Well, I just moved the sheets from the brown room over to the dryer and stuck in a load of towels to wash as I write this.
When we built our retirement home, I found out Gerald truly wanted an underground house. I knew he was curious about them. I knew he sent off for information. Lots of it. We once went to see a partially built one here in our area that somehow Gerald had a connection with. We walked inside it (with owner’s permission), but we really did not see it after completion although I wanted to. (It either was never finished or was sold or something.) We also toured one, which was beautifully furnished and had been lived in for several years—built by the company Gerald wanted to use. It was a beautiful home. Since I kept saying I didn’t think I could sleep well with all that concrete and dirt over my head, I did not take any of this seriously.
A farmer’s wife like many ministers’ wives or military wives, etc., often does not get to choose her own home. You take whatever exists on the farm you are renting or buying. I like used houses, so that did not bother me. I was somewhat shocked when our first landlady Unile Bozarth, whom I loved and admired, casually said one time (nearly 50 years ago) that any woman worth her salt wanted a new house.
I had never considered wanting a new house until she said that. After I considered it, I came to the conclusion that I still loved old houses best. So I enjoyed living in the four houses on four different farms early in Gerald’s career. Nevertheless, when it came time to build a retirement home on the little lake Gerald had built, I did feel I should have equal say in what was built since I had never been able to choose before. When I woke up to the fact that Gerald was planning on an underground house, I suddenly caught on that he had not heard my repeated negative comments as I tried to be interested and politely appreciative of the homes we visited. Then I knew I had a problem.
The first solution was voicing my objections strongly enough that he heard me. Of course, it hurt his feelings since he thought underground houses were the way to go and such a house was already completed when he imagined the future. After all, he had never been able to choose a house either in all these years of marriage. (He did not say that, but I knew it. And he had worked much harder than I had during our years together.) I felt bad I had pulled the rug out from under his dreams. Still I did not want all that dirt on my head.
We were in Michigan visiting our youngest daughter’s family when Gerald saw a plan in the Sunday paper he liked. We both mulled it over, and he sent off for the inexpensive plans the paper offered. A couple of years later when we actually built and changed the plans considerably to fit our needs and our building spot on the lake, we had worked out a compromise we both liked.
The walk-out downstairs has three back rooms underground, but the upstairs has a regular roof over our head. (Yes, we had to have it repaired after the derecho, and I’m certain an underground house would not have had that problem. You know, of course, who the person was who handled the insurance people and the roofing contractors. I’m no good at that sort of thing.) Nevertheless, we have a compromise house—partly underground and beautifully above ground. We both like it.
Back to the brown room. It is the underground bedroom. With our grandchildren in mind, at first I was going to call the two downstairs bedrooms the boys’ room and the girls’ room. I decided that was a bad idea in case that sleeping arrangement needed to be changed, so they became the brown room and the yellow room. It turns out everyone loves to sleep in the brown room. With no windows, it provides the best sleeping in the house. Dark and cozy. Leslie like most college students is sleep deprived, and she especially likes to sleep there. I like knowing she is catching up on rest.
Because the yellow room has only a standard bed while the brown room has a queen-size bed, I had reserved it for Gerald’s sister and niece and baby, whom Gerald thought would spend Friday night here before going on to her brother’s house for her reunion. (The yellow room was reserved for Vickie and Geri Ann as they drove to Aurora—but those plans changed too. ) So the grandkids started filling up the couches although we didn’t have to go to air mattresses as we sometimes do.
When Ernestine and Leah arrived Friday afternoon, they decided they would be better off to go on to the Mississippi bottoms Friday night and wake up the next morning down there to go on to her afternoon/evening reunion, I told Les the brown room was hers. Now the sheets are drying to be put back on in the morning for our Wyoming guests.
We were disappointed that Ernestine and Leah missed seeing the Eilers who were shopping Friday afternoon, but since they were planning on having Easter dinner with us, no one was too concerned. We thought Jeannie and family would have a good visit today with her Aunt Ernie, Leah, and baby Emmy. Gerald took them down to Garry and Ginger’s farm—the home place where Ernestine was born and grew up, and we looked forward to today.
However, during the night, Ernestine became sick from all the weariness of travel and reunion with no rest. (The youngest sibling in Gerald’s family, Ernestine has a stroke a couple of years ago—but did remarkably well going back to work in about a month and not showing any observable after effects. But she knows to pace herself and get adequate rest—something you cannot always do when traveling and unable to completely manage your own agenda.) They had to postpone their visit till tomorrow.
The biggest disappointment for me was that Jeannie, who lives so far away and had to leave this evening, was going to get to visit her aunt and cousin, and she didn’t get to do so. Katherine had hoped to see them Friday night when David brought them out, but she enjoyed more visiting time with Jeannie since Ernestine was gone already. Katherine will be able to do so tomorrow or Tuesday when Mary Ellen is hoping to get to come down after they return from Florida. Gerry sent Aunt Ernie a hug by Internet that I’ll give her tomorrow.
Between cell phones and Facebook, families can keep in constant contact without too much time and expense. On holidays, we would all like to be together, but that is not feasible, so we enjoy the modern substitutes. We actually get more visiting done when there is just one family here, so we especially enjoyed Jeannie and Rick and their kids’ visit.
Saturday night was spent listening to Butler University beat Michigan State. If you want to see my quiet dignified son-in-law Rick vicariously coaching a ball team, visit Leslie Eiler’s Facebook video of the event. Willie Veasley had been one of Rick’s math students at Freeport High School. Leslie had Spanish with him. Jeannie remembered when he broke records while playing basketball at Freeport. All Freeport is very excited about this tournament.
When I explained that I had planned to be for Michigan because of Katherine McWilliams’ blog about how much it meant to Michigan to be in the Big Four with all the mood-depressing unemployment up there, Jeannie reminded me that Freeport had lost a lot of jobs also for several years now—and Willie Veasley was lifting their town’s spirits. So I caved and cheered for Willie. Sam, who was out to the farm to stay with his cousins, remained loyal to Michigan, and I was proud of his fortitude.
Actually, I missed the middle of the game because Gerald came in to announce that our granddaughter Erin was helping with the radio broadcast of Texas A&M softball team which was playing Nebraska up at Lincoln. So I rushed to his office and computer to see game tracker but to hear Erin’s sweet voice and splendid comments. When she went off the air, I hurried back to see Butler win and the Eilers wildly celebrate. If Butler wins tomorrow night, I am not sure I could stand the noise to watch it with the Eilers. But I will be pulling for Willie Veasley.
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