Wednesday, August 1, 2012


Dearest Friends,

In mid-January John got word that there were a couple of positions in the States that might be a good match for him. Basically, he was putting me on alert. We had no way of knowing if or when either of these would actually materialize, how much notice we would get if one did, or even if we were really ready to leave yet. However, we did know that out of the six kids in Lexie's class, the only two girls (sisters) were definitely headed back to the states, the oldest boy was graduating, and her friend Christopher was probably heading off to boarding school. That would leave her and one other boy. We didn't think that was an environment she could thrive in, and knew we didn't have the guts to send her off to boarding school, so home seemed like the only other option. We decided we'd best be prepared. Once again I set myself the task of paring down our belongings, one room at a time, trying to finish up all my quilting projects so I could pack that stuff away, and taking the ever-dreaded inventory of everything we owned.

As far as school went, there was another teacher appreciation luncheon to plan and host, another play for the younger kids to help with, and scariest of all, The Science Fair. Lex had really blossomed under her fifth grade teacher Mr. Jacoby, who had done wonders for both her confidence and her concentration. She was doing better than we ever thought possible. Still, we couldn't help but be a tad nervous when, in late February, her science teacher (also the school principal) called an assembly for his older science students and their parents. Apparently, this was to be like no other science fair she had ever participated in -- a two month long project, with the first assignment (a typed outline of her problem, problem statement, hypothesis, materials, procedure, variable, control group, time line, dates of completion for each step and data collection sheet) due just four or five days later. Could she stay focused for that many weeks? Only time would tell.

One day our friend Jodi called to tell us that her hubby Steve and our buddy Dan were rigging up a little slip 'n slide thingy for the kids in the field behind their house, and we should bring the kids over to play on it the following Sunday afternoon. It never occurred to us to don our own swimsuits. We should have known that with those two engineers involved, and a bevy of willing volunteers to assist them (every driver and gardener in the neighborhood, I suspect) it would end up being waaaay more than "a little slip 'n slide thingy." Next thing I knew, I was headed down it, fully clothed!

When John's turn came, he made the mistake of grabbing a small donut-shaped tube, and tried to slide down sitting up. Because he was much larger than the kids, he gained momentum fast, and when he hit the mound at the end, instead of slowing him down as intended, it sent him airborne. I can see it all now as if it were a slo-mo replay. John is flying through the air in one direction, the float in another. We have no idea when he will land, where he will land, or how hard the landing will be. A pretty good description, now that I think about it, for our emotional state at the time, and all the questions we had regarding the move home. As it turns out, the answer in both cases was "pretty damn hard!"

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