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  • A Decision

    April 28, 2008

    I am fascinated by stories of people who manage to survive in the most extreme and unimaginable conditions.  When I hear those stories, I wonder what it is in them that keep them hanging on and I wonder if I have it in me.

     

    Sometimes, when I imagine that I’ve accidentally fallen off a cruise ship, I don’t really see myself treading water for days at a time.  If faced with bobbing up and down in freezing waters, I would probably take the easy way out and allow myself to slip away.  I would be happy to move along to the next life sooner rather than later as opposed to suffering for any extended period of time.  I am not afraid of what lies beyond.  I know where I am going when this life is over.

     

    On the other hand, I really like my life and am in no hurry to leave it all behind.

     

    About 14 years ago, I was in danger of drowning, not in an ocean but in my own sorrow.  Like a person lost at sea, I felt hopeless – without hope, not one ray of sunshine could I find.  I couldn’t see that life would ever be good again.  I started thinking that maybe it would just be easier to slip under the waters, to yield to the darkness.  All the while everyone was saying, “You are amazing!  You are so strong!”  I didn’t understand that.  How could they not see how desperate I was?

     

    During that time, my dad came out to Texas to hang out with me.  Unlike everyone else, maybe he sensed that I wasn’t holding it together as well as it appeared from the outside because one day he sat me down and told me about a story he had read about a girl who was lost in a great forest.  He said that every day she would climb the tallest tree she could find and she would shout at the top of her lungs, “I am a survivor! I will survive!”  And then she would listen for her own voice echoing back, “I will survive I will survive I will survive…”   Eventually she was rescued or found her way out of the forest, I don’t recall.

     

    I don’t know if my dad really read that story or if he just made it up on the spot, but on that day, I became the girl who climbed a tree every day, shook her fist at the world and shouted, “I will survive!”  On that day and in that moment, I made a decision to carry on, to go on and live and to live well.

     

    A decision — the difference between life and death. That is the certain something that survivors have in common. 

    On Wings Like Eagles

    April 26, 2008

    Photo Temporarily Unavailable

    “…those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary…”

    ~ Isaiah 40:31

    More Visa Adventures

    April 25, 2008

    Sadly, what you are about to read is a true story. But it keeps Antique Daddy employed and Antique Mommy in new shoes.

    The other day as I was paying bills, I noticed that I had a late fee of $15 on one of my credit card statements. $15. That presented a dilemma: Is it better to pay the $15 and go on my merry way figuring I’d blow $15 somewhere along the way sooner or later? Or should I stand on principal and sacrifice what little sanity and free time I had on that particular day to a Visa call center?

    I was in kind of an ornery mood and I figured it was worth $15 just to mess with some call center agent. So I called those people who are everywhere you want to be, except perhaps where accounting logic resides.

    After spending 20 minutes keying in my credit card number, being transferred, telling some stranger what my mother’s name was before she married my father, being transferred, telling another stranger what the last thing I purchased was, verifying my credit card number that I had already keyed in at least twice before and then getting cut off, calling back in and starting over, I was connected with Jason whom I imagined was a scrubby clean boy with freckles and right out of college with a degree in communications and a minor in philosophy. And it went like this:

    Thank you for calling Visa. This is Jason. How may I help you?

    Hi Jason. This is Antique Mommy and I’m looking at my credit card statement and I notice I have a late fee of $15.

    Yes, ma’am you do.

    Well, I didn’t pay late. I always pay the amount due in full and never late. I never pay anything late. Ever Jason. All the labels on the cans in my pantry face forward, and the spoons never mingle with the forks in the silverware drawer. I don’t pay late Jason. Ever.

    Well. Um. Okay, well, just a minute. Let me get back to another screen. Okay, I see. Okay, yes, here it is. Yes, you have a $15 late fee.

    Yes, Jason, I know I have a late fee, that’s why I’m calling. My question to you is how is it that I have a late fee? I didn’t pay this bill late. In fact I paid it two weeks before it was due.

