My Meltdown Button’s Stuck

Yesterday we pulled out of the driveway headed for a Field Trip, when my tire pressure light came on.  This has happened before when there was a significant temperature change, but I had no idea that a night with a low in the 50s would do it.  I got out and checked to see if I had a flat.  Having none, we went on to our field trip, while in the back of my mind I knew I needed to have it checked out just to be sure.  My oldest and I were supposed to head out of town, and I wanted to make sure the Gomobile was in optimal condition for distance.

After my crew and I were finished with our morning events, I decided to go straight to the “car place” to have them check about the light.  When I got there, the mechanic said, “Sure, we can turn that light off.  Won’t take but a minute.”  I asked him to please check my tires and explained my coming trip.  “I’m also about 500 miles short of needing an oil change, but maybe it would be good to go ahead with that as well?”

“Sure thing,” he said.  “No problem.”

The littles and I whiled away the time at a shop within walking distance.  When we returned, it wasn’t long before the mechanic was back with another person, both looking mighty serious.

Great.

“Just how far are you going on this trip?” they asked.

“Up above Atlanta,” I told them, wondering what belt was falling off or brakes or motor thingy had fallen apart.

They looked at each other and then told me I needed two new tires.  “You might be fine going that far, but if you have time to get them today, I wouldn’t wait.”

Yep.  New tires.  Sounds about right.

They were very kind and let me borrow their “work truck” to go pick up a very late lunch for my littles, who had snacked on the way back from the field trip.  My two were elated to ride in this four door pickup.  I heard one say, “This is the best day EVER.”  Oh me.  Bless.

As we sat in the waiting area, them eating their lunch, I thought about that little light and how once that would have really annoyed me.  Instead, I took it in stride.  It actually turned out to be a good thing, because if it hadn’t come on, I would still be driving on those worn out tires.

Not a good thing.

I’m not saying I’m one who believes that “everything happens for a reason,” unless one of those reasons can be that there is darkness and evil in the world and sometimes it reigns and bad things happen.  But I do believe that even these small annoying things in our lives have the potential sometimes to lead to good.

Suffice to say that in the past couple of years, I find myself shifting into “meltdown”  mode a lot less over things like lights that come on and children getting sick out of the blue or spilled messes.

Last night Cooter got one of his famous tummy bugs.  It was a whole lot of fun happening up in here between 11:30 p.m. and 1:30 a.m.  That gave me pause about this trip I was supposed to take with my oldest.  I just didn’t feel like I could leave him behind, not knowing if he was going to bounce back quickly.  After the time I would have already left, our Princess woke up with a fever.

Decision validated.

And yet, I hadn’t flipped out about the change in plans.  I took it in stride.  I am so not patting myself on the back here, y’all.  Just saying that I like this change.  It’s out of character for me, but it feels a whole lot healthier.

Light comes on.  Child has upset stomach.  Okay, let’s do something about it.  Except stress.  Let’s don’t do that.

The other day the littles and I took Miss Sophie for a walk just before lunchtime.  We all needed to get our blood stirring and to breathe some fresh air.  When we came back in, Cooter, for whatever reason I cannot even imagine, walked straight over to the kitchen counter and picked up my five-pound bag of Jasmine rice.  He proceeded to put it on his head and began to dance and sing.  As he spun around, I called out, and it was like one of those slow motion things on the TV, “Nooooo. It’s notttttt sealedddddd.”

Too late.

Half a bag of rice (that’s two and a half pounds for those who love the math) all over the floor.

rice on floor

Did y’all know that rice can skitter a far piece?

All over the floor.

I’ll still be sweeping up bits at Christmas.

Poor Cooter’s face crumpled, and he immediately began to chastise himself.

And me?  For a split second I teetered on the fence.

And then I laughed.

I laughed hard and loud and just about couldn’t stop.

It was as though my Mama had put her hand on my shoulder or given me her eyes to see it all through.  She often reminded me these days don’t last forever.  And in that moment, laughing seemed just as good a something to do as anything else.

Perhaps better.

Because I didn’t immediately go into my “Oh my gosh, what did you just do? Do you know how much rice you just wasted? What were you thinking?” mode, we have some pretty good memories from that incident.

