Monday, April 14, 2014

Day 82

Up to now, I've been mostly holding it together in regard to our kitchen project.

Up to now.

They did such a terrible job on the drywall, we had to ask to have it redone.  This after the new cabinets, appliances and counters had been installed.

Since that point, we have experienced many more days of waiting than of working.

Last week they were supposed to get the drywall fixed, but they weren't paying attention to scheduling.  We moved everything back out of our mostly functional kitchen on Sunday night, and hunkered down again in our bunker.  Nobody showed up on Monday.  On Tuesday morning, they popped in and spent a couple of hours covering everything with plastic, taping plastic over the openings to the rest of the house, just enough work to inconvenience us until the real worker finally showed up on Wednesday to take on the drywall. 

Since no work began until Wednesday, of course it was not finished by the weekend.

Although they taped plastic over a lot of stuff, they did not pull the brand new light fixtures away from the ceiling (I'd asked for that, but I get exhausted fighting for things), so over the course of getting the drywall fixed, of course they have gotten joint compound and paint on the edges of my brand new lights.  At least the ceiling looks flat now.  I've been googling, "Removing paint from light fixtures," and it looks like it's something I might be able to take care of once they are gone.  If they are ever gone.

Meanwhile, my allergies kicked in something fierce.  I don't know if it's lupus, or the rain that's been rolling through, but my allergies have been accompanied by incredible aching.  So between the aching and the coughing, I haven't been sleeping.

Not sleeping, I haven't been coping well with disappointments.  Do other people turn into basket cases when they are over-tired?  I am a basket case.  I have lost my grip.  I don't want to do this anymore.

I am so upset, and disappointed, and exhausted from being upset and disappointed.   I was not up to handling today.

This morning, I got put on the spot in our Bible study leaders' group meeting and had to lead the "opening" because I am a newbie and need to be trained in.  I felt foolish and awkward; the whole morning had been so rough, plus I hardly had a voice.

Afterwards, I tried to cheer myself up buying flower seeds at the grocery store.  However, when I went to check out, the self-check computer kept yelling at me to "PUT ITEM IN CART!" because the seed packs were too lightweight for it to register when I did.  I had to stand there for an excruciatingly long time until a lackadaisical store employee finally pulled herself away from nothing to saunter over and help me.

The drywall guy had worked at our house for a little while this morning, but then he went away.  I came home from the grocery store, and I was locked out of the front door.  Nobody was here working, and Shawn had gone to work, and I have no key to the front, and the kitchen, which you enter from the garage, is taped and plasticked off from the rest of the house.  In the end, I piled my groceries on the front porch and then went around through the kitchen and busted through the plastic so I could open the front door from inside and take my food to refrigerator in the basement.  The plastic will have to be somehow fixed, as the drywall sanding is not over.

I want this to be over.

I want to quit, but I don't think that's possible.

I don't even know what my options are.  I guess I don't have any.  I want my money back.  Yeah right.

Sometimes I look at pictures of the old kitchen, the one I thought I hated, and I wish I'd never ripped it out.  I didn't care for any of the elements they'd used, or the layout.  But at least the construction was nicely done. The workmanship was decent.

Sometimes I want to go away, to my parents' house, or to a sunny beach somewhere.  Anywhere that isn't here.

At times, I want to scream and kick somebody in the face.  Really, I do.  It's rather frightening.

I cry, but it does absolutely no good.  Crying only aggravates my allergies.

Right before the last time we moved back out of the kitchen, I cut out a sewing project.  I would like to work on it, but there is nowhere to lay it out.  Anyway, I am upset, and I have found that it is not good to work on a sewing project while I am already upset.

Also, Easter is going to be heart-wrenching because for the first time ever, three of my kids will not be able to be here.

Don't get me wrong.  I am exceedingly thankful for Jonathan.  I love Jonathan.  I am looking forward like crazy to seeing Jonathan.  And probably the kitchen won't be done anyway, so it's probably good that they won't all be here.  Right?  Right?

Easter will come, and Jon will be here.  We will eat out and do fun stuff.  Fun Stuff.  Yes.

