Monday, April 28, 2008

Danger! Watch for Falling Objects!

My kitchen was getting on my nerves last week. The Number 1 reason is that my counters have been cluttered with dishes whose cabinet homes have been under repair. The Number 2 reason is that I've been noticing how dirty the inside of my cabinets have gotten - how does that happen? They are closed most of the time.
I have this wonder of a corner cabinet which has a three tier spinny thing in lieu of regular shelves. It used to work great; I would spin it and find whichever measuring cup or leftover dish was needed. Recently, it has randomly fallen out of it's groove thereby dumping its contents into my surprised and clumsy hands. Luckily nothing has broken. It had become so hostile towards me that finally I removed everything and stacked it as nicely as I could on the counters. This temporary solution, however, had reached the end of my patience this weekend. I decided to tackle my Number 2 problem - cleaning out the cabinets. The thing is, in the process of cleaning, I decided to rearrange a few of my cabinets. It may take a few days for me to open the correct cabinet! Toward the end of this project, my sweet husband hauled his toolbox upstairs and began to look into my Number 1 problem - the leaning tower of Pisa. We were shocked to find out that the reason the spinny thing had been falling more often lately is because the bottom of the whole cabinet was slowly falling out. It's a good thing it didn't - can you imagine the disaster?! He got right to work. Just a few minutes and a handful of screws later, all was fixed. The spinny thing is sturdier than ever! Yea! All thanks to my brilliant husband!

So, my kitchen is organized, clean, and no longer a hazard zone. I keep glancing in and smiling. It's quite satisfying to finish a project and get to enjoy the results!

Ironically, as I was putting the finishing touches on the kitchen, Heath said,
"Wouldn't it be funny to take a picture of your sparkling clean kitchen and then compare it to a picture of my not-so-sparkling clean office area?"

Laughing, I said, "Why, yes, it would. It's funny, though, that each means we've been working hard - your desk area is covered with stacks of monster books because of the papers and projects you've been working on. And the kitchen is clean because I've been working to clean it."

That begs the question: Is cleanliness really next to godliness?

Nevertheless, when I arrived home from work this morning, the desk and its surrounding area was looking much less cluttered. Thanks, Babe! He knows how much happier I am with less clutter!

By the way, Mom, I found two lids that belong to you. I'll try to remember to bring them up this summer.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

a lesson in power

Earlier this morning I wrote this by pen & paper. I would have posted it then, but our electricity was not working.

Our power is out again. I really need to stop giving it fun money and time off. (see last post) When I realized at 12:45am that the intense thunderstorms had once again knocked out our electricity, my heart sank. The first time this happened two weeks ago it was rather fun, but today I just thought, "What in the world am I going to do with myself all day?" Most days the time flies as I make breakfast (toast and coffee, neither of which I can have this morning), begin the work day on the computer, do some laundry, and fix dinner. Some days I am up for a little spontaneity. Today is not one of those days. Nonetheless, I tried to gear my mind into creative mode. What beneficial things can I do today which don't require electricity? So I pulled out my paints, brushes, and cardstock and got to work on building my supply of notecards. Other tasks on today's to-do list include: reading more of "The Grace Awakening" by Charles Swindoll, going to the church to lend an administrative hand on a project, perhaps organizing my art supplies, making a grocery list for next week, and spending extra time playing with Ainsley - maybe we'll even go for a walk! Hmmmm...all of a sudden, it sounds like a productive and energizing day. I can't wait to begin!

P.S. Almost as soon as I had finished writing the above paragraph, I heard the beep of the microwave clock, the humming of the refrigerator, and the whirring of the ceiling fan. Bummer, now my plans are changing again! What do you suppose I did first? I turned on the computer, reset the clocks, and made a strong pot of coffee. I gained something valuable this morning - 30 half finished notecards and a better appreciation of how little control I have over my life. With just a word, the Lord send thunder & lightening so powerful that the electric power which runs everything upon which I depend is rendered ineffective.

Does the rain have a father?
Who fathers the drops of dew?

Do you have an arm like God's,
and can your voice thunder like his?

What is the way to the place where the lightning is dispersed,
or the place where the east winds are scattered over the earth?

Who cuts a channel for the torrents of rain,
and a path for the thunderstorm,

to water a land where no man lives,
a desert with no one in it,

to satisfy a desolate wasteland
and make it sprout with grass?

Only You, o Lord! Only You!

Friday, April 11, 2008

life in the olden days

Yesterday morning I awoke with the familiar feeling of needing to use the restroom. As I slipped out of bed, I curiously glanced at the clock on the nightstand. A black screen stared back at me. Confused and half asleep, I reached out and touched it, I suppose to confirm what I already knew - there were no numbers. Walking into the bathroom, I flipped both light switches although I was now fairly certain that nothing would happen. I was right - our electricity was out. It was "out", as if it had decided to go for a leisurely morning drive to pick up the newspaper, a coffee, and some bagels. I hoped it would return quickly. In the semi-dark, I climbed the stairs, feeling that there was something unfamiliar in the air. I checked my phone - 6:32am. Phew! It was only 17 minutes later than we were supposed to get up. On my way back downstairs, every "no electricity survival tip" that my parents had taught me came rushing into my mind: grab a flashlight, light some candles, don't open the refrigerator any more that you have to, be careful not to use all the hot water in the shower. I woke Heath up and while he prepared for the day, I fed and changed Ainsley and put her back in bed. And then it hit me, the unfamiliarity - it was the unusual stillness of the morning, no whirring ceiling fans, no gentle hum of the refrigerator, no drone of the AC. It was so quiet, it was almost creepy. Is this what it was like before electricity? I never really think about how noisy my life is with it.
I began to think through my normal morning activities. Which of them, if any, could I actually accomplish? I definitely could not work because I had to access my work computer from the home computer which would not run without the electricity. Laundry and dishes were off the list; I was glad that I was caught up with both anyway. I couldn't work on budget stuff because I needed my laptop for that. It seemed that I was down to the basics...take a quick shower and then read. I was glad. I've had books piling up that I want to read; this was the perfect chance to just read guilt-free. So I did - I relished my quiet, distraction free day. I finished two books, which were both wonderful in their own ways. I played with Ainsley more than I usually do, which was quite fun! If she were older, we would have spent the day pretending we lived in the days of Laura Ingalls Wilder and her Little House in the Big Woods. Those days will come quickly enough, so for now she sat in her Bumbo and grinned. And I had time to think about how I love the little things in life - wildflowers growing beside the highway, a monarch alighting on a twig, watching Ainsley play with her hands, listening to the birds sing their sweet song. I don't ever want to get to the point where I ignore these things.

When Heath returned from class & work, we all went for a walk and out for dinner. We even stopped to talk with our neighbors, something we are usually too shy or too busy to do. Not having electricity made us bolder, more alert, and more compassionate toward our neighbors. It was great to connect with people so different from us.

The day began unlike any other day and ended in the same way. And despite my dislike of change and spontaneity, it was surprisingly refreshing. It made me wish that I was born in the olden days...almost. I really like that we have plumbing.