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Crap, crap and more crap.

When crap falls, it does so in heaps. That about sums up this month for the Hendrys.


 A few weeks ago, Mark’s mother fell while climbing into bed. Though a family member visits her everyday, Diane had just left, so no one discovered her until 22 hours later. She had bruises and rug burns all over her legs from trying to drag herself to a phone. She was dehydrated and confused.


We took her to a hospital and learned she’d had a heart attack and in fact, had experienced several over the course of the previous week. Her systems were shutting down and there was fluid in her lungs. We were told she would probably be gone within a few days, so we put a halt on life so the kids could spend time with her. We rallied together to share our last moments while we all wrestled with the painful inevitable. We were losing Mom. Crap.


Then, she started to complain and get a bit belligerent, and while this sounds horrible, we thought, Humm…… (Annoying was “normal”) She started getting demanding and whinny, and we couldn’t help but think, hey, this is more like the mother we know. Surprising the medical personal and everyone else, she made a miraculous recovery the next day.


 This is a very good thing, but it also presents a whole new set of problems because she can no longer live alone. So we have to figure out what to do with her now. Our home is not conducive to an elderly guest because of the huge log stairs, the rough gravel roads etc… Dianne’s home is very small, and she just had her parents living there while their father had cancer. Cohabitation did not prove successful in regards to family harmony. We can build an addition to Dianne’s home, or build a mother-in-law suite onto the new home we are going to build for ourselves – but those solutions take time…. What do we do in the meantime?  It’s simply a big mid life mess – the kind people our age deal with all the time, but that doesn’t make it any less stressful. Crap.


 Meanwhile, we had to zip down to Florida to do our yearly accounting – we canceled the appointment when Mark’s mother took ill, but we had to go before too much time passed. It’d be harder to go with her out of the hospital and we can’t proceed with our new business without finding out where we stand after wrapping up the past so we just packed up and drove down. We felt rather guilty and frustrated leaving, but the business of life does march onward. The fiscal news we received after that meeting was horrible on top of all else. Whatyagonnado? Crap.


 Meanwhile, Dianne’s beloved dashound got sick and became paralyzed from the waist down from, of all things, gorging on a box of chocolates. After many consultations with vets, visits to an animal acupuncturist and attempts at other remedies, she has no course but to accept this dog will never be regular again. So, she’s decided to put him down. He is a cheerful, funny fellow still dragging himself around energetically, but with zero control his bladder, you can imagine what a problem this has become. Still, he seems like the same fun loving dog that Dianne has loved relentlessly for years, so the decision is heart wrenching.


I offered to take him to the vet for the procedure because I know how difficult it will be for her. It won’t be fun, let me tell you. So, in an hour, I’ll pick up Buddy and stroke his little head as he goes to sleep for all time. It will be sad, but he deserves a familiar face with him and I love animals (and Dianne) enough to endure the emotional discomfort to help make this bad situation a little easier on everyone involved. Still, it’s more crap.


 Denver generously offered to feed my animals while we took our three day stint to Florida (Two driving days, one day to do business). Don’t ya know she sprained her ankle the moment we were pulling away, so she has had to hobble around on crutches to care for my creatures. I felt badly about that – yet grateful. And she has a new job which is now threatened and this is a detriment to her life plans. I have to see what I can do for her now too. Crap.


 Meanwhile, an associate from Singapore has been writing me to pick my brain about setting up a children’s dance program in Asia. We are advising him, which demands some  careful consideration because of cultural differences and the uniquely Asian competitive environment. We will probably be flying out there this summer to help train his staff and help set up his new business – Kiddance in Asia. We just have to find a time we will be free to come, and that is hard when you are opening a new business yourself.


I’ve been rooting through boxes and boxes of Kiddance material to gather a few things for him. I’m actually surprised as I see just how much work and research was involved with designing this program. With distance now, I see now how obsessive I was about putting together a kick butt children’s youth dance program. I have over eight boxes of syllabuses and children dance education books and the instructional material from several franchises (Gymboree, Kindermusik, etc…) all of which I studied in my commitment to design a powerful program. Mark and I ran FLEX together and built Kiddance as a team, but I was the one who was obsessive over the children’s dance division. All this material is packed in boxes in my attic like some shrine to dance. And I have boxes and boxes of papers representing classes I planned, and worksheets I designed, and ideas I tried but didn’t follow through with due to one discouraging element or another. It is amazing. I certainly took this element of FLEX seriously. I even have boxes and boxes of tangible teaching materials I somehow couldn’t bare to let go when we sold the school – like rubber skeletons used to teach kids anatomy – I never even unpacked these materials and introduced them to the teachers because the business sold so fast. I wasn’t planning to let go so soon. I don’t know why I kept it all – just that it was so hard to come by expensive materials in those years when we struggled and had so little resources to work with, and so much of this stuff was coveted by me in my frenzy to add more and better things to the program, that it all seems ultimately valuable even now. I never got around to adding this stuff to the syllabus, so the materials were of no use to the new owners – but they are certainly of no use here they are in my attic. A shame.


