Home Depot and Divinity

As I was walking out of the local Home Depot with a cart full of paint-the-front-porch supplies, I passed a man going in who looked for all the world like Russell M. Nelson.  My first impulse was to run over and introduce myself to him, to thank him for his service and for being such an inspiration to me and so many others, but logically I knew it wasn’t him.  I don’t know if President Nelson shops at Home Depot, but, if he does, it’s not on this side of the Mississippi River, so Spuds and I kept walking towards our car.

While we were walking, pushing the cart, I began thinking about how the man I’d just seen, though he wasn’t a renowned heart surgeon or apostle of the Lord, was still a child of God.  We weren’t really parked that far back in the parking lot, but all of these thoughts just kind of washed over me and into me in a matter of seconds, so I pondered the divinity within that anonymous elderly stranger and thought how wonderful it would be if we all could recognize that in everyone we meet.  I have no idea who that man was, what he has or hasn’t done in or with his life, or anything else about him, but why should that mean I shouldn’t feel privileged to meet him, to shake his hand?  Can you imagine what kind of world it would be if we all greeted one another with a sense of awe and gratitude just because we are getting the chance to meet another child of God?  President Nelson probably gets special, effusive greetings from strangers on a regular basis, and I’m sure that bolsters him.  What if we all got sincerely effusive greetings, whether from strangers in a parking lot or at times of formal introduction?  What if we all met each other as if we were meeting an apostle (or a celebrity, if you’re not into religion)?  I can only imagine how we could bolster each other through such sincere appreciation for . . . each other.  I mean, I’m not saying I should have chased the old dude down and fawned all over him or anything — there are limits of social acceptability and all that — but if, within the limits of what is sane and acceptable, we all greeted each other warmly, in a way that made the other person feel special, important, noticed . . . how amazing would that be?

Very Deep Thoughts to be having in a Home Depot parking lot, but the conviction swept over me to approach each new person I meet with a least a little bit of that awe and gratitude, a little more recognition that I was meeting a child of God, a little more effort towards helping each person feel their importance.  “Why don’t I already do this???”  I wondered to myself.

Then I heard, “Hey,” from a bit of a distance.

I came out of my Very Deep Thoughts to see an unkempt man standing behind the car parked next to mine, but almost standing behind my car.  He and his clothes, beard, and hair looked unwashed, his eyes were glassy and his expression hard to read, and he was standing in place but shifting his weight back and forth, swaying from side to side a bit while smoking a . . . what was it?  Do vape pens come with attached boxes?  I really have no idea, but the smoke seemed to have no smell.  We had been walking down the wrong row and had just barely turned toward the proper one when his,”hey” came from that row over, so I initially assumed it had been directed at someone else.

Again he said, “Hey,” and I realized he might be talking to us.  I smiled but said nothing, because I didn’t feel like shouting across the parking lot, and I still wasn’t sure if he was greeting me and Spuds.  As we entered the correct row of cars and were halfway across it, again, “Hey,” but he didn’t move away from my car, even though we were clearly approaching it.

I said hi, but was getting a thoroughly creepy vibe from this man who was swaying and smoking from some mystery apparatus and standing so close to the back end of my car that I knew he’d be able to reach out and grab one or the other of us as we loaded our supplies in the trunk.

At the moment I thought we were getting too close to what could be a dangerous situation, my phone rang.  I gestured to Spuds to get into the car on the passenger side, the side furthest from Mr. Hey, while taking to Midge about whatever it was she needed to talk about and trying to make it sound like I was talking to an adult.  I loaded the car quickly and then smiled at Mr. Hey as I looked directly at him and squeezed by to get to my door, praying that he wasn’t going to let go of his smoking device and sway in to grab me.

After getting in safely, locking the door, and getting off the phone, I realized two things in slow succession:

  1.  I’d just failed at my brand new resolution to meet/greet new people as if they were amazing and it was my privilege — what kind of awful person am I that I can’t hold on to a goal for, like, five seconds???  That man was/is a child of God, too!
  2. There are very real reasons why I haven’t been doing this it’s-my-privilege-to-meet-you stuff already, and, child of God though he may be, his glassy-eyed swaying with no sense of boundaries and appropriate space was creepy.  Maybe I failed at my resolution, but maybe I succeeded at keeping my kid and myself safe.

