Thursday, June 27, 2013

#99 He Laughs At Me

My husband has never been one to sugar coat things or to ever tell me what I want to hear when it conflicts with reality.

In other words he isn't an enabler.  He doesn't allow me to spit nonsense and just nod along with whatever I say.

In other words, he challenges me.  He plays devil's advocate.  He doesn't allow me to soothe myself into a false conception of the world around me.

Now that I've said all that nonsense, it's time for me to tell a short story.

A few Fridays ago....actually, exactly a few Fridays ago,a few being was my last day of school.  That night was also my brother and soon-to-be-sister-in-law's wedding shower.  In essence, my day was a twister of events that didn't give me a single chance to catch my breath.

My other sister-in-law, Kristina, and I planned to meet at my house before the shower to have a quick bite and then head out to pick up my grandmother and her sister on our way to the shower.

Oh, I forgot to mention, it was raining.  The morning was bitterly cold and wet for a summer day, which made it lots of fun for our last day of school, which, did I mention, was also our field day?  Good thing kids, and teachers for that matter, are resilient.  They made the best of a wet situation and still managed to have lots of fun.

The rain only increased in aggressiveness as the day went on and by the time Kristina was at my house the sky was very very angry, or sad, or maybe both.  But I'm going with that it was mostly sad, because the amount of rain that was falling was so much that I could have set up a privacy screen and showered in it.

We planned to drive over to Columbus Farmer's Market and get the best pizza in the world: Kate and Al's.

You'd never know by looking at the building.  In fact, you'd never know by even going inside the building, but this pizza will knock your socks off and make you forget your first name.

On this particular day, the building didn't look like this, because remember, all the rain.  But I want you to look at something in this picture and keep it in mind for later on.  See those yellow poles that are placed around the picnic table as if guarding the table from going into a mad angry fit and deciding it wants to crash itself into the building?

Okay, just keep that in mind.

We pulled up on the side of the building (because there are no parking spots at this direct entrance) where there was a spot directly next to an entrance that I'm positive is a new entrance to the building.  There weren't any other spots this close, so finding this spot was a clear score for me.  In fact, I may have babbled a little to Kristina about this fact.  In the midst of my babbling I also noted that those yellow poles were all around the concrete pathway leading up to the door.  I may have also made fun of whoever put those poles there and said something like, "What do they think, that people are going to park their cars and not see the people walking in and hit them accidentally?"

The entrance was so close we decided to nix the umbrellas and make a run for the door.  Our pizza was ready so it was a quick dash back into the car and we were headed home to enjoy heaven in a box.

Before I get to the disturbing part, I just want to show you this:

Oh. My. Goodness.  I can only tell you that this is perfection.  Simply perfection.

And this, this is what this trip was all about.

Even the rain which had just started up again couldn't ruin the beautiful moment of knowing that I'd be sinking my teeth into a saucy, cheesy miracle in just minutes.

The next point I must make clear, I started to back my car out of the spot the way I would back my car out any other time in my life when there is no car in the spot directly to my right.  There is no need to back out straight and then start to turn when there is no car next to you.  So I started to turn my car a little as I began to back out.

Seconds later I heard sounds that still haunt me.  Metal on my car began to scream and screech and beg me to stop moving.  Whatever had happened, it sounded as if I had just ripped the entire right side of the front of my car apart.

I pulled forward to realize that that stupid yellow pole had stayed in place and I had just rammed my beautiful car into it.

"Do you want to get out and look at it?" Kristina asked me after I had screamed, a lot.

It was raining, and can I say, I still had this urge to get home and eat my beautiful pizza, so I said, "No, can you just tell me what you see from your side?  Is it bad?"

"Well," Kristina paused.  I knew she was trying to think of the most delicate way to tell me that it was an absolute mess.  "I see part of your car flapping up,"

"Let's go," I said and began backing out, this time the correct way.

I may or may not have burst into tears at this point.

But it doesn't end there.  Of course it doesn't.  How could it?

We got onto the highway and as soon as I began to accelerate something was lifted off of my car and flew into the air.

I let out a few shrieks, Kristina screamed, but I managed to keep driving straight.  What  can I say, I might hit poles, but I'm a steady driver.