The funny thing is, I suddenly have shelves of books on coffee and the history of tea. I’ve been doing reasearch on high teas and tea ettiquette etc.. as I plan events and ideas to make the coffee shop so much more than a coffee shop, and I can see I am transfering my obsession to expand the envelope to the new business. Shoot me now, please. Mark certainly wants to.


 Anyway, I will be proud to see all our former work be put to good use somewhere – even if it is half a world away. The teacher (a man with a wealth of experience in professional dance and a great business mind)  keeps wanting to talk about financial matters, wanting to know how we can work out compensation for Mark and I for passing on our work and expertise. Frankly, we want to just hand him the ball and let him run with it. We don’t want anything but to know someone cares about the work, will follow our advice without a snide attitude or being angry that we won’t give more that we are comfortable giving, and we want someone to be appreciative and respectful of our help. The truth is, we have retired from dance and we don’t want to get involved again. I don’t want to reopen those boxes and start doing research and dwelling on creative dance exercises while I go about my days. I want to sleep at night and not be thinking about dance (I want to think about coffee and writing and other things). I am ready to pass that mantle on to someone else. But I sure will be proud to help out and share what we learned along the way, because in the end, I do love dance and kids and the people who commit their life to those two things. And if KIDDANCE is successful in Asia, that is a way of validating our former life’s work. That alone is a reward. We got the model down pat for a strong dance program that can make enough money to make the ongoing work and sacrifice worthwhile.That is rare in the dance biz.


So, setting up KIDDANCE in Singapore is our pet project now. For the love of it, not for compensation or because we want to build another dance empire. Mark is willing to help, but he has reservations because he has turned his sights to our new life already, and he is not one to look back. I obviously can’t resist keeping one toe in the water of dance.


 But the idea of visiting Singapore and considering the challenges of dance in a different enviornment does keep life interesting.I do love a challenge.


So I guess all of life is not filled with crap.
They are putting in a pump so I’ll have water at the barn this week. Yeah.
I have my class planned to teach at the Blue Ridge Writers Conference at the end of this month and it looks good. Yeah.
Two fine agents have my book sitting on their desk right now, so they’re the ones ignoring it instead of me. Yeah.
The daffodils are blooming in Georgia. Yeah.
My two female angora bunnies are both pregnant and building a nest. In three weeks I’ll be the proud owner of many more bunnies than I have time to groom. Yeah… kindof. And my llama is getting fat too.  Babies abound.
In Florda I realized how much I miss running, I’m starting a fitness plan today, determined to get back on track and out on the road.  Past due.
I have a cellar full of so much homemade wine that if crap continues to heap around my feet I can at least be assured a cup of relief at the end of the day. Yeah.


Now, I am off to handle the dog. You can bet I have a bottle of wine chill’in for this one…… Sigh.

About Ginny East Shaddock

Director of Heartwood Retreat Center, Ginny is also a writer. This is her personal blog with essay form writing about life and reflection. My entries are often lengthy and random, because I'm not here to promote or sell anything. I'm not expecting followers - just find this format a good place to think with the pen.

2 responses »

  1. Hi Ginny, Sorry about your month, it seems like everything has gone wrong! We missed you this week. Patty, Christine, and I were looking forward to hearing about your Georgia adventures… and drinking homemade wine or coffee (for those non drinkers). It looks like we’ll need to make a road trip to visit you!! I wonder how you say Kiddance in Chinese??? How exciting to be a hero in Singapore!! What a challenging translation that will be to inspire dance creativity… sounds right up your alley!! If you need an assistant to travel with you like the good ole days… count me in!! I wonder what type of food you’d make me eat (remember my first Chinese experience in NYC)… hahaha!! Miss you!! Jill

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    At the Heart of Ginny: Crap, crap and more crap.

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