It’s time for Project 52, Week 35, Part 7!
35 weeks ago, on my 52nd birthday, I began Project 52. Since there are 52 weeks in a year, each week I’m taking one year of my life and blogging about it. This week, I’m covering the year I was 35 — June 14, 1999, to June 14, 2000.
So far, Week 35 has had lots to tell about! It took four posts to talk about our England vacation, then another to get through the rest of the summer and both my kids in school, and then my trip back to America for my friend Darlene’s wedding.
First, some adorable pictures of my kids on Halloween. Josh’s Harry Potter costume was easy – my Master’s gown plus one of my knitting needles, and a lightning scar. Though, believe it or not, 1999 was early enough that not many people recognized Harry Potter. Timmy had a purchased Anakin Skywalker outfit, though, which was a lot easier for folks to identify.
We’d trick-or-treat on base (because it’s not a German tradition. Sometimes some German kids would come to our door, and they didn’t know what to say, but would say, “Happy Halloween!”), and apparently we stopped at the library to say Hello to Elfriede. So here they are at the library.
And here’s my dear Elfriede! (I’m sure she volunteered to work the late shift that day.)
We ran into the Ciufo family (another band family) while trick-or-treating.
I’m reading some interesting things in my journals that don’t really have pictures to go with them. So I’m going to write about some of them and intersperse pictures of our home in Gundersweiler.
This was when I made the Access data base we used at the library for checking out books! I enjoyed that project tremendously. Before this, to check out books, customers had to write their name and address and phone number on a card, and then the title, author and call number of every single book they checked out! It was ridiculous!
So, first, I made an Access data base to print overdue notices. Because as it was, they had been handwriting the book information onto pre-printed notices. And first checking the shelves from the cards — with the books not in order.
I wanted to expand the data base to do check-outs, but they had purchased a new computer system already, or were planning to purchase it, or something.
Here’s what I say in my journal:
I get to start writing a Computer System for the Library! They keep stringing us along — It sounds like it will be months before our system from the contract is up and running.
So Jeff is letting me write a new system for the short-term using Access. I’m having some difficulty — It’s almost just like Overdues, only I want to keep Book information in another data set.
It’s going to be fun exploring Access until I get it to work! The hard part is that I want to spend extra time on it. I do like programming!
Even writing that much has got me thinking about it!
I will add that we used my system for a full year before we got the purchased system. We only had to enter a customer’s information the first time they used the library, and we only had to enter a book’s information the first time it was checked out.
Over the next year, I added a component to track our McNaughton rental books. And then I added ISBNs – which we ended up using to reconcile the new system by loading book information from OCLC. They had scanned our shelflist before I started working in the library — and it was off by thousands of books by the time we got the Horizon system. My data base came to the rescue and made reconciling easy. Well, easy with the help of the SQL program I wrote. (And I learned both Access and SQL and OCLC for the project. So much fun!)
I also spent a lot of time stewing about trying to enable Josh to go ahead in Math and take Pre-algebra in 6th grade. (6th and 7th grade math are for reinforcing skills that Josh already had.) At first, math teachers condescendingly told me that Josh needed to learn to organize their locker and notebook first. But why should Josh have to sit through a class teaching things they already knew just because they had limited organizational skills?
Fortunately, the school had a new teacher for the Talented and Gifted program that year. She advocated for Josh, who ended up going to Dr. Davis’s room for math. I was in charge of making assignments and grading homework.
Here’s what I wrote about their conferences in November:
So — I should write about the boys’ conferences. Timmy is fitting in beautifully in Kindergarten. For the first 3 weeks, he didn’t talk or participate. But once he got used to everyone, he now joins in eagerly. His teacher says he’s adjusting beautifully.
I loved seeing his work. On some pictures, he’d written about the picture — “i LiC GO TRK TRTN” meant “I like going trick-or-treating.” I was amazed — I had no idea that he was interested in trying to write.
Ms. Hawkins said that there are quite a few kids this year who know all their letters well — so she’s going to work with this small group on learning sight-words and such.
Josh’s conferences were not as wholly positive. His teachers agree that he’s smart, but he’s missing lots of work — and already for this semester, too. We went to his locker and found a mountain of papers in a heap. We discovered some of the missing homework — so he spent all day Saturday in the Library working on homework.