My resolution isn’t dead, but I’m also not going to stop listening to my Spidey Sense.  I wish I didn’t have to.

 

 

 

 

What’s Comin’ Will Come, an’ We’ll Meet it When it Does

Those words up there are the title of a blog post I had swimming in my head last night as I was making a much dreaded trip to Wal Mart to buy cold supplies.

fullsizerender-1

With alll the snucking and snorfelling and trumpeting into tissues that some of my kids were doing, we were running low; and there were more of us coming down with it.  I could feel myself going downhill yesterday, so I knew I’d wake up feeling like garbage today.  I knew what was comin’.  I was right.  It did, and I do.

But people!  There is so much more comin’ today!  Like a new stove, and a new fridge, and a new microwave!  Incidentally, I won’t cook with a microwave, but we can’t leave the old one that doesn’t work hanging above the stove because it won’t match, so we’ve spent hundreds of dollars to buy a matching appliance that will not be used) (but will help with the resale value of the house should we move).  Exciting stuff!  Right?

Why, yes!  So exciting, in fact, that the person who did the measuring for the new refrigerator, a person who shall remain nameless and relationship-less for purposes of this post (speaking of relationships, did you all hear that Brangelina is divorcing?) found that the soon-to-be-old fridge was standard width, depth, and height.  When we picked out the new fridge and this person saw that it was the same standard width and depth, this person, unbeknownst to the other person, made the assumption that it was also the same standard height.

We all know what they say about assuming.

So what’s comin’, what we’ll meet when it does, is a brand new refrigerator that is about two inches too tall to fit under the over-the-fridge cupboards.

The way we see it, we now have two options: send the sucker back and probably pay some “yes, we’re idiots” fee, or raise the cupboards — all of the cupboards — about two inches.  We have 2.5 hours until our delivery window starts, so naturally my grandmother’s china is currently sitting on my bedroom floor, and The Husband is in the kitchen, with nothing but his power tools and ingenuity, trying to raise cabinets two inches all by himself.  We all know this means that ours will be the first appliance delivery in the history of appliance deliveries that occurs at the very beginning of the delivery window, if not earlier.

I’d help The Husband, of course, except I have to write about it all to avoid having some kind of heretofore never experienced nervous breakdown.  I did ask him what I could do to help.  He told me to pray.  Vigorously.  Does typing count?  Probably not.  I don’t think God reads my blog.

Are you there, God?  It’s me, E.

I hear the sound of power tools coming from my kitchen.  I can feel the cortisol pulsing through my body.  I don’t think the fight or flight response was designed to make a sick person want to flee her own house, was it?  I need chocolate.

You know what else is comin’?  What with the cupboards all being raised a couple inches?  Painting.  I’m going to have to repaint the kitchen.  I still have some of the paint from the last time I painted it, so maybe I’ll only have to paint the new exposed swaths of wall.  But still.  Paintin’ is comin’.

————————————————————————–

T-1 hour now (I actually did go help a bit), and guess what???  The delivery guys called.  They’re running early.  They’ll be here in HALF an hour.  On the up side, the necessary cupboards have been moved up the requisite space and nothing got broken in the process.  That’s a tender mercy right there, I tell you.  Who knew we, mostly him, could do that that quickly?  On the down side, the necessary cupboards have been moved up the requisite space which means the unnecessary cupboards now also need to be moved so that our kitchen doesn’t give everyone vertigo, and we?  Are not particularly tall people.

Some of the younger kids are rather happy that they can finally reach to get their cups and their bowls.  What kind of parent raises the cupboards two inches shortly after that milestone has been hit?  The kind who doesn’t thoroughly measure for a new refrigerator, apparently.

“Hey, Quinn, how about you go get cups for you and Spuds.  Ha ha!  You can’t anymore, shorty!  Whatcha’ been doin’?  Drinkin’ Miracle-Shrink?”

As I’ve said before, we’re not saving for their college.  We’re saving for their therapy.

But L~ came home during The Raising of the Cupboards, and I gave her a grocery list and my credit card.  So you know what else is comin’?  Chocolate.  And I’ll meet it when it does.

