Monday, January 24, 2011

From Out of Nowhere

Editor's note: I wrote this for myself as a release. Now that I've had a few days and all is back to normal, I thought I'd post it. I know I'm not alone in these moments and I want to make sure others know they are not alone either.
I'm in the middle of cleaning out and redoing a room in the house that has gathered a lot of memories over the years. I really thought it would be a simple matter of throwing stuff away and organizing other things, but I hit a girly snag today. I found a stack of pictures. You can't exactly pick up a stack of photographs and not look through them. I've got a nice storage box set aside for them to go in now, but I still can't stop myself from looking at each and everyone of them before they go in that box. Up until today, all the pictures have brought back smiles and warm fuzzy feelings. After all, what idiot would take pictures of unpleasant memories? The trouble comes with hind sight.
I was making great progress this afternoon. I'm up to filling trash bag number 6 and the donation pile has really grown. Then I pick up a picture of the house we built 7 years ago and out of nowhere came a flood of emotions I usually keep boxed up and filed away in the very back of my brain. You see, that house is a standing monument to every stupid and short sighted decision we made for 3 years, and I find myself holding not 1, but an entire stack of pictures chronically the process of building it. I really wish that when something was going to hit you like a metaphorical ton of bricks that there was some sort of warning sound that went off first like it does in cartoons. That would at least give me time to get to a tissue box, find some chocolate, or maybe remove myself from whatever is bringing on the bricks. Instead I end up sitting the middle of the room, bursting into tears because of something that was over and done with 5 years ago. It is like an emotional grenade was hiding in my basket of stuff just waiting for the day when I would try to clean. Is it any wonder I put these things off?
I always hope for a time when those memories will have no power over me, but I don't know that that will ever come. Moving from that house was like a death in many ways. I knew it was time to go, we are in a better place now, but still the feeling of loss dwells somewhere deep inside me waiting for days when life has me venerable. I guess today was one of those days. On the upside, they are getting fewer and farther between, and knowing that makes it much easier.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Paying Attention

All four of us made it to and through a church service today. That might not seem special, but given the past, 3 months, this is a family victory. The church we attended this week had a guest speaker, which in the past has not been a positive, but today was actually pretty great. He is a professor at a seminary in town to work with the church's youth weekend. I gathered that it was one of those weekends where teens are called to a closer relationship with God through being deprived of sleep and showers (I'm joking, I'm sure it was fun and educational).
My kids were especially hyped about this week because we had promised that we would sit in the balcony. As it turns out, balcony seating is a huge plus in the kid's book. Usually we sit so that our son is sandwiched between both parents to allow for tag team parenting, but somehow he ended up on the end next to Rocky. When he isn't next to me I can never be sure if he is paying attention. This week I know he was for two reasons.
I'll get to those in a minute, but first you need to understand that the sermon was on marriage. It was one of the best hours I have heard on marriage in a long time. It was good enough that I am giving the man a pass for telling us how he was like Ricky Bobby, using the term "mad skillz", and having his notes on an iPad. He also sang a line of "When a Man Loves a Woman" crediting Percy Sledge and gave a shout out to marital fruit, but I'm pretty sure those are both biblically sound. (Yes, he really did all of these thing, and yes I am having a little fun with it.)
Now you are ready for how I know my son was listening.
1. When the preacher mentioned bird poop, he laughed loud enough that the people in front of us turned to look and got tickled at his laughter
2. The preacher reminded men that it was important to show your wife that you are thinking of her by writing a note or even texting her "I love you" during the middle of the day and doing it regularly. Right after that I got a note on the back of a bulletin handed to me. It said "I love you very much! Love, Rocy" My son is trying to look innocent, but has that special grin for when he is up to something. After church he wanted to know how I knew he wrote it and not his dad. I told him my first clue was that "Rocky" has a "k" in it, but I loved it just the same. How cute is he?

