Thursday, August 13, 2020

A Whim and a Chair

We have been needing one more chair for The Raft. The Raft is its own story which you may or may not know. I will not tell it here. It's completely nonessential to understanding this one.

We had one chair for it and needed another. I hoped for leather, because leather is the most forgiving and I expect a lot of forgiveness is going to be required down at The Raft.

But leather is expensive and so I set a forty mile radius on my Facebook Marketplace map and checked it occasionally for deals. There was no real time crunch. I could look indefinitely and pounce if I saw one.

Yesterday I found a chair. A leather recliner. It was pretty. Like new condition. Used very seldom. No pets. No smoking. They were asking $250 dollars. I looked up the chair brand name and tried to find a new one that matched it. It was at least a $1300 chair. Quite possibly over $2000.

One problem. It was not within the tidy 40 mile radius I had drawn on Facebook Marketplace map. It was in High Point, NC. 

On a whim, I sent The Chief a link to it and a message.
"Is 3 hours and 49 minutes too long to travel for a chair?"

In a minute my phone rang. It was the Chief. He was actually entertaining the idea!
"It would cost $50 worth of gas to go get it. It looks like a good deal. Contact her if you want. You could bring Dustin's Jeep in and meet me at work and we'll leave from here." 

The lady said it would suit to meet us at 6.
The Chief had an appointment to quickly schedule and keep.
I had a "Coffee and catch-up" appointment with a friend to reschedule.
In approximately forty minutes essential matters were in place, I smiled at the girl in the mirror, slipped on some shoes and headed out the door. By 2, I had located their job site, we climbed into his truck, entered the High Point, NC address into the GPS and were on our way.

Anyone who has bought things secondhand knows how often they do not quite measure up to your expectations when you experience them in person. We were no exception to that rule. We knew we were crazy. Neither of us cared.

Still, it didn't hurt to discuss it. Several hours in I said, "What are we going to do if we don't like it? Do we come home without it and take the $50 loss, or do we buy it no matter what just because we drove 8 hours for the stupid thing?" He looked at me with slight amusement on his face.

"I'll let you make that decision." I said.

This was just a filler statement. I was pretty sure he wasn't going to be making that decision alone.

By mid-afternoon I was very hungry. It is my habit to not eat until after 5PM.  It is pretty common for the Chief to do the same. Some days this is easy. Some days it is hard. At 4, I asked innocently, "Are you hungry?" The Chief looked at me as if I had violated the rules of some unspoken contract. "I have been purposely not saying anything about food." he said. 

We were both ravenous. "There's no way we can eat before we get there" he said. "We're already going to be a few minutes after 6."

That meant it would probably be 7 until we could eat. An eternity away. 

At 5, the Chief broke the silence that had settled. "We are completely crazy."

Somehow, saying it made it more real. 
I thought about the one review I had read on-line where a lady said it was a large chair. "I am 5'7" and I cannot put my feet on the floor when it is upright, though it is very comfortable when reclining."
I am 5'5.5".  

"Oh well." I thought. "Maybe that was a different model. At least it's comfortable when you are reclining." But I also told myself quietly there was some reason the lady was selling a high dollar, like new leather recliner for $250. It was probably because no one wanted to sit in it.

We traveled steadily on for another hour, exited the interstate, rolled down the streets of High Point, and threaded our way through the lady's subdivision to her house.

The chair sat in her garage. The lady stood there, waving us in. She was nice and friendly. She apologized for the mess in her garage. Her daughter and son-in-law and their 3 children had just moved in with her, she said. Just for a year. He was transferred there temporarily and she had to get rid of some things. "Here's the chair." she said. "It's in good shape. It was a showroom model from my ex'es business, and I had it in a bedroom. It was never really used except for throwing pillows on it."

It looked very nice. I sat in it. My feet easily touched the floor. It felt good. It reclined smooth as butter. 
I let the Chief try it. He liked it too.
It was almost unbelievable. I felt washed with happiness.