Sometime after Easter, the kitchen will be done and I will be able to do my sewing project on the kitchen table, in the kitchen, with good lighting.

I am trying to look on the bright side, but the Bible passage from James has popped into my mind:  "Come now, you who say, 'Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit'—yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.  Instead you ought to say, 'If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.'"  (James 4:13-15 ESV)

Tomorrow, if the Lord wills, we will live and do whatever.  The Lord's will be done.

I wish the Lord's will was for me to sleep a long, deep, dreamless, coughless sleep and wake up feeling able to cope.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Blogging, and how one introvert handles it

Let's consider the term blog.

I believe that it is derived from the longer web log, or weblog, meaning a web-based log, or journal, or diary.

You could call a blog an internet journal, but that would not be nearly as dashing a terminology as blog.

Of course, blogs have evolved significantly since the early days when they were mainly on-line diaries for angsty teenagers.  These days, everybody has a blog, even mainstream newspapers whose blogs are authored by multiple professional journalists.

There are many reasons why people blog, probably about as many as there exist blogs.  Money, of course, is one of the big ones.

Money is not one of my reasons for blogging.  If I were blogging for money, I would have to write for an audience, things the audience wanted to read.  I would have to court that audience and build up a readership, and then I would have to sell advertising after I had statistics to support the value of the advertising space.

Lucky for me, my husband has a job and I don't have to do those things, because those things are so totally not me that I think I would prefer to earn money waiting tables if that's what it came to.  Not that there's anything wrong with waiting tables, just that I did it when I was young, and it was hard work.

So I dabble around and write things that I don't even link to Facebook, because for the most part it is private reflections, and I'm not sure that I really want to share my private reflections at large.  However, writing them on Blogger and publishing them online serves two main purposes:
  1. The threat of possible readers protects me from delving utterly into selfish, narcissistic, unedited introspection.  You may find this hard to believe, but it is true.  There is an even deeper and darker heart in me than the one exposed here.
  2. It keeps a nice, orderly record of things.  I used to write in notebooks, but I never wrote in them in order, or in the same ones.  When we moved across the country, I probably threw out 50 different partial notebooks of writing with sporadic entries on random pages, as well as irregular entries on triangular scraps of paper tucked amongst the pages.  When I write here, it miraculously mostly does not get lost, except for the occasional times when I inadvertently delete a post.
So, getting back to what I was saying, I dabble in blogging and treasure every comment that comes my way, but I will not, cannot go campaigning for a readership because that is simply not who I am, in the same way that I was terrible at door-to-door fundraisers as a kid, terrible at any attempt to raise money for charity, and terrible at getting on the bandwagon of friend-groups.

I am not a people pleaser.  This makes me unhappy sometimes, because (obviously) if you don't go around pleasing people, then sometimes they are not pleased with you.  I am often lonely, but I understand that I have no right to be upset about it.  In the same way, I have only a sparse handful of blog readers, but I understand why, that it is my choice.

I am a loner, not because I don't like people, but because I do not like their rules, especially the unspoken ones.  I will not jump through hoops to please someone: either you like me or you don't, and if you don't, I will be happy to move on, even if it means I am alone for awhile.  My husband loves me for who I am, most of the time, and when my quirks test his devotion, we work through it.  When people or organizations outside of my family present ultimatums that demand something from me, especially if it is something that I see as non-neutral and threatening, and most especially if it challenges my convictions, I move on to other--not necessarily greener--pastures.

I give up a lot for my convictions.  Many years ago, I was a writer (aka copywriter) for an advertising agency.  The senior copywriter told me that we were the great prostitutes of the writing trade, writing puffy rubbish for a regular salary while our art stagnated somewhere in the dim recesses of the basements of our consciousness.  After giving birth to a baby, I stopped writing advertising material, which was a great relief, because although I enjoy a clever turn of phrase as much as anybody, I hate lying, especially about the meaning of life and how your dollars can attain this false and deluding "meaning" for you if you bestow them on my client.