What the kids don't know is that Rocky and I have twitter account that we have blocked all followers from except each other just so we can cyber flirt with each other.
Anyone else care to share ways to flirt with your other? We could all use fresh ideas.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

But I Like Church

Warning: the following post contains my opinion. I know that many, many people have the exact opposite opinion. I mean no disrespect to anyone. I just thought the other half might like to see for a moment where I am coming from.
I was born into attending church. Sunday morning was the highlight of my week. It was the one day a week where I happily shed my tree climbing tomboy ways for a dress and lady like manners. I knew all the words to all the hymns we sang, and I sang them with great enthusiasm. Even now that I am an adult I love church. I have never understood people who have trouble staying awake or think that the old Fannie Crosby hymns are dull.
One day someone had an idea that the people who most needed to attend church were the ones who hated the way church was done. So, they started the unchurchy church. You wear the same type clothes that you would wear Saturday night. Instead of a choir you have a rock band that has "Jesus is great!" themed lyrics. The preacher is considered long winded if his sermon lasts a full half hour. The unchurchy church grew like wildfire, which is great. People who have issues with a regular church setting should have a place they feel comfortable.
Remember New Coke? Back in the 80's someone, who I can only assume must have hated Coke, decided that the classic American beverage needed a new formula. They wanted to expand their market to include the ones who had stopped drinking Coke or who had jumped on the Pepsi bandwagon. I'm sure there are people who really liked New Coke, but many of us just sat around wondering why you would let someone who hated Coke have anything to do with "improving" it.
To me, the unchurchy church is New Coke, and I am on a quest to find a Coke Classic.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

What's in a Word

Sometimes when the kids ask me what a word means I like to look it up with them. This helps them learn how to find things for themselves, and prevents me from looking stupid if I have a momentary lapse in my vocabulary. When the Epic Mickey game came out JD wanted to know what "epic" meant. After a few explanations from me, we looked it up for better synonyms to help him understand. The one that clicked with him was "heroic". Then he started noticing how often people contort that word, and it seemed to bother him.
Sometimes when we look up a word it gives new insight. One of my all time favorite examples of this comes from my mom looking up "patience" and finding "waiting without complaint" For some reason, that painted just the right word picture for me.
Today I was looking to defend the continued existence of handwritten letters. The best word I could think of to describe how I felt was "romance", but I wanted to convey that I didn't mean that in a hearts and flowers kind of way. After looking up the definition I have a whole new outlook on what it means to be romantic. It is really an act so impractical that the sheer act of doing it expresses love. That is EXACTLY what a handwritten letter is. For years my husband has been asking what I think makes something romantic, and I finally have an answer and can explain why romance doesn't have to cost a dime.
I really love the English language!
Do you have a favorite word meaning?

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

The Year of Clean

Last year I started on a journey to clean my house and keep it clean. I thought you might be interested in what has worked.
My common rooms have stayed much cleaner. It isn't that we don't still make a mess, but now it takes 10 minutes to clean it, not a weekend.
Here are my favorite changes:
1. Put a trash can in every room that has a tissue box in it, this is the smartest thing I did.
2. Putting a tablecloth on the kitchen table. The family still respects the cloth and the table stays much cleaner. Aside from a couple of time my son came close to a bad comedy routine dragging it off the table, it has been great
3. Don't store boxes. Taking foods like granola bars out of their box and toilet paper out of the bag the day I buy it has helped on may levels. I no longer have to shake boxes to see what we are running out of, there is more room in the closets, and I get all of my boxes broken down and in the trash at one time.
4. Coat hooks by the back door. We are lazy coat hanger so the hooks have been perfect. The addition of a glove basket has kept us all from losing gloves.
5. Moving my shredder to where I stand when I sort the mail. If you have kids with fingers small enough to fit in a shredder this might not be a good idea, but my kids are old enough to leave it alone.
I really knew the process had worked when Halloween was here. We have an open house kind of party every year and every year I end up filling a "sort later" box that never gets sorted. This year, I didn't need the box. That is huge for me.
I did really well through the downstairs and a couple of rooms upstairs and then I hit my 11 year old daughter's room. It broke me. She was actually really receptive to the changes and love the rearranging of the furniture. Her room is a lot cleaner, but for the first time in this process I ended up with boxes of stuff I didn't know what to do with. They are sitting in our playroom to this day. I just lacked the energy to move on. I am determined to get back on track, because there is really only one room in the house left. It is the smallest room, but is the office/ music/ craft/ extra guest room, so it won't be easy. I'll try to get back to posting pictures then, too.
Speaking of pictures, here is one I just took to prove at least part of it all stuck.