How we all laughed. And how everyone helped by either sweeping or keeping Miss Sophie away from the mess.  And how Cooter found an interest in writing letters in the rice.  (Oh sure, now he’s all about the handwriting.  *sigh*)

Most of all we’ve laughed over his new nickname.  “Dances With Rice on His Head–But Not For Long.”  Even Cooter had to laugh at that one.

Tonight I’m thankful that my “meltdown/freak out” button is stuck, and it doesn’t readily respond to stimuli the way it used to.  I am not going to tell you it never happens, but it for sure doesn’t happen like it used to.  And I’m starting to see more and more how connected things are, and how if we are patient and see things through before “losing it,” we can begin to see some good in the unexpected.

I guess that reminds me of Paul and his “giving thanks in all things” message.  But then I’m still very much a work in progress.

I’m not giving thanks for losing half of my very good rice, but I am thankful for the memories we made that will be a story to tell for quite some time–unlike the story of my yelling and being frustrated would have been, if I hadn’t taken a moment to breathe first.

Yes, those moments.  The ones where I can breathe before I have to respond.  I’m thankful for the discovery of those.  Those are real treasures.  They can turn a mountain of rice into a molehill (and a funny story) in no more than the time it takes to breathe one breath.

May we all find more and more of those moments as the days go by.

Love to all.

Why I Stay Put

My Mama often said, “Good things come to those who wait.”

She also said, “It never hurts to ask.  Better to ask than to assume.”

Both of those came into play today.  It’s Shaker’s birthday.  So today we were celebrating this little guy who is one of his cousins’ best buds.  Our crew along with Mess Cat, Leroy, and Shaker had a celebratory meal and then headed over to the movie theater to see the Minions movie.

Minions

Because you can’t have a real party without Minions.  I mean, look at them.  Adorable.

I don’t like to get up until the credits are done.  My people know that.  And yet, I found myself leaning to see around Cooter, who was standing in front of me as soon as the movie finished, wanting to head on out.  That was about the time that silliness ensued on the screen between credit listings.

Was it pertinent to the movie plot?  No.  But it was fun.  And I loved it.

Then it went to the more technical credits, when everything usually is over.  But I learned a long time ago, with “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” NEVER EVER leave before there is nothing but black on the screen and the cleanup crew is standing there waiting.   (Remember after EVERYTHING ELSE was over, Ferris popping onto the screen and chastising us? “You’re still here? It’s over. Go home. Go.”  Classic.)

It was actually the cleanup staff who clued us in today.  When the silly part was over and the technical–very small type–credits were rolling, I compromised and we all got up and walked out.  As we got to the door, I looked to the four young people standing there with trash can, broom, and dustpan in hand.  On a whim, I asked, “Was that the end?  Is it over?”

A young woman with a sweet smile shook her head.  “No ma’am, they come back for one more song.  You’re welcome to stay if you’d like.”

Well.  How about that?

Some of our bunch didn’t have it in them to head back in, but the rest of us did.

I hate to think I’m missing out on anything.  I might have a problem.

It took a while–to the point where I began to wonder if maybe they were talking about the silliness from before.  And then, just when I was about to give up, the song started playing.

Was it mind-blowingly awesome? Eh.

But it was cute.  And entertaining.  And worth our staying put for.

I also have a thing about getting every bit of my money’s worth.  Right down to the last second of laughs.

So if you find yourself at the theater, and you decide to stay put and see if there’s something more, you can come sit by me and we’ll wait together.  But if you are doubtful or in a hurry, feel free to ask the staff.  I’ve found that they always know and are quite kind about sharing the intel they’ve gained.

May your patience in waiting bring you all the good things.

Love to all.

Learning from a Bear

The littles and I have been reading A Bear Called Paddington by Michael Bond.  In anticipation of the movie, don’t you know.

Because I am THAT parent.  The one who treks all over trying to find a copy of the original book.  (Speak to me of the “movie adaptations,” and I may not be able to look at you the same way–or at all–ever again.  #booksnob)

And the one who has us reading it BEFORE we go see the movie.  After all, that’s what it says to do right there on the cover.