"Do you want to go back and get it?" Kristina asked.

In my mind, that piece of metal had been sliced through by that wicked piece of yellow pole, going back for it just meant I had to see it face to face.

It also meant I had to wait longer for my pizza.

"No," I shook my head.  "No, no no,"

We got home and of course, had to look at the damage that had been caused.

I took a quick picture on my phone, and texted it to Hubby.

I may or may not have shed another tear.

Then we went inside and ate pizza.

Three and a some of four pieces later---no I'm not kidding---since Hubby had not responded to my text I decided I had to call him.  

I suppose he has learned to not get so worried when I call him with bad news.  I always seem to start the call the same way, "Ummm, I did something really, really stupid,"

"Okay, what?"  He sounds calm and cool as a cucumber and my heart is still grieving over that piece of my car.

I relayed to him what happened and he didn't yell, he didn't get mad, he didn't call me names, he laughed.  Not just a chuckle either.  Pure, real, laughter.

"It's fine," he said between giggles.

"What? Are you sure? I mean, look at the picture I sent you!" I said to him in disbelief.

"It's fine.  Not a big deal.  I mean, did you get the piece?" he asked.

"The piece?  No, I mean, it flew off!  Kristina asked me if I wanted to get it, but it had to of been destroyed by that pole," I said trying my best to dig out better excuses than 'I wanted to eat my pizza' as a reason I didn't stop my car to pick up that stupid piece of car.

"Yeah....I'm gonna need that piece," he said, still with a hint of humor in his voice.

"Ugh!  Fine, we'll go back out and look for it," I said as I hung up and tossed my fourth piece of pizza to the side.

Kristina, such a good sport, hopped into the car with me to head back on the highway to try and find the piece of my car.  In my mind, I had convinced myself that it was demolished.  It had to of been run over by a variety of different cars traveling at 60 miles per hour, and on top of that, it had been sliced through by that stupid pole!  

We spotted the piece on the northbound side, made a U-turn (a legal one, don't worry), and pulled over about 100 feet from it.  The reason for this is that the shoulder didn't really exist in the spot where the piece of my car was.  Seeing that I was on the side where all the fast traffic was passing, Kristina graciously said she would get out and get the piece.  

It wasn't until I saw a Mack truck coming that I was really afraid for her.  Thank goodness, she survived.  She threw the piece into the back of my car, got back in, and told me there was hardly any damage to it.  It seems that the wretched pole had gone under that part of my car and pulled it out of place, rather than cut into it as my mind had imagined.

I felt just a tiny bit of annoyance that I hadn't gone back for it when it had been completely ripped off by the wind.  But, then I wouldn't have this great story to tell.

Like all great stories, there is a moral: Marry a man who will laugh at the stupid things you do and always, always, always pull straight back and then start to turn when exiting a parking spot.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

#98 He Makes His Own Honey-Do List

My summer break started approximately 23.928475827 hours ago.  This has brought just a tad bit of excitement into my life.  The kids finished last week and the teachers worked this week for shortened days of 9-3.  It has been glorious.  I've been able to wake up a little later--7 am; if my teen self heard me calling that time late, she'd have a fit--I've had my exercising done by 8 am, and then I've come home in the afternoon to find myself practically twiddling my thumbs in boredom.

Okay, that last part is so not true.

Thursday morning, despite my freedom to 'sleep in' until 7, I woke up at 6 am.

By choice.

Someone have my head examined, please.

This choice was made due to another fun fact of this week: hubby has been off all week.  Somehow, for the past four years that I have been a teacher, hubby has always managed to be forced to 'use or lose' vacation time either right before I finish for summer or right when I go back for the new school year.

It's almost like he does it on purpose.

This week I can't complain.  Although knowing he had the whole week off had my brain formulating and devising a plan for the wide variety of things he could get done around the house, I fought all urges and did not make him a 'Honey-Do" list.

And just like the great husband that I know he is, he started Monday morning building a vegetable box garden for me.  I've given you a little inkling that such a thing might eventually happen, and now it finally has.  I must admit, I am a little leery to post this because that means I will have to follow through and let you know if I am successful with this little garden.

