Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Tinker and I

I know there are rare occasions when I say stupid things. Days when I am extra tired, misinformed, or looking for a good laugh. But lately my husband, who is usually very methodic and intelligent, has spit out some really stupid things.
For example, a few days ago he was doing some work outside and I was watching. Sometimes I learn a lot by watching him tinker. Other times I'm just there for company.
He was diligently filling things with gear oil, lubing joints and adjusting doohickeys. 
"Got a crescent wrench?" He says.
It took me a minute to respond. 
What I really wanted to say was, "Why, yes,dear, as a matter of fact, I do. I always keep one tucked into my bra or my back pocket. A girl never knows when a crescent wrench emergency might arise."

I just looked at him like he was stupid.

And then I scooted quickly to the truck where his tool bag rested. Bingo.

Later that evening he decided to do some measurements on the garage he is preparing to build. I offered to hold the tape measure. Then he asks me:
"What is half of 39 and 7/8 or a quarter of that fractional multiplier on the diagonal?" Or something like that.

I just looked at him like he was stupid.

And then I went in the house for a cookie.

This morning while I was sleeping, my husband covered me lightly with a sheet and I woke up. It was 2 a.m.

"Hi." He says softly,"you wanna go outside and see the full moon?"

I just looked at him like he was stupid.

Then I realized that was the most beautiful, romantic thing I had ever heard.

I realize, too, that our lives are changing. In this new place,we are new people. Less formal, more relaxed, bigger dreamers and go-ahead-and-do-ers. 

I may not always enjoy the work and sweat and carrying the crescent wrench. I may resent the math problems, the bugs, the piles of planning...and the stupid questions.
But I do love that I am needed and included in my husband's everyday routines.

Even if it's just to gaze at the stars.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Keeping It Real

I awake and glance at the clock with one open eye. Six a.m. My husband sits in his recliner at the foot of the bed, studying YouTube videos of barns, the table lamp glowing softly across the room.

My sleepy eyes do a slow sweep of my new house. Pretty small. Some would call it tiny. I prefer the word cozy.

Minus the fact that it doesn't have any modern appliances, I feel comfortable here. That tub of dishwasher packets my daughter Becca gave me will have to sit awhile. Totally sink washing for now. And my wicker hamper grows fat with dirty clothes until a drive to the laundromat.

Even my harvest gold electric range is missing the handle to its oven door. But plump, flakey biscuits turn out just as delicious.

Yesterday we installed our window air conditioner- a white box-shaped unit that has served as a makeshift end table for the past few weeks - holding beer bottles and dinner plates and tons of tractor magazines. The threat of 90 degree weather made one thing for certain - this table goes into the window - no discussion needed.

My deep freeze still sits on the back porch...(a stoop really)...the top laid out with a table cloth and a assortment of tools. Much like an operating table, ready at a moments notice to drill, measure, saw and hammer. I had to move it all yesterday so I could reach inside and get a Popsicle.

But I don't mind. Too much.

Maybe it's because I know these things are only temporary. That with time the addition will be built and  I will be spoiled by modern convenience.

For now, I stretch, stare at the ceiling, and look over at my husband.
"We live here," I say.

And we laugh.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

The Laundromat

Today I met Gail and Bob. They run the local laundromat- an aging brick building behind the drivers license bureau and the small engine repair shop.

Bob is tall and lean, about 70 years old, with white hair sprouting beneath a grimy ball cap. He forgot to shave this morning and is eating French fries from a red and white cardboard basket.

He is nice to give us our first load free of charge. He pops in six quarters and tells me several times that it is free, it's on warm water, and you can do the rest  "yerself".

Gail is in a wheelchair, her long pepper-colored hair parted down the middle and falling upon her flowered top in gentle waves. Before I get my first load of laundry in the door she announces that she's feeling better today... head-on collision a while back and saved only by the grace of God. 

I smile and tell her she is lucky.

Gail and Bob love their cell phones. Over the twirl of dryers and the swish of washers, I can't tell what they're saying, but their many conversations on their Nokia's seem to suggest they have a whole lot to talk about.

Probably gossip about the new folks in town.

I drop a few quarters in the white dryers. My husband chooses the gold Speed Queens to dry blue jeans....and Bob nods at him in approval. " Number seven is extry hot" he says, "It's a good un."

A soap machine offers miniature versions of generic powders, it's 70's style graphics displaying Suds and Such ...the bright orange and faded brown arrows pointing to the release chute. I prefer liquid.

At least the place smells good...of soap and softener and Bob's French fries.

Soon I will have clean clothes , fresh towels and a taste of the town.

And two new friends.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Laundry Day

Tomorrow we have lived in our little house for two weeks. Like they say, time goes by fast when you live in a sardine can. Or something like that.
All I know is, it's not half as bad as I imagined and once all the work is complete, it is going to be a wonderful place to enjoy life.
It seems like I get things organized as I want them and then we mess them up again- bring something from storage, or a bag and a box, and soon it needs a place. So things get moved and sorted and crammed again...and the cycle continues. I thought this morning how great it will be to sit out on the porch and drink my coffee in the early mornings with the peace of knowing everything has its place.