    Um let’s see ma’am. Yes, you paid in January. I see that. And then you paid in February. And then it looks like your March bill you paid two weeks before it was due.

    Jason, since I paid early, don’t you think, if anything, that I should have a credit and not a late fee. I didn’t owe anything so I didn’t pay anything.

    Well there you go. You didn’t pay your March bill.

    Because I didn’t owe anything. You owed me. Technically you owe me $15 because you didn’t pay me on time.

    Um…. (click click click…. clickityclickityclick click…) Okay ma’am? Because you are a valued customer (which we all know really means “nutcase”) as a courtesy, I’ll wave the fee this time, but in the future..

    Jason, thank you so much. And next time? I promise that the next time I don’t owe anything — as a courtesy — I’ll be sure to not pay anything on time so I won’t get a late fee for not paying what I don’t (click) Jason?…Jason?

    Originally published April 2006.

    My Stupid Memoir

    April 24, 2008

    I don’t know who Mylie Cyrus is. Why would I? I’m not a ten-year-old girl nor do I have one living in my house.  What I know about her, was thrust upon me by my home page browser which recently announced (cue trumpets) – she is writing her memoirs.  

     

    I leaned into the computer screen to get a closer look at this Mylie person.  It turns out that she is 15.  I’m sure she’s a remarkable young lady and all having worked so hard at being born to someone semi-famous, but really, what memories and wisdom can one have possibly accumulated at age 15?

     

    Here’s an example of what my memoir at age 15 would look like:

     

    I was born.  Nothing happened until I was two.

     

    When I was two I discovered that my brothers hate me. Their lives were ruined the day I was born.  I had found my purpose in life.

     

    Age 3-5:  The Stupid Years With A Side Of Brothers.  During these golden years, I spent most of my time imitating the stupid stuff my brothers were doing like jumping bikes off homemade ramps and seeing how long you could hold a firecracker before it went off.  Sometimes I made up my own stupid stuff which usually involved the creative use of scissors.

     

    Age 6-9:  The Stupid Years With A Side of Barbie

    These years mostly consisted of playing Barbie and fighting and making up with my two neighborhood friends Kim and Cheryl.  When I wasn’t fighting and making up with Kim and Cheryl, I was fighting and not making up with my brothers.  It was during this time that I made my brother Jim so mad he threw a wrench and hit me squarely on the nose, which come to think of it, kind of explains a few things.  During these years, I spent most of my intellectual property wondering if the nuns wore underwear.

     

    Age 10-15:  The Stupid Years With A Side of Puberty

    Take one artsy, highly sensitive young girl and throw in a surge of estrogen and you’ve got enough stupid to write a book.  Hey maybe that’s where Mylie got the idea.

     

    Age 48 and Beyond: Still stupid after all these years, but now with a baby on my hip.

    No Glory

    April 23, 2008

    I have spent the last two days sprucing up my yard.  Everywhere I look, something needs to be done – flower beds need to be weeded and cleaned, gutters need to be cleaned out, dead limbs need to be removed, bushes need to be trimmed and everything needs to be fertilized  There is no end in sight to the work that needs to be done in this yard.  If I were inclined to give up my blog and my child, I could make a career out of working in this yard.

     

    Late this afternoon, as I gathered up my lawn tools for the day, I stood back and looked around at all I had done over the past two days.  I was filthy dirty, I had not one decent fingernail left, my bones ached and my spine was weary.   Except for several bags of lawn debris, the sad truth was that no one standing at the edge of the yard would ever know the difference.  I hadn’t planted a big tree or installed a fountain or done anything splashy.  Everything looked about the same, albeit a bit tidier if you cared to look closely.  No one is going to look closely.  There was not one drop of glory to salve my aching bones and weary spine.

     

    No matter. It needed to be done, even if no one notices.