In college, horrified by the empty meaninglessness of modern interpretations of literature, I made the decision to flee academia as soon as I had my first degree.  Then, as I just described, I fled the degradation of hawking my words in a business setting.  Finally, isolated in a little cape-cod house, I gave birth to babies, not books, and read them Dr. Seuss and Mother Goose desperately, grasping for words, rhythm, beauty, joy and meaning, amidst diaper disasters and temper tantrums and peanut butter between the toes.

The stories of life from those days only survived if they made it into the library of our oral tradition, the slimy folds of gray tissue that may or may not yield their treasures when called upon.  The stories I remember, I repeat as often as I dare, trying to cement the memories and guard them in this fragile thing I call my brain.  The hitch, of course, is that I only remember them at unpredictable intervals.  If I am lucky enough to remember one when I am at home and have some time, I write it here.  That is one of the main reasons why I keep this blog, although if you have read much of it, you know that those memories are precious few and far between.

Our family.  Our life.  My faith.  My struggles.  Sometimes joy.  In the end, God.  That is what this blog is about, and I am at peace.

I was hurting the other day.  Ha.  I think it was yesterday, but "the other day" sounds more poetic, doesn't it?  I hurt so bad, I lay on my face on the floor in the doorway of my bedroom and sobbed for awhile.  Then I was tired; the tears seemed to have dried at their source, so I got up and vacuumed for a good long time, and I felt better in heart if not in body.  I walked into my bathroom and saw that I'd opened the blinds, which we usually keep closed for privacy.

The light shone in, bright and pure, sort of disinfecting.

Out the window, I saw the deck below, the yard, a pile of sticks Shawn and I had gathered on the weekend.  I saw the mysterious cement block structure at at the edge of our yard near where the water flows into the lake, and I fantasized about taking the sticks, the leaves, the chopped down weeds that have been decomposing in the garden for the past eight months, taking all of this crud and piling it into that cement block structure and burning it up.  When you burn stuff up, it is gone in the end, clean gone.   

Clean gone.  How beautiful.

In the end, everything is going to burn, the earth and everything on it, and there won't be anything anybody can do to stop it.  It will all be gone except for God and the people He calls His own.

By the same word the present heavens and earth are reserved for fire, being kept for the day of judgment and destruction of the ungodly. (2 Peter 3:7, NIV)

God will start fresh with a new sky and a new earth, clean and fresh and perfect to fit the people He has purified for Himself.  Called and justified, we will finally be glorified.

Nothing else matters.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Kitchen Project. Day 75. Yes, 75.

The good news is that I had spaghetti for lunch.

Leftover spaghetti, quinoa pasta and sweet Italian sausage, warmed up in the microwave.  It was delicious.  Yes, it was.

I was able to use the microwave because nobody is here working on our kitchen.

Two weeks ago, we had some tough talks with the construction crew about work quality and the need to have some things redone.

Last week, Shawn was in California on business, and we took a break from having workers in the house.

Shawn arrived home late Friday night.  On Sunday night, he emailed the contractor.  As far as we knew, they were coming today; they said they were coming today.  We stayed up late last night, moving back out of our unfinished kitchen, transferring our food back into the basement refrigerator, carrying dishes back up to "the bunker," a.k.a David and Jon's room.  I got up extra early this morning, to spread some cardboard we'd saved over some surfaces we felt would need extra protection during the re-work.

I left the house at 8:25 a.m. for a long meeting, and Shawn was going to stay until the crew arrived to start.

I arrived home at 1:10 p.m. to an empty and untouched house . . .

at which time I fixed myself a delicious plate of spaghetti leftovers and focused on counting my blessings.

It is raining.

I can't reach Shawn at work to ask what is going on.


Breathe.  Pray.  Hope.

Probably, the kitchen will not be done by Easter.  That is not what I am hoping.

I am just hoping for the best, for the sovereign hand of God working on my behalf, for peace, for God's will to be done on earth as it is in heaven, for assurance that God is on my side and that He will never leave me nor forsake me.

These things are all true.  He loves me.  Jesus loves me.

And He allowed me to have spaghetti for lunch.