forward to doing together every year. And, this is retail, and anyone that is working in retail, applied for that job knowing that it was in retail. Retail needs shoppers to stay in business, so it stays open when the shoppers want to shop, and there is not a person that doesn’t know that when applying. Plus, I’m sure that schedule and holidays came up during the hiring process. And, if those people can’t find other kinds of jobs, then I’m betting those are the same people who I mentioned above that are glad to get the hours. But, let’s say that employer is greedy and does just want to make money on Thanksgiving. Who can blame a business for wanting to do business? They are in business to do business and have to do business when there is business. My father owned a seasonal business when I was growing up, or it was seasonal those days. It was a moving company and in general did most of its business from May to August with a slight bump around the New Year. Yesterday, while cleaning out closets, I found a telegraph from Western Union in Virginia that was from my dad. He sent it to me while he was on the road in May 1987 and it was delivered to me at school. “Sorry to miss your high school graduation ceremonies. Will be home soon. I love you. Dad.” When business is there to get, a company has to get it because it cannot know the lean times that may lie ahead. And, here’s another update for anyone that was confused or disgruntled about stores opening up during Thanksgiving – You don’t have to go. Why does it matter if they are open or closed, don’t go. Are you worried that you won’t get the deal on something someone else got? So, what. Most arguments against retailers being open are based on the opinion that spending time with family (assuming that a retailer’s store hours somehow directly detracts from family time) is more important than the economical consumption of goods. True, so why does it matter if someone else got a better deal on something. It doesn’t, so either ignore the fact that stores are open, or go shopping and get the deal. But, unless the hours of a store are somehow doing harm to people without them being able to prevent it, then let it go and don’t go. I saw where a Pizza Hut guy got fired for not opening up on Thanksgiving. I don’t know a lot, but I would think that would be something you’d run by the higher-ups. Again, this is a job he knew he was applying for, has worked at long enough to be a manager, so he either wants the store to succeed so that he has a job – which in this case meant it was open on Thanksgiving evening – or he needs to find another job that can appreciate his passive nature or give him the vacation days he wants. I just don’t understand so many people getting worked up over whether a store is open or closed. So, go if you want and need to, or don’t go and don’t’ worry about what someone else is doing. Keep your eyes on your own paper.
Love all the sweet, Halmark traditions, but here's what we do: We go to Cracker Barrel and eat, then pick out our Christmas tree at Lowe's. We do like to get a live tree, but not because it's more authentic an traditional or anything, it's because we don't have anywhere to store an artificial tree without cramming it in the attic storage. Here Eli is tired of standing, so he opts for the basket in the buggy that Caleb always wants to ride in, but never does.