     

    No glory.  As I put my gardening tools away, it occurred to me that that pretty much sums up Christian service.  Everywhere you look something needs to be done. And though you might work until you can’t stand up straight and your fingernails are so dirty they’ll never come clean, probably no one will even notice.

     

    That is, if you are doing it right. 

     

    Not to us, O Lord, not to us but to your name be the glory, because of your love and faithfulness.  Psalm 115:1 

    The Day It Rained Hair

    April 22, 2008

    This is a photo of our lawn sprinklers running in the afternoon sun. From inside the house, it looked like it was raining diamonds, so I grabbed my new fancy schmancy camera and ran outside and snapped a few pictures.  The tricky part was running in for a shot and then running away from the sprinklers as they headed for me and my camera.  And not tripping.

    Aside:  What kind of nut job runs into sprinklers with a new camera?

    Unfortunatley, what I captured here looks less like raining diamonds and more like raining hair. Not nearly as romantic of a notion as raining diamonds.  No one is going to write a poem about the day it rained hair.

    The randomly chosen winner is Karen at Simply Amusing.  The prize?  A big ole bar of Ghiradelli chocolate (because what kind of prize would it be without chocolate?) and the book  “Flipping Brilliant: A Penguins’s Guide to a Happy Life” by John Chester and Patrick Regan.  On the back of the book, it reads,”Life is an adventure.  Live Accordingly.”  I love that.

    Beautifully photographed and chock full of sweet and tender wisdom, I especially loved this entry on the value of learning to be still. 

    “…Surely no animal can match their ability to achieve perfect stillness in the face of conditions that are the antithesis of calm. When it comes to nesting and brooding, this ability to be still means nothing less than survival of the species.”

    Being still. Something I need to learn.  Along with not running into sprinklers with a camera.  Maybe I should get a penguin.

    Thanks y’all for playing along and spicing up a Monday.  

    Edited to add:  I have no connection to the writers or publishers of Flipping Brilliant. I saw it yesterday at Border’s and it caught my eye.  That’s all.  But now I like it so much that I’ve got to go buy myself one before I send Karen’s off to her.  Will need to get another chocolate bar as well.

    What The Heck Is It?

    April 20, 2008

    It’s time again for another “What The Heck Is It?” photo contest!  Leave your guess in comments and I’ll either choose one at random or the one that most amuses me for some sort of little prize-ish thing.  Offer good while supplies last or until Monday night, 9pm CST.

    Above: What the heck is it?  This is a detail from a photo I took. Can’t even blame this one on Sean. When you see the actual photo you will be whelmed.  At most.  You will wonder why I bothered getting a decent camera.

    In other news, we had a baseball game on Saturday morning at 8am when Sean is in prime hopping form as you can see in the photo below. Don’t even try to outhop this boy because you will not be able to do it.  If there were an Olympic event in hopping, we would already have a sponsor and product endorsement deals.

    Above:  Not actually playing baseball or even dancing like Justin Timberlake, but hopping. Backwards. Good gravy I love that quirky little weirdo.

    Not actually dancing.

    But dribbling.  For the record, he picked out his own clothes.

    * * * * *

     

    So then this was my weekend.

    Friday evening:  Almost inadvertently stole reading glasses at Wal-Mart.  I borrowed a pair to read the back of the Zyrtec box when I was in the pharmacy area.  And then I put them on top of my head with the gigantic yellow tag and all, and continued shopping so that I could read other ingredient lists, planning to buy them at check out all the while.  I got through the checkout and halfway out the store when I thought I felt something funny on my head, like a bug.  So I swatted at it and off came tumbling the stolen contraband. I was mortified.  So I did the right thing.  I stuck them in the gum rack and left the store.  If I’m going to get cuffed and hauled off to jail, I want it to be for something that would read more sexy in the police beat than reading glasses.

