Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Of Princesses and Such

Facebook pops up these memories now and then --statuses for you to regurgitate if you choose.
This morning this memory from 6 years ago awaited me:

"Love is...Driving down the road with the windows down with my little girl with her polka dot flip-flops, her jumper sprinkled with colorful beach umbrellas, her blonde hair escaping her little top knot, and a pair of shades 10 times too big for her nose....I looked over and saw her and I thought, 'Oh God! I wish she'd never grow up!'"

I remember this moment.... her skinny legs pushed against the dash, and her little chin lifted...whether to see out, or to keep the shades on her nose, I am not sure.
My wish has not come true. But like many of my wishes, I do not really wish it would. Not really....

And she is not totally grown up.

Thanks to her, outside our front door we have a refrigerator box, turned into one of those fashionable "tiny homes". It has a wash line strung between it and the nearest tree for drying her clothes. It has charming windows with cleverly installed awnings. Inside, she has a clip from a dog leash pushed through the cardboard just so. She hangs her tea kettle from it. The aluminum tea kettle was found up in the woods somewhere by natives of years past.

She has a piece of Styrofoam installed for a useful shelf, and a great number of other conveniences. The door is latched with a stick and a rubber band, and closes very nicely like you would expect the door of a trim carpenter's daughter to close.

She will offer you a piece of chocolate pie if  you go to visit. So far, only 1/4th of it is gone.
But please, respect the directions on the welcome mat and knock first.

It looks suspiciously like an outhouse. And in my heart I confess I was not sorry it was going to rain.
But fortunately for her she has an older brother with a heart of gold. He saw it was going to rain and installed a tent fly over top of it to save it.

No doubt she will grant him any request, up to half her kingdom for this extraordinary kindness.

Long live the princess...and her house.

I think.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

To Do, or Not to Do. That is the Question.

The other day I figured out this extra nifty life-simplification technique. It works so well I resent it. But I love it too! My future self does, anyway. My current self, not-so much sometimes. But I will be spending almost all of my time with my future self, so that is a minor detail. Or should be.

It regards decision making, and how to make the best ones. Life is chock-full of decisions. Many of them subconscious, to be sure. Much of the time they are not choices between right or wrong, but choices where each option has its pros and cons. And the options so often get saddled with unbelievable baggage. I am guessing, (speaking of subconscious) we make it complicated in order to make the decision we feel like making without having to deal with a negative opinion of our choice, which none of us wants to deal with, frankly.

I mean, really.

But sometimes, it is quite in...

Do I make this remarkably astute observation about this person, or keep quiet?

My audience would do well to be alerted to the type of person we are discussing here, after all. I'm just speaking with the Chief, and I am not telling him anything he doesn't already suspect, or know.
Or, this person's behavior could be an excellent learning tool for my natives. But on the other hand, it does not put this person in a very positive light. Not that they deserve positive light or anything, exactly.
But then, neither do I....

Do I eat this last piece of cake?

I haven't eaten any dessert for 4 days. But then, I still want to lose those 10 lbs.  I want to go ahead and wash the cake plate. If I don't eat it the natives will argue about who gets it when they get home from school. It's little; it can't be more than 115 calories. I want this cake. I crave this cake.

Do I wash up these dishes, or go to bed?

I am exhausted. But I hate waking up to a dirty kitchen. If I don't do them though, the Chief might. The Chief is tired too. But he's more robust than I. I need sleep. I do.

Do I write this letter or take a nap?

Because, I am after all, exhausted. And Sunday afternoons only come once a week, which is not anywhere close to often enough, and God made them for resting for a reason. I haven't touched base with her for a long time. But our friendship isn't going anywhere. I can call her next week.

Do I sew my daughter's dress, or iron the Chief's shirts?

My daughter needs dresses badly. The Chief LOVES to find his shirts ironed nicely.
I kind of like to iron. But my daughter...she needs dresses.

Do I read my Sunday School lesson, or step into the argument that is developing in the kitchen and give motherly guidance?

Do I buy these shoes? Or give this money to the fundraiser?

Do I read this book? Or not?

Now in any one of those scenarios, there are pros and cons flitting about like butterflies. And mostly, they are not cut and dried. There are pros. There are cons. Because of that, it's super easy to cuddle up to the pros of the decision I want to make right this minute, and dismiss the cons of said decision.

And then one day, not so long ago, a question popped into my head. God might have put it there, but I am not one to claim Divine inspiration lightly, so He might not have. Regardless, it has clarified my daily decisions in remarkable fashion.

I just ask myself, "What will I wish I had done?"

Tonight. Next week. At the end of my life...."What will I wish I had done?"
Just asking myself how I will feel about it tonight is generally sufficient. My future self knows.

The flitting butterflies disperse. There stands the answer. There is almost never any question.
I might resent knowing the answer. But I know it. And if I regard it as I ought, it makes for easy sleeping.

Which is a beautiful thing when you're exhausted.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

One of Those Days.

