Sounds like the start of a really bad joke…it’s not. Hang onto your hat, and I’ll tell you.
Whew! It has been awhile since I posted. I know that bloggers should be posting weekly, but life gets in the way. We recently finished a crazy project. We wrote an application for a government grant for our farm. If you’ve never done it before, it is different. I am an English major and love to write, and this was a type of writing totally new to me.
Kind of like dating…alright, let me digress…I’ve been told I have ADD tendencies…when you’re dating, you’re getting to know a person that you like. And if you both have the same intensity of chemical attraction, it’s quite a roller coaster ride…or a Corvette ride.
Well, that happened to my now husband Rich and me. Remember how we met? At my church’s College and Career group in San Antonio, while he was going through P.I.T. (Pilot Instructor Training) at Randolph AFB. I thought he was fun and cute. On our third or fourth date, he was “babysitting” his friend Ed’s Corvette (thanks, Ed!). When he pulled up in front of my house to pick me up, I was so amazed. This was my dream car! After coming to the door and assuring my mom that he would take good care of me, we were off to spend a day in the Texas Hill Country. Behind the Corvette, he was pulling his boat (if you have a USAFA cadet, when he or she is a 2 Degree, or Junior, he will get to take out a loan. Most cadets buy a car at this point. My husband went in with a classmate of his and bought a ski boat!). He planned to take me out on his boat and have a romantic lunch on the lake.
I got in the car and immediately felt like I was sitting on the road, it was so low. A true gentleman, Rich shut the heavy Corvette door. Right after that, he doubled over, holding his thumb and grimacing. I actually thought he was joking around; even at this early point in our relationship, I knew he liked to play pranks and be funny.
He got in the car and didn’t complain about his hand. We went on and had a lovely day. We had a BBQ lunch on his boat using his Hibachi grill (there’s an infamous story from his Academy days about it; maybe I’ll tell you later), and then stopped at various antique shops.
The sun was setting when he turned to me and admitted that his thumb was bruised and bleeding and in extreme pain and I would need to take him to the Emergency Room to have them puncture it and relieve the pressure.
I was more than willing to help him, but was quite nervous. I was going to get to drive my dream car, but I had to be careful, since it belonged to a friend and I needed to hurry, since my boyfriend was in pain.
I drove as quickly as I could. Once there, we walked to the Emergency Room. I stood outside the door but could see Rich, the doctors, and his staff through the window. However, I am very squeamish when it comes to blood, and could not keep looking when the doctor started the treatment.
While this was a little bit traumatic, sharing this event together actually brought us closer together. He couldn’t fly for awhile due to his injury, and of course all his buddies at P.I.T. joked that he did it on purpose in order to be in San Antonio longer! I was not happy he got hurt, but I was thankful we got to be together a little longer!
But wait, how does all this relate to writing a government grant? Well, let me see now…when you first meet someone and are attracted, there’s an excitement, right? You want to spend all your time with them, and you’re even sad when you can’t be with them. As Rich and I spent more and more time together, we realized we truly loved each other. This outing took us to a deeper level in our relationship, as I had to reach out of myself and help Rich.
So, writing a grant. I have done a lot of writing throughout my life. I did journalistic writing in high school and college. I wrote fiction from first grade on. I love to be flowery and verbose when I write. I could not do that with the grant. It was very technical and specific. It seemed like I was being asked the same questions over and over in different sections.
It wasn’t too hard, but it was challenging to have to be detailed and specific and not verbose! I had to reach out of myself to write in this different style. Kind of like in a relationship where you have to understand another person who you like, but they are different from you. You have to learn to give and take, to compromise. I had to compromise my verbosity in order to get my point across in the manner that the government agency would understand.
We have to wait quite a few months until we know if we will get any money or not. It seems like a long shot! Our chances of getting it are slim, but it was still a worthwhile venture, and I learned something new about myself and my writing, and about applying for a grant. When I first thought about doing it, it seemed like some mysterious, difficult thing that I would have to go and take a class on, or pay someone else to do (a lot of people do that!). But then, in true MacKeen fashion, we just jumped in and did it! Did I ever tell you about the time we raced in a 340-mile kayak race with little training? Well, that’s a different story for another time.
You may be feeling the same way about a loved one who has started on the journey of attending a military academy, or enlisting in the military. It’s scary and mysterious, and you don’t know much about it. Well, that’s part of the mystique and romance of it. Just be willing to listen to your loved one, and learn all you can about what they’re going through. And be comforted that this experience will help you all grow.