The good news with Josh is that he really gets to go to Dr. Davis’s room for Independent Study in Math — and he says that he likes Math homework.
Less cheery writing shows that I was getting lots more headaches again. So quitting Inderal, while stopping the drug-induced lupus — was bad for my headaches. I count 22 headache days written down in July, August, September, and October. So it would get worse. I was steeling myself to start working with a doctor to find a new preventative. That’s hard to do because when you have a headache, you don’t feel like messing with it, but when you don’t, you hope that you don’t actually need it. And they were pretty clearly related to hormonal fluctuations, too.
Something that shakes me more is seeing seeds of our marriage problems to come. This time, I can’t chalk it up to post-partum depression. On November 5, I wrote:
I’m thrown by that talk I had with Steve. He told me he’s not even sure that he’s a Christian, and my world was shaken. Of all the things I never expected to be, it’s someone with an unsaved spouse.
And three days later, I wrote:
Today I’m really stewing about Steve and about our marriage. I still feel betrayed that for years he hasn’t even felt he was a Christian, and he hid it from me all this time.
Sondy, Sondy, remember? Steve did tell you in Illinois that he “wasn’t sure” he was a Christian. You just assumed he’d seen the light. In fact, when your view of God was revolutionized by George MacDonald’s writings, and you came to believe that everyone will be saved (eventually), you thought that explaining all that to Steve would of course set his doubts to rest.
Looking at it now, I don’t think I listened to Steve. I would complain that he didn’t tell me what he was going through, but it looks like he did tell me some things, and if I didn’t understand, I dismissed it. I was just so darn optimistic. If I was upset with Steve, I’d talk it through with God in my quiet time notebook, and I’d remind myself that I do love Steve. In this section, I say, “Lord, I want to love my husband. I do. I promised to stand by him for better or for worse.” So somehow, I thought that made everything okay — not realizing that if he was going through some of the same doubts about us, he might not be bringing it around to remembering how much he loves me.
If we had gone to marriage counseling back then, if I had started reading books on marriage then, I wonder if it would have helped?
Chicken Night was also an issue. Steve liked to have people over. And since I balked at cooking frequently for guests, we started doing Chicken Night. He would get a rotisserie chicken from a place in Winnweiler. And we’d have a bunch of friends over. We did this every week.
Now, this was super fun! We had a great time! But — every week? It meant I really did have to do some cleaning every week. And I was working late one night a week, and taking the kids to AWANA one night a week, and for awhile taking a German class with Josh once a week — and always looking for time to write.
Here’s what I said in that same journal post:
In theory, I like chicken night. But Steve doesn’t consult me in the slightest as to whether it should happen or who he should invite. He had chicken night on the very day I got back from America — when I desperately wanted to be in bed. Then, last week when I’d been working for 7 days in a row and really didn’t want to.
Steve felt like since he took care of the food, there wasn’t anything for me to do, so he could plan it himself. When I finally protested, eventually we quit doing Chicken Night altogether. Which wasn’t what I wanted at all! I just wanted it not to have to be every single week….
But Snow came in November that year, on the 17th, the 19th, the 20th, and the 22nd. That always brightens things up!
And we got in two more castles in 1999. On Sunday, November 28, we visited two castles.
First, Castle #87, Ruine Eremitage, which I don’t seem to have photographed. Then Castle #88, Hardenburg. (You’ll want to remember that it gets dark early in Germany in November.)
I like the Christmas tree!
We had a big gathering for Steve’s 35th birthday on November 30th. For this gathering I was fully on board! (And I really enjoyed that we got together with so many friends in our beautiful home. And a Birthday is a Special Occasion.)
And this picture’s special. Remember how we gave Josh’s 5th grade teacher Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone? Well, he read it to his next 5th grade class. And that was about the time that certain parents started having a fuss because it contained fantasy witchcraft. So Mr. Martin’s class advertised their love of Harry Potter with signs in the windows saying: This CLASS LOVES HARRY POTTER. It made me super happy to see it. And this was about the time that Mr. Martin told me it was the best teacher gift he’d ever been given.
So — that brings us right up to Christmas. I’m not sure if I’ll get more posted tonight, so Year 35 may have to spill into Week 36. And Christmas meant a trip back to America….