I am tired. It has been a long week.

In reality, it has been a short week because there was no school Monday, but I have made enough mistakes and felt rough enough to stretch it into a very long week.

I thought, though it made no sense to think so, that today was Friday.

That would not have been such a grievous transgression, had we not been supposed to put a food order in on Thursday. But it is not Friday, and we WERE suppose to put in a food order. And I didn't. I told Scott we didn't need to when he inquired, with clear eyes and a clear conscious.

And that, perhaps, would have been forgivable, had it not been the SECOND time this week I have been screwed up about which day it was and did not order food when I should have.

And in addition to that, two of the days I  hurt bad enough that I came home and went right to bed, and so the wigwam deteriorated to a state of mild dishevelment that I particularly resented because I took great pains, last weekend, to put a high shine on it, and had determined to maintain it.

The poor Chief has had to bear the brunt of my transgressions, and he has been maxed out already, and had physical pains of his own to bear, worse than mine, that he bears quietly, like a man.

This latest bit of brilliance on my part would fall to him to fix as well.

When it occurred to me this afternoon that I had goofed up the ordering A-GAIN, I  called him as quickly as I possibly could before my courage had a chance to fail me. I would just get it out of the way. Tell him fast and be done.

So I did, interrupting his busy day. I could hear him steadily shooting nails in the background while I talked, and sensed the urgency he was feeling to finish his job, and the tiredness in his voice, while I summarily added to his to-do list.

And so, this evening, during our daily debriefing, I was feeling a bit weepy, because when you're a lady, and you're tired and your wigwam is messy, and your ducks refuse to line up the way good ducks should, and you add to the burden of the person you love most with your unruly duck-line, you just do feel weepy.

My ducks weren't even in the same pond.

"I have just messed up and messed up," I said tearily, collapsing unceremoniously on the ironing board that no one had put away.

"Well, there's no point in crying about it," the Chief said reasonably, from his chair in the corner of our room. The chair he had inherited from his grandfather, who perhaps rocked in it in the evenings as well, though his wife was no doubt never so pathetic, and never left her ironing board up, let alone flopped on it. "We'll just do what we have to do."

"But I FEEL like crying." I wailed.

"Well then, come over here and cry on me." he said.

"I can't. I'll burn the hotdogs again." I said, gathering myself up and going to the kitchen to turn them before I did. Only I didn't. They burned a little. But only a little. And only on two sides. The other two were fine.

I like them that way. I wouldn't admit it tonight, because I am in no mood to be cheered up. But I do, sort of.

But tomorrow is another day, and  most of the world's problems can be fixed by a good night's sleep, Patience, kindness, and forbearance make the world go around, and thanks to my good Chief, my world still spins.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

Polar Opposites.

The Chief is a hotblooded Native American.
That sounds nice. Chiefly.

But it is not.

He is hot when it is not hot. He is hot the minute the heat pump kicks on in the morning and takes the merest edge off the nighttime freeze. Just when I notice a bit of thaw to the air about me he begins the Martyr's Mutter, "I was looking forward to a cup of coffee, but I'll be sweating in no time at this rate."

I nobly stand over the register and attempt to capture as much warmth as possible with my skirt to spare his fevered person from undo exposure. It is useless. He goes past the thermostat and surreptitiously knocks it down a notch.

Why do opposites have to attract?

I am not fond of extra clothes; I wear them for survival. My fleece jacket. My hot pink socks. I wrap my furry throw (The Chief calls it a blanket) around my legs and huddle bravely in the cold, feeling virtuous in my efforts to keep from succumbing to the harsh elements. I hold my own in this martyrs' match.

The Chief comes in from the wintry wet weather, and exclaims, "It's stuffy in here! Someone bumped that thermometer up. How can y'all stand it?" in incredulous disbelief.

"It's not hot! I'm freezing!" I protest, cradling my cup of hot chocolate, trying to warm my icy fingers.

"I declare! There is no oxygen in here."

And so it goes. Every winter.

 I go to bed at night, and tuck myself in very comfortably. And he comes later and says, "Are you sure we're going to need this cover?" Every time I assure him I am sure. So he gets in and sticks a leg out the side for ventilation.

If I had $10 for every time he said, "Are you sure we're going to need this cover?" I could cruise the Caribbean on blue seas under smiling skies. I would take him with me, of course. We would cruise together.  And we would both be comfortable, because it is only inside heat that makes him hot. Not outside heat. And frankly, I am happy for that, because if that were not the case he'd be trying to haul me off the Maine or some such, without doubt.

As it is I get to stay here in the South, where winter really only lasts for 7 or 8 weeks, maybe, and seldom or never includes ice or snow or sleet, or chains on tires or salt on roads, or frozen pipes, or frostbitten extremities.

Still, they dutifully post signs before the bridges that say, "Bridge ices before road" The natives look at me blankly when I  try to explain what it's talking about, which, speaking of signs, is a very good sign.

Now please excuse me while I go warm my coffee.