By the time I came home Monday afternoon, this part was already finished.  I was beside myself with joy for a few reasons:

1. Hubby built a box garden for me.
2. He did it (the building part) in one day.
3.  He did it on his first day of vacation.
4. He did it without me asking or even suggesting that he do it.
5. If this was how productive the first day was, what would the next days be like?

Now, fast forward to Thursday morning, 6 am.  The box was in place, the soil had been purchased and was sitting in the back of my car, the plants had been purchased (we decided not to start from seed because of how late in the season we began this project), and for some reason I had volunteered to help hubby with the planting early in the morning before going to work.

The one plus I can say about working so early in the morning is the smells.  There is a crisp, cold, summery smell to the air, and then after an hour or so the delicious smell of sizzling bacon wafts about like a tortuous temptress.

It is clear that I have never done this kind of work before. Without having seen how many bags of soil hubby had bought I thought to myself, "Oh, it will take only a few minutes to bring the bags out to the back yard.  That clearly seems like an effortless task."

My arm and chest muscles are still screaming at me today after what felt like a painful year of walking back and forth our alley way to the car to pick up one bag and carry it to the back yard.  Hubby managed to carry two at a time, yet my brain is still trying to figure out how I managed to carry one.

We bought way too many marigolds.  I read that it was a good thing to plant them around your box garden in order to keep animals away.  At first, Hubby thought I meant deer and so he decided we would not need marigolds as deer cannot get into our backyard.  Then when he realized that bunnies and cats are animals too, he bought two flats of marigolds right away.

I took most of the pictures for this post on my phone because it was 6 am and I certainly wasn't pulling out the fancy camera for 6 am.  I thought this picture was the best expression of what 6 am in the backyard looked like.  

Hopefully you like marigolds, because they are in practically every single picture I took.

We planted zucchini plants...

yellow squash...

green peppers...

and corn!  I'm not too hopeful on the corn growing, but I saw it and wanted it so I got it.

That is the story of my life.

We also planted sweet peas and tomatoes, and a few seeds in hope that they would sprout, but again, not too hopeful on that.  This whole garden is a trial and error project.  We'll see what works this year and try again next year for even better.  Hubby has already informed me that we could fit a few more boxes if we wanted.  My brain is already scheming up what else we could plant....I'm thinking fruit.  That was the one thing I kept wanting to get as we were plant shopping that Hubby kept avoiding me on.

The good thing is that in building this garden, hubby and I both got inspired to make our back yard more livable.  I sort of alluded to the state of my backyard in this post, but if you only knew the true terror of my backyard/porch you would be embarrassed to call yourself my reader.

Luckily, you don't know right now, so you can continue in ignorant bliss.

Because hubby went overboard in his purchase of marigolds, he planted the extras around our Charlie Brown tree in our front "yard".  He had already put mulch down on Tuesday to get rid of the unsightly little green sprouts that had already begun to poke through the ground.  I think the marigolds add a nice touch of brightness.  The next step is to spruce up the paint on our porch.  It's a little ratty, don't you think...Hubby?

Saturday, June 15, 2013

#97 He Has a Sister

This is my first time growing old.

What?  It's yours too?

When I was younger, I always thought that the older people had it all figured out.  Now that I am older I realize that no one does.  The younger ones just happen to be the more content because they are usually oblivious to the fact that none of us truly know what is going on.  After all, every person is in a first time experience of the stage of life they are currently in.  Some hide their confusion better than others, some are self deceived, some just follow modeled expectations, but we're all in this for a first and only experience.

In the movie, "Confessions of a Shopaholic" (personal confession, this is one of my favorites), Rebecca Bloomwood's father offers to sell the RV he purchased with his life savings to help pay off her debt.  She says to him, "I will kill you if you sell it.  It completely defines you.  Completely."

He responds, "Nothing defines me, except you and your mother."

Our family does define us.  It makes us who we are.  Although it might not always be good, I'd much rather be defined by people than by objects.

A family filled with children takes this idea to a whole new level.  Growing up (and still today) I was one of four children.  Wait, let me rephrase that, I was one girl with three brothers.  One sister to three brothers.  Three boys and a girl.