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Finding the original was harder than I thought it would be.  The on-line megastore was sold out; they said it would take weeks to deliver.  Our local bookstore sold out every time a copy came in.

We finally saw one behind the cash register as we were checking out at the other bookstore in town, and no one had claimed it.

So we did.

We’ve been reading it a chapter at a time.  We were all excited because there are only 8 chapters.  We thought we could zip on through it.  But the chapters are very long, so it’s taking us a little longer than we anticipated.  We are enjoying our time reading aloud to each other though.  In the car, at home–it’s an amusing story.  And precious.  I laughed out loud over the spelling of “Modom” when the store salesman snootily addressed Mrs. Brown.  I could hear his tone perfectly.

Today it was my turn to read aloud.  Poor Paddington.  He was in quite a pickle.  He just got this new overcoat that he was quite thrilled about, but when he bent over the hood covered up his face.  Only he thought the lights had gone out.  So he headed towards what he believed to be the door and wound up in the window display, knocking everything over.  When he realized what had happened, he said, “Oh dear. I’m in trouble again.”  He realized that some people, most likely a lot of people would be cross.  And then he thought–

“People weren’t very good at having things explained to them, 

and it was going to be difficult explaining how his duffle coat hood had fallen over his head.”*

Bless him.  And he’s right, isn’t he?

How often do I jump to conclusions and start my ranting?  Rarely taking the time to let someone explain…..

Over spilled cups, broken toys, things missing, unlocked doors, locked doors, things not picked up, assignments not done…..

Oh me, Paddington, I’m one of THOSE people.

And I’m sorry.

Tonight I’m thankful for time reading with my littles.  I look forward to seeing the movie with them. I just hope we finish it in time.  It seems like movies come and go so quickly from the theaters these days.

I’m also thankful for books published almost sixty years ago that still have important things to say to us today.  I give thanks for the little bear with the hat that is his best so he doesn’t want a new one, and for my children’s innocent laughter over the things he says and does. (A bear who loves bacon and tucks it in his case to take along for the day?  Who wouldn’t love him, right?)

Most of all, I am grateful for a little bear who touched my heart and softened it a bit today.  I want to be the patient one so very badly.  I want to be one who listens first and reacts second.  I am afraid I have a long way to go though.

Wishing for us all a patient and listening heart and mind…..after all, hoods that fall over faces, that sort of thing could happen to anyone…..

Love to all.

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*Love this story by Michael Bond, copyrighted 1958.  To read more about it or order your own copy, click here.

Beep Beep Boop

So as seems to keep happening in this world, at least in my world, things keep changing.

I mean, I just found out that “Mystery Science Theater 3000” is still out there, only the newer ones are different.

Well, that’s disappointing.

And don’t even get me started on when Steve left “Blues Clues.”  I grieved y’all.  And this is not a word I take lightly.  (I mean no offense to his cousin Joe, I just really don’t like change.  And I really did like Steve.)

Recently WordPress, this site right here where I sit and visit with y’all each night, changed their format.  I didn’t even know what to do with that.  After a night or two of trying to maneuver it, I was so relieved to see a window pop up that offered me the option of reverting back to the “classic” mode.

Ah yes, please and thank you.

And so each night when prompted, I opt for the classic mode.

The only thing I really like about the “new” version is this screen right here:

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This cracks me up.  It pops up while I wait to be redirected to the screen for my “new post.”  I even find myself sitting here, giggling, making the sound over and over–beep beep boop, beep beep boop, as the three lights alternate movement.

Beep beep boop.

Beep beep boop.

Waiting.

On the next screen.

Or the next thing.

In limbo.

Waiting.

I feel like that’s where I am on my journey right now.

Right in the middle of beep beep boop.

Limbo lower now.

Sorry, my brain took off without me there for a minute.

That whole waiting, waiting for the destination, for direction, for a path.

That’s where I live right now.  Only I have moments and days and weeks where it’s not as entertaining living it as it is seeing those words blip across my screen.

Beep beep boop.

I live with the hope that one day the screen of my daytodailies, of this journey, will change and I will see clearly where I’m heading–where I’m supposed to be heading.