We are swamped with all good things at home mostly. Eli and I (and Caleb) leave for Memphis on Tuesday for what we hope is his last 3-month check up. He will move to 6th month checks if all is well this go around. And, Tuesday is also his birthday! Eli turns 9, and I just can’t believe it for so many reasons. There really is no affective combination of words to truly express how thankful I am right now. It runs so deep, I just can’t reach down far enough to express it. We are celebrating with a Super Hero day at school on Monday for his birthday and just to create good vibes as we head West. He is collecting the single pack Hot Wheels cars to donate to St. Jude this go.
We are collecting Hot Wheels for St. Jude for Eli's Birthday. If you are local, you can drop them at the Grasshopper downtown,or if you go to Eli's school, bring them Monday, or if you to go church with us, bring them Sunday.
We started on the growth hormone and so far so good. He doesn’t like it, but in his usual manner he doesn’t flinch. He is really starting to struggle in school and it is so hard to discern why. When we get back from Memphis, I am going to see if I can find a retired teacher that might want to donate time to help Eli with Math and English, and help him begin to understand how to learn and apply. He loves going to school though because he loves his friends and teachers, so I’ve at least got that going for us. I also really, really want to start him on Piano lessons because I think music will really stimulate his brain. He is not playing any sports right now, and won’t ever, I guess. I have enrolled him in a fitness class at the Rec Center. We’ve only gone once and he hates it because he actually had to move around, but it is so good for him and the teacher is wonderful. It’s basically a P.E. class. He is still not eating well, as far as not eating much while he is at school, and he is still not getting as much juice in as we would like. As the scan approaches, I always look for the tiniest of signs that something is not right, and he has been tired a lot lately. I’m hoping that is the growth hormone working.
Getting his first GH shot. Please, say a prayer that it works.
In other news: My first half-marathon is the Saturday that we are in Memphis. And, I won’t say any more about that! My stress level is out the roof right now with the Eli’s school struggles, the race coming, the scans coming, worries about my mom whose dementia has taken a slight downturn, getting ready for Eli’s birthday, preparing Christmas for all the kids, and trying to prepare our house for the market by the first of the year. I am doing the Two-Step-Forward-one back dance with that. I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it before, but we are planning to try to sell our house. It is not something we want to do; we built this house to stay in it and we adore our neighborhood. When the kids are out of the house and thought of home, this is where I pictured them picturing. Not that it’s all “that”, but it was important to me 10+ years ago when we discussed the finished portrait of our family that our children have a physical home that they grew up in and knew as home. I wanted a place that as they grew would become to them a physical retreat and haven. So, experience adjustments to priorities and perspectives… and an unplanned fourth kid can really pop a kink. With braces coming, clothes getting bigger, groceries – organic groceries – getting bigger, a family car with 260,000 miles on it and teenage drivers on the horizon, no real family vacations (including the travesty that we have never been to Disney and Hg is 13), and no fence for a dog that they all think they must have (which I would like for them to have, too), and tuition for a Christian education that we are committed to providing (with the added bonus that everyone there is like family and we feel like Eli is loved there and we would be broken-hearted to leave it): all of that waiting for us, hanging over us, so something had to give. We’ve trimmed the daily fat mostly already, and, me getting a job just didn’t seem to be the right answer for several reasons. If I could drive over to Huntsville and be some kind of a specialty surgeon making millions, then sure it would help, but a shift at Lowe’s is going to be more disruptive and cause more grief to work around for our family needs than it would be financially helpful. We didn’t want to pull the kids from school, so the house is all that is left as something that could affect a chunk of the month. It may not sell (which won't break my heart, except that it will break my heart to have to get a job away from the kids), and then we will have to revisit the job thing for me. I told Vic that I would love to go somewhere every day and talk to adults that liked me and liked what I did and told me “good job,” but I don’t think that is the best thing for our family right now with some of the kids still little. I am hoping something part-time and flexible is going to come through at the first of January, but I can’t count on it yet, so we are going to try to adjust our material blessings a bit and pursue getting the house out there.
The boys' room.
So, if you know of anybody looking for a 3k-square-foot, 5-bdrm house with attention to detail and in a great neighborhood in Athens, let me know. We have been trying to get it ready since the end of September (and it is only recently that I am able to talk about it without getting emotional), and all of that prep, plus just the regular housework that revolves around having four kids is just dauntingly stressful. But, I think so much about Abraham these days and his faith. God has already blessed us so much, so I trust His guidance for this change in our lives.
This is a closet that I cleaned out to sort. This is my last mess until I get outside.
Before I sign off tonight, I wanted to ask that you keep Eli in your prayers next week, and please ask that your congregation remember him. I am in awe at the power of prayer and its effectiveness. We appreciate your effort to continue to present him to our Creator. Please, remember, also Britney Murrell and her family as they try to find out at Vandy what has compromised her health. Also, the mother of a friend has had a massive stroke and is not doing well. She was actually a roommate of my aunt’s when they were at David Lipscomb back in the 40’s, probably, and is the wife of a former elder that was at Auburn church of Christ where I attended when I was in college.
The boys burying Abbey in what little leaves we do get.
Today, Saturday, we are celebrating Eli’s birthday here at home, as I said, and I am just amazed by him every day. I would have never imagined, never would have dared to imagine that we would be celebrating his 9th birthday with him in the condition that he is in. He is beautiful and we are blessed beyond anything that I would want any of you to understand. Also, today, there’s a little something going on that we like to call “The game,” yes, there is only one game tomorrow. It is easily the most intense meeting in college football that surpasses rivalry. And, this year “The game” will make history one way or another. So, War Eagle, everyone, and to everyone a Good Night!
The girls in their little Auburn dresses and hairbows. This is the first time we took them to Auburn. Hg is not quite 3,and Abbey is about 10 months.

This is the last time we've been to Auburn. Caleb was about 1.5, Eli would be 4.5, the girls turning 9 and 7.

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