Yes, whatever way you say it cannot make it sound any better.

One girl against three boys...that was my life.

When my third brother was born my world collapsed.  I had convinced myself that it would be a girl.  Finding out the baby was a boy devastated me.  Children are resilient, and I was no extraordinary specimen of a child.  I soon got over it and somehow became satisfied with how life was playing out with my three boys.

My oldest brother, Justin, helped to define me from the start.  He was born two years before me, so growing up I walked in his shadow.

Note: I did not say lived in his shadow.  That would not have been cool.

Justin and I did everything together, played outside together, shared the same friends, and had the same house rules to adhere to; a two year difference did not give any cause to adjust house rules.  This continued well into our teen years.  When he learned to drive, I was learning to drive by watching.  When he got his license, I was the first he got lost with.  As we got older, and the fun of playing outside wore off, we spent a lot of time watching movies together.  One night during our high school years, I was sick and throwing up every half hour or so.  Justin sat up with me all night, and, between barfs, watched the entire first season of 24 with me.

Justin was my first friend ever.  During those years he made a deposit into my life that makes up a percentage of who I am today.

The years I was dating and first married to my husband drifted into a deposit of time and influence with my younger brother, Joel.  Oddly, Joel, who is five years younger than me, felt the need to constantly chaperone his 17-year-old sister and her boyfriend.  He clearly felt a little threatened.  Yet, this deposited in my life a clear admittance of his love for me which only grew into a relationship I never expected I would have with a brother, especially a bratty younger one.  Throughout the end of my high school years and until I married my husband, Joel, my youngest brother Jonathan, and I all slept in the same room.  We all had our own bedrooms and if we had been forced to share a bedroom, we probably would have wailed constantly about how unfair and cruel our parents were.  Yet, this situation was unique and special because we created it, and it was our very own.  During the week we would sleep on the bunk beds in my room and Jonathan would sleep on the floor.  Eventually we ended up sleeping only in the living room.

I'm sure this situation sounds out of whack.  In fact, you might question why my parents allowed such nonsense.  Children making their beds in the living room when they have their own beds to sleep in?  Preposterous, right?

For whatever reason my parents allowed it, when I look back on those bedtimes spent with my brothers, I wouldn't trade them for a million peaceful nights sleep.  We would slowly drift off to the sounds of "I Love Lucy", sometimes watch a late night movie together, and many times Joel and I would have late night conversations about life from our separate couches that we had fashioned into the perfect beds.    

No matter what happens in life, I'll always have that deposit of time and relationship made with my brother Joel.

That youngest brother, Jonathan, the one who should have been a girl, has made the largest deposit in my life.  Being born with Down syndrome did not hinder him from becoming a person who can inspire and influence those around him.  He has given me my focus in life, many of the good moral qualities I possess, as well as many of the goofy carefree ones.

I may not have been given the sister I had hoped for when I was growing up, but God still had a plan to bless me with sisters.  Three, in fact.  My first sister came through my marriage.  I didn't realize this at first, but through the years she has been everything a sister should be.  She has made fun of me, she has laughed with me, and most importantly, she has always had my back.  The biggest deposit she has ever made in my life is to love me unconditionally and for that I can never pay her back.

My second sister came to me when my brother Justin got married.  An only child herself, I never realized how important Justin's three siblings might be to her.  We are her only siblings.  She put up with a lot of sibling nonsense to get accepted into our family, but had I realized what having a sibling meant to her, I might have made an effort to make it easier on her.  She has deposited perspective into my life.  Until she came along I lived in the little world of my family and my family only.  Our way of life, our way of doing things, our way of seeing things.  I have learned to see and understand the world through other people's viewpoints because of her.

My third sister will be born on August 17th this year.  I know she will make deposits into my life that will continue to define me.  I can only hope to be the big sister to her that many, though not through marriage, have been to me.

I refuse to take complete credit for the person I am.  I am composed of the countless number of people and situations that have crossed my path during my lifetime.  My only goal is to weed out the negative influences that many have to offer and to allow myself to be open to the positive influence of those who deposit thoughts and motives that I value and want to shine through in my life.