Monday, August 27, 2012

This Old House

Today I was thinking of you as I watered my front step flowers to overflowing. I was thinking of this new-old house of ours and my affinity for imperfect older homes with "good bones" and how I mostly just love that you let us get it.

It hit me how much this house is a perfect house for us.

We've been in just 5 weeks and I love every square inch of this place already. But you knew I would. It's that way with us and old things - creaky, leaning, not quite right, quirky and jerry-rigged to serve a purpose - perfectly suited for the moment - brilliant, really. Pretty much you and me - minus the brilliant part, but everything else, spot on.

I stood in the kitchen, waxing philosophical over my house metaphor, trying to make the dishwasher run, which, incidentally, only runs if the toaster is in use. This took no small amount of time to discover the toast-to-functional-dishwasher correlation. I congratulated myself on my detective work and celebrated with toast and jam.

My brief celebratory snack was interrupted by a puddle of water on my bare feet. I quickly moved away from the toaster.

Remember how surprised we were when we learned that the previous owners left their refrigerator behind? How nice that was of them. Remember how we congratulated ourselves on our stroke of luck? Hmmm.... well, not quite.

I can no longer get the fridge out of the kitchen since installing a darling Ikea pot rack on the wall. The rack had to be drilled in.

It's not coming down.

The refrigerator can fall through the floor to the basement; I'm not moving that rack.

So I mop up my leaky fridge every day.

I momentarily consider the washing machine and dryer that the previous owners left for us, but decide to distract myself with more toast.

A week or so ago Brooke and I decided to change out the hiddeous knobs on the cabinets. Everyone told us this is an easy thing to do.

And we believed them.

After we changed the knobs from a gaudy gold to a sleek looking silver - which involved much more effort than anyone has ever extended for this type of home improvement  - we realized that the hinges were gold. Yes, I know. We should have realized this earlier.

There was only one thing to do -off came the cabinet doors. Down we went to Lowe's. After returning home with our new hinges and watching me flail around with power tools, a pair of tweezers and the heel of a shoe, our youngest daughter took pity on me and also took possession of the drill and the hinges. We discovered we had the wrong hinges. Back to Lowe's we drove, with the old hinge in hand, so we would be certain to come home with the correct hardware. Home again, with Brooke attacking the cupboard door with renewed fervor that would have made you proud. After attaching the hinge to one cabinet we jumped for joy and tackled the next, high-fiving each other as though we were bringing home the gold, or in our case, silver. We were conquerors of our home improvement domain.

It was about that time, just following our Usain Bolt trash-talking-jubilation-moment, that we discovered different hinges had been used for the remaining cupboards.

We have inherited a house from Masochists.

If you walk into our kitchen you would see cabinet doors standing at attention on the floor against the wall. There they wait, faithful little kitchen sentinels, for you, who knows how to make all home improvement things glorious.

Me - I'm learning to be just fine with open shelving.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

One Year Anniversary

I began this post some time ago - didn't finish it. Couldn't finish it then. So I finish it now - it will actually be 13 months tomorrow. But at the time I began this entry - it was one year.

365 days

That is the time that has passed since Jim left for work in North Dakota.

Today I guess you might say is our anniversary. No cake. No gifts. No wine (well, actually I did have a big 'ole glass this evening).

I just returned from a 10 day trip to visit you in North Dakota. It was good to be together for more than a weekend - Brooke and I drove ourselves and how I loved to be able to be there with you and Hailey and Jordan while they work their summer away - it was a slice of heaven to all be together.

A year is a long time. So many changes and adjustments to make. I just strolled down memory lane, rereading year old posts as I tried to wrap my mind and life around this new arrangement. I couldn't hold back my tears as I read that post the day you left - I forgot how raw I was.

And all the difficulties the past year brought that I never posted about...because it was more than i could do:

Our firstborn leaving for college in England - taking her by myself and putting her on a plane, heart-wrenching in ways I could not fathom.

Exhaustion that sleep doesn't cure.... parenting solo.... making only one side of our queen sized bed - a reminder every morning of this cost.

I do not wish to linger here - in the hard places. We have been blessed in this time too - we have learned to drink deep and to be stretched into new shapes we didn't know we could make. We have grown tender and thankful - more deeply thankful than ever.

I flip through a journal I found - only a few entries - I wish I would have written more - but they are prayers laced with such sadness. I close it and put it back in the drawer, but I feel it again - the wound I have grown into. Mostly an itchy scar these days. But now and then I am drawn up short and I remember it wasn't always this way.

It won't always be this way.

You are so very good at reminding me that this is for a season. I, like a tempermental child, announce with accompanied soul-stomping that I don't want this season - it is too long. Don't seasons usually change more frequently? My words do not help either of us and so I am ashamed. This is our place for now and I am not very accepting of uncomfortable things. I never have been.

I was thinking of something today. Something I wrote in a letter many years ago to a friend who was enduring a difficult providence - and for some reason the words came back to me today. I told her, "He only does that which is necessary to accomplish His purposes and no more."

So this is our necessary. I will not shirk from this time, although, I do wish it away now and then.

Mostly now.

Okay - I might shirk for awhile. But mainly I hold the ground I must.

I miss you so. I miss your funny ways and your inappropriate comments and big hugs and how it's okay when it's just okay. I miss hearing you snore and your laugh.

God, you know how much I miss his laugh.

I miss us.

And I continue to pray for the necessary to be completed in us quickly.