    Saturday: Baseball game at 8am.  Then… hmmm, I’m sure somthing happened, but honestly the next thing I remember is that we went to church on Sunday morning, then we went out to lunch and I ate a hambuger which is giving me tremendous heartburn at the moment, otherwise I probably wouldn’t remember that either. 

    And now it’s Sunday night.

    Either we had a really boring weekend or Oldtimer’s is setting in.

    Blue Iris

    April 18, 2008

    I noticed this blue iris growing along side my driveway when I came home the other day.  Spring had arrived while I was out.

    I think irises are so beautiful and even sensual.  Its delicate veiny and translucent petals appear almost to be shaped by the swirl and movement of water.  It seems to me that it might be more at home in a tropical sea rather than along side my concrete driveway.

    I hope spring has sprung wherever you are.  Have a loverly weekend y’all.

     

    Strikingly Unconventional

    April 17, 2008

    You may recall that Quirky, who writes Quirky Is A Compliment,  won my recent meme contest, chosen randomly among the few who correctly guessed that I was not related to Laura Bush, set apart from those of y’all who think I am tall and have big feet. And not that bright.  I’m not all that bitter really because it stands to reason.

    Be that as it may.

    The so-called prize for this so-called contest was a guest post by me.  Some prize, eh?  Anyway, she has not backed out, so that’s where I am today.  Click on over to Quirky’s lovely and cheerful orange place and read my post, Strikingly Unconventional,  where I make my case for why quirky is a compliment.  Por favor and gracias.

    In other news, the winner of the Lands End swimming suit has been selected and emailed and as soon as I get confirmation back, I will tell you who it is!  And for the 298 of you who did not win, I know how you feel. I’ve never won a thing in my life.  I loved loved loved reading all of your comments and after each one I would think, “Wow, I hope she wins!”

    I have another really super groovy give away coming up May 1st in time for Mother’s Day.  Trust me, it’s cool and you want it, so if you are not a regular here, be sure to check back.

     

     

    My Week So Far

    April 16, 2008

    Bought new tires. Nothing quickens the heart of a girl like a new set of tires.  Can’t wait to show all my friends.

     

    Noticed an emerging zit on my chin.  Carefully applied my super-de-doopery zit medicine.  Prided myself for not messing with the zit.  Discovered later that day that it wasn’t a zit. It was jelly.

     

    Stopped by the dry cleaners to pick up a shirt I had dropped off for Antique Daddy.  The clerk disappeared into the back where the mystery of dry cleaning occurs.  I heard a lot of rustling of plastic and Korean chatter before the clerk appeared and said, “No shirt give me phone number”  I gave her phone number and she punched in some buttons and said “No shirt” and shrugged her shoulders.  And then she said something in Korean to the other workers and everyone started laughing.  Went home and found the shirt hanging neatly in the dry cleaning plastic in the closet.  I had already picked it up.

     

    Mailed my sofa reupholstery fund, summer shoes fund and general entertainment fund to the IRS.  Apparently the IRS has needs too and their needs trump mine.  Even though it’s my money and I’m the one with a shabby sofa.  But no, I’m not bitter.

     

    Coasted into the gas station on fumes. Removed gas cap and began pumping gas. Knocked gas cap off its holder.  Falls to the ground.  Rolls under the car.  Beyond my reach. Searched car for gas cap retrieving device.  Cursed myself for cleaning car. Crawled under the car and retrieved gas cap.  Tried to pretend that I didn’t have my nose centimeters from someone’s gum.

     

    Reached up to adjust my earring in Wal-Mart.  Caught my watch on my sweater. Sweater and watch lock in bizarre interspecies mating ritual. Left Wal-Mart with a watch hanging from the front of my sweater and probably axle grease in my hair.  Tried to look normal.

     

    And it’s only Wednesday…

     

    But!  Shortly after 6pm tonight some lucky gal will be getting an email from me telling her she’s getting a new swimming suit courtesy of Lands EndAnd that makes up for the axle grease and the fact that I nearly had my nose in someone’s gum.