So will Tewt the Newt.

 

Swimming in a Bowl of Fruit Loops

When you contact an adjacent land/homeowner to ask if he/she would be interested in selling his/her property to you, and said land/homeowner says he/she will think about it and get back to you, you generally expect one of three things to happen:

  1. The land/homeowner will eventually get back to you with a, “No, I’m not interested in selling.”
  2.  The land/homeowner will eventually get back to you with a, “Yes, I’m interested.  Let’s sit down and talk details and see if we can figure something out.”
  3. The land/homeowner will never get back to you at all.

What you don’t expect, though, what you really don’t expect, is for the land/homeowner to get back to you and say things like:

  1. I feel like I’m being forced out of my home, but I want to retire here.
  2. But then you’d own two houses.  What would you do with two houses?
  3. That seems like an expensive thing to do for your horses.

You don’t expect any of these responses because:

  1. You merely asked, “Would you be interested in selling?”  You did not go over to his/her house with jack-booted thugs and tommy guns, extinguish a cigarette on your forehead in a show of threatening intimidation, and say with a growl, “You want to sell your property to me, don’t you???”
  2. Pretty much anybody who owns a second house, especially one adjacent to the one in which they already live, uses it as a rental property.  It’s an investment.  It’s not a vacation home in Aspen or something (though that could also be used as a rental and still be an investment).
  3. Yes, yes it is expensive for us to buy an entirely new house and piece of property to keep our horses on, but boarding isn’t cheap.  We can pay hundreds of dollars a month to board the beasts (and rarely see them because they’d be miles away and we don’t have time to just drive over and hang out at somebody else’s barn every day), or we can pay close to the same hundreds of dollars a month on a house payment, rent the house out, recoup that money, and still have our horses on the land adjacent to ours.  And all that aside?  Our money is ours.  I know that’s a foreign concept to a lot of people, but it is ours.  If we feel like we can afford to buy a house and let it sit empty and rot, that is entirely our business.

When we first moved here to Canada South, we really liked it.  It was much better than Little Town, or so we thought.  But in the six years we’ve been here?  It’s just been one crazy thing after another.  Crazy church, crazy school, crazy neighbors (this one and another one who threatened to shoot our horses).

We boarded the horses when we first moved here, but then we spoke to the land/homeowner adjacent to us who owns the land that is properly zoned for horses, (ours is not)  (unless we had a lot more of it), and he/she was happy to lease us some acreage.  The land/homeowner said he/she loved horses and was glad he/she would be able to see horses on his/her walks through the property.

We said, “Great!  Name your price.”  The land/homeowner did, and we did not haggle, did not dither, did not bargain, wrangle, quibble, or deal.  We just happily wrote a check and signed a contract.  For five years, we have been doing this, and for five years it has been a win-win, or so we thought.

A few months ago, when the contract was up for renewal, the land/homeowner informed us that he/she would renew for one more year, but this would be the last time.

  1. “Your horses need to be on 10-20 acres to run,” he/she said.
  2. “Sometimes I see them standing in mud,” he/she said.
  3. “I feel like I’ve been taken advantage of,” he/she said.

Three horses don’t need 10-20 acres.  In fact, many horses are stall boarded and stand in confining little rooms for most of their lives, so the couple acres we do have them on are really sufficient.  And?  We feed them.  They aren’t dependent upon the grass on those couple of acres.

Horses stand in mud sometimes, especially if it has been rainy or the snow has recently melted.  They stand in their own waste if they are stall boarded.  They don’t have to stand in the muddy area of their pasture.  They choose to do it.  I don’t pretend to understand why.  I’m not a horse.

We have been paying the exact price that was asked.  How have we taken advantage of anyone?

I really shouldn’t be shocked by any of this at this point.  We’ve been here long enough that I should know better.  Crazy church, crazy schools, crazy neighbors.  That’s just how it is.  I can’t decide if we’re in Wonderland or The Twilight Zone.

“I feel like I’m living in a bowl of fruit loops,” I told my husband last night.

“I almost expect Rod Serling to show up at our door,” he said.

“That would be the first thing to happen around here that actually makes sense,” I replied.

Tewt the Newt agrees.