Until then, I suppose I’ll choose to be entertained, and maybe I’ll use my waiting time to go read a book.  Or unload the dishwasher.

Or–I might need a nap.

Love to all.

 

ISO: Patience and Discipline

I believe I might have mentioned that we are in the middle of this painting project?

First of all, the Autumn Moon color, as it turns out, is the perfect color.  PERFECT.  Despite my Fella’s initial reaction of “It’s just like the orange,” and our Princess insisting it looks like macaroni and cheese.  It isn’t and it doesn’t.  Not at all.  (They both have since embraced the warmth of the color, and we are all loving it.)  I’ve been told this new color makes the house look like an old country house, and that it looks like one of those old antebellum homes with the colorful walls and high ceilings.

Seriously?  You had me at “old.”

My dream house is an old farmhouse with screen doors you are constantly reminding folks not to slam.  Yeah.  The memories.  Good times.

But I digress.  I’ve been watching the progress.  I’m not doing the painting myself for a number of reasons, the top one being that a twenty-foot ladder is needed to get all of the walls done in one room.  I’m good.  I don’t keep my balance well enough on the ground, let alone up in the air like that.  My Mama’s sweet neighbor who looked after her and helped Daddy when needed for all those years has a gift. He paints.

This is a gift I am growing to respect more and more.

His knowledge about paint and painting is amazing.  What kind of paint to use, how best to clean a painted wall, which direction to paint, what tool to use when applying said paint, and how to prepare the area for painting.

That last bit?

That one’s a doozie.

I’m not kidding.  With each area he has painted, the prep work takes through to lunchtime.  The painting happens after lunch.  He washes the walls and baseboards, tapes off certain areas, removes switchplates and outlet covers (and keeps up with where he puts them…..how does that even happen?), and primes where needed.  He pulls out nails and picture hangers and covers up the holes.

He has patience y’all.  In surplus.

It is then, and only then, that he steps back, takes a moment to think through all of the steps again, and then he commences to painting.

The one time I remember painting a room in a house, it was a tiny, tiny bathroom.  It was tiled up to the sink level, so that made it easy.  Instead of doing all the steps above, including checking on what kind of paint to get, I bought me a quart of the brightest teal green, very possibly high gloss (I don’t know, it was shiny though) and commenced to painting.  There was no washing or taping off or anything like that.  It was me and Mess Cat getting it done.  And I didn’t worry about painting too close to the tile or ceiling because I had a P-L-A-N.  I had bought some of that contact paper type border.  I was going to cover up my edges with that.  And it would look like I’d painted it just like I should have.

Sigh.

Good-ness that was one bright room.  When the light hit that shiny paint it was almost blinding, from the reflection and from that green sending all kinds of brain circuits to spinning.  Needless to say, I had not researched that color as much as I did to finally choose Autumn Moon.

But I loved it anyway.  Most of the time.

In watching this skilled artisan with the sponge rollers and tiny brushes and blue painter’s tape, I am being reminded of the beauty of knowing how to do something properly.  How to make a plan and follow it.  How much of a difference preparing can make in an outcome.  That is huge.

Too often I think of a project, an idea, a plan, and I want to dive in and Make. It. Happen.

Sometimes that’s okay, but more times than not, it could go so much better if I had the patience and the discipline to take a few minutes and wash some walls and tape around the edges.  First.

When I was growing up I used to watch M*A*S*H with Mama and Daddy.  I can still remember crying watching the last episode ever–the very first time it aired.  Mama liked to quote Charles Emerson Winchester The Third many, many times over the years.

“I do one thing at a time, I do it very well, and then move on.”

As I watch our talented neighbor friend take it step by step, and then “step back” and make sure he’s done it correctly before moving to the next step, I think of Mama.  I know why she appreciated all the help he was to her.  She could appreciate someone who was a good soul and did a job well.

And if patience and discipline don’t get a job done well, I don’t know what will.

I think I might buy myself a roll of that blue painter’s tape and hang it where I can see it just to remind me.  Plan. Prepare.  And if that doesn’t work, I can always use it to hang this sign up:

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Love to all, with a healthy dose of patience and disclipine along for the ride…..