Town is about 12 miles away and it seems like we go there everyday. Open checking accounts, get gasoline, buy groceries, compare lumber prices, visit kinfolk, rent videos....I am looking forward to the time I can sit in my pajama pants all day and do absolutely nothing.
Even today I must make a trip to visit the laundromat. There are two in town. Both a bit shady- looking with outdated Maytags that may eat my socks ...and with patrons that could quite possibly have their photos in the post office.

Well, maybe I'm exaggerating just a bit, but it never hurts to be on gaurd, does it?

Then the yard needs mowed a weed eated which cancels out the afternoon nap plans. Hopefully by sunset we can sit back and relax a bit.

Tomorrow my Mother's Day present can be picked up. A bright new shiny...(no, not a ring )- a tractor! An orange Kyoti with all kinds of tool attachments and things my husband thinks is cool and as essential as breathing. I agree that we need a bush hog to keep the place mowed down, and I suppose all the other bells and whistles will save us from hiring someone else to do the job. My real hope is that this crazy tractor will keep him busy so I can write or paint or clean without him distracting me. I never seem to get my list done. I am always putting it aside to help him finish his list. By the time that's complete, I'm too tired to start on mine!

Summer is almost here, although the past few mornings have been cool. Looking forward to campfires and cookouts and company. It might be tight for awhile, but it will be fun. They say a little house can hold just as much happiness as a big house.

So week two begins....

" I love you, Little Red Cabin," I say.
"We've only just begun," It whispers back.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Being A Mother

Today we celebrate mothers. Those unsung heroes who are underpaid, understated, and under no circumstances would ever trade places with anyone else. We celebrate their strength, their wit, and their undying patience. We celebrate their stories, their lives and their legacies.

I have heard many women say that they love their job as a mother. But is it really a job? Is it a flower's job to be beautiful and perfumed? A bird's job to sing and fly? Is it the moon's job to shine upon a field of sweet hay or the sun's to make the sand sparkle?

To be a mother is to breathe. Is to love. Is to know that the interaction with our children is not a job. It is a natural, God-given talent that we must exercise and hone with every touch, every decision, and every generation. To be a mother is to leave lasting footprints. And a smile that none of your children will ever forget.

Mothers are always remembered for their excellent cooking skills, their nights of nursing colds, their super-woman powers at packing lunches and attending ball games. They are remembered for their tender hearts, their outdated ideas and their strict over protective shadow.

But mothers are more than that. Mothers are indifferent to slimy snot, chunky vomit, poopy pants and  muddy white towels. Mothers know how to scrimp when money is tight-  resulting in Hamburger Helper that beats Mcdonald's any day. She can make the house look nice with thirty minutes of a Swiffer, a sponge and a Steppenwolf CD. She can make you laugh by what she wears and make you cry by what she says. A mother can make you proud, embarrassed ...and sometimes both at he same time.

A mother clears the way. Her feminine feet leave a path that help her children find their way. No, she doesn't solve every problem for them or clear every obstacle. She teaches them to do that themselves. Not with whining or cheating or defeat. But with energy and positivity and a hunger for challenges. She teaches them to be brave where she was not. To persevere where she failed. To treasure and fill every single day.

Because mothers know how quickly they pass.

I love my children. I may not have always done the cool thing, the in-thing or the fun thing. But I 've always tried to do the right thing. It has never been a job, an effort or a curse. It has been one of the greatest gifts God has given me. A responsibility He has entrusted me with until the day I die. It has been some of my best days and proudest moments. It has been the source of my laughter and the sting of my tears.

It has been the best thing I have ever done or will ever do in my life.

And we owe it to God to do it well.

Happy Mother's Day...

Friday, May 3, 2013

Day Three

It has rained all night. The sound on the tin roof made for peaceful slumber and a mug of hot coffee this morning tops off this day of rest. Not much we can do in our new little home except unpack a few boxes and make some plans for next week. One more trip to rescue a few things and our move will be complete. Yet, already it seems we have lived here forever.

Moving from a 2000 square foot house and 2000 square foot barn into a 400 square foot cabin is mind boggling. I'm not a math whiz, but I'm smart enough to know that it can only equal disaster.

 I almost lost it when the screened porch became a maze of bags, boxes, buckets and blankets- piled high on the just-moved bunk beds, sending the set of rockers and my house plants out to brave the elements. But my husband must have sensed my nervous breakdown coming on. He immediately starting organizing the chaos, sorting through items a second time and sending another truck load to storage. 

It's not perfect. But it's livable. I still have clothes in trash bags and bills stuffed in the hamper ...but I'll have time later to manage that.
Actually the cabin is kind of cozy. I have my two dressers full of clothes, our electronics set up ( with Dish! Yes!!), and I did a bit of decorating just to make me feel better. The rain makes it a lazy day and its nice to be able to sit back and dream awhile. And nap. And snack. 

And probably nap again...

The couple who bought our house seem so excited! I imagine her trying out all the light switches, moving her furniture till it looks just right, and taping paint swatches to the walls and looking back with a critical eye.
 Her little girls were such fun! They loved running through the empty rooms and picking out favorite places. I can almost see them snuggled in their rooms after a bedtime story and feeling warm and safe...

I haven't deceived myself into thinking the hard part is over. I know there are trying days ahead. Days when the walls will squeeze my need for stretching out and times when I'll be tired of helping with new construction....afternoons when the gnats will drive me crazy and the summer nights will seem too long. 

But at least we have begun...we have crossed through the starting gate ...and we're a good team.