It did not take long to load the chair and pay the lady.
And then we left, threading our way out of the subdivision, rolling back through the streets of High Point, and merging once more with interstate traffic, this time headed south.

Twenty miles or so down the road we stopped at Arby's and got ourselves something to eat. I bowed my head and thanked God for things. Many things. 
"I thanked God for my crazy husband." I said to the Chief when I lifted my head.
"I wouldn't have done it for anyone but you." he said.

Darkness descended and we traveled on, on, on into the night, toward the wigwam, with our chair. Our comfortable, pretty, worth-it chair.
Crazy, but triumphant.

Thursday, August 6, 2020

"Dear Old Golden Rule Days"

Once, in grade school, Sister Judy slipped over to my desk and assigned me the task of looking up the word "Procrastination" and writing down the definition. Or, more accurately, a whole page of them. 

This was educational in a variety of regards. 
Firstly, I didn't know the meaning of the word until my skinny little self had leafed through the dictionary and my finger slid down the "P" page to The Word.

Also, until then, I didn't know what I had done wrong or why I was being punished. I remember the quiet feeling of deep shame washing over me, knowing I was blushing, and not wanting to look up, because I knew everyone else also knew.

The school was a one room school and very small. So small it was impossible for the entire student body not to know I was being punished. Some of them knew why. Unlike me, they did know the meaning of The Word.

Dutifully I wrote my sentences and tried to act uncaring. But I did care. I felt very bad. I liked Sister Judy. She was one of the kindest teachers I ever had. For her to have given me a consequence of this description meant I had pushed her over the edge. 
I did not want to push her over the edge. I wanted her to like me. 

It wasn't that I thought I didn't deserve it. Barely getting my assignments handed in on time was routine for me. Sometimes I even handed them in late. When I think back to my grade school days, my overall impression in regards to the scholastic end of things was that I existed in an everlasting state of confusion with a cloud of mild anxiety hanging over me. Something was probably due and I didn't have it done.
But what? And when?

It wasn't that I didn't grasp the material. (Except for math. I was clueless when it came to math.) But for the most part the material came quite easily for me. I simply had no clear concept of how to arrange my actions and my days to complete things when they were supposed to be completed.

I guess you could say it was a partially effective punishment. I learned what it was I was all the time doing at least, and I acknowledged the truth of it in my heart. I also never forgot the lesson.

They say acknowledging your issues puts you halfway to the solution. 
This cannot be true. I still procrastinate. In various aspects of life I struggle mightily to know what I should be doing when, and the cloud still hovers above me by day. 
So far, I have not seen a pillar of fire by night.

I have, in truth, learned some coping techniques. 

But here is just a little word of encouragement to you moms especially, as another school year approaches.
If you have a native who can never pull it together, who has papers and books strung from Jerusalem to Jericho. If, in the deportment department of his report card the little box beside "Uses time well" is routinely Xed by your child's weary teacher....gather that child up, fix him or her some Oreos and milk, and together look at the problem. Help him come up with a system. Designate a specific cubby or space for his school things things, and times for homework and study, if appropriate. Make him visual charts he can reference so he knows when each class will be held and each assignment will be due. 
If he has a lot of homework, break it down into manageable segments, and set a timer to help him focus. Let him be the one to tell you how many minutes he thinks he can do it in, so he feels some control in the matter and personal investment in meeting the time he himself set.
Dole out occasional rewards for successes.

I am no expert obviously, or I would not still be struggling with myself in these matters. They are only things that I think in retrospect may have given me tools for success, and some things that have been helpful with our natives. Some of them, your child's teacher would ideally implement, or you may at least need to get information from him or her. But the fact of the matter is, teachers come in all degrees of competence, and your chances of training the teacher are a little more bleak than training your child. 

A good school year to all of you! I suppose it will look a little different to many of us this year.
Whatever it looks like for you and your natives, embrace it with good cheer. If there is craziness going on in high places, be the buffer. 
Don't send them to school saturated with secondhand indignation. Send them with a tight hug and a smile. 
They will need it.