We have a lot of rooms in our house. I mean, it’s not Aaron Spelling’s house or anything, but by our standards we have a lot of rooms. (And yes, I realize it would have been a lot more respectable to have referenced Versailles or something, but I read a lot of People Magazine in the 1990’s.) Before we moved into this house, we lived in a small two-bedroom place, and before that, we lived in a tiny two-bedroom place. Our house is a little bit odd, but we love it. An example of the weirdness: the master bedroom used to be a one-car garage. We don’t have a garage now, just a long front-of-the-house to back-of-the-house bedroom/closet/bathroom. And then there is the add-on dining room upstairs, with a partially-enclosed patio directly below it. I don’t really know how to adequately describe it, but trust me…it’s kind of weird. The backyard has a jacuzzi room, with no jacuzzi. And then there is a little shed thing that looks like an outhouse, and which I refuse to go near because every year birds find a way to get in and build nests. The basement was most likely the height of sophistication 25 years ago, thanks to the speakers which are placed in the ceiling. (It’s not as if there is an elaborate built-in sound system — it’s just that previous owners took huge speakers and somehow put them in the ceiling. They aren’t connected to anything, but we can’t remove them because the paneling was removed to make room for them. So we just have a speaker ceiling.) The closets are monstrous, and all have shelves built into them in strange ways, and then there is the shower in the bathroom off of the
garage master bedroom. Kelly calls it the leprechaun shower. It’s a tiny little box. Kelly can’t shower in there at all, and I have to bend my head down when I wash my hair, or there wouldn’t be room to move my hands above my head.
This house is weird, but we love it.
There’s no real point to this post today. I’m just sitting here at my desk, looking around, feeling grateful for the many blessings in my life. I’m also thinking about how chances are I wouldn’t appreciate this house the way I do if I we hadn’t been in places we didn’t love for so many years. They were each blessings in their own ways. They provided shelter, and memories were made in each place, but they never felt like a place I wanted to grow old, or even spend any significant time at all.
And still, there is no point to this post. And I keep writing thinking I will think of a way to wrap it up, but nothing comes to mind. In fact, I’m now starting to wonder if I should blog about something completely different today, but I am 460 words in so…
I am a horrible housekeeper. I’ve mentioned that before, and it continues to be true. And while it is true that I’m just not good at it, there is also a part of me which just doesn’t care. But I’m trying to care. So today I spent the day cleaning the house, and still it is a disaster area. But I made a lot of progress. For instance, I finally emptied the boxes of stuff from my office at the bank. You know…my office at the bank that I left more than a year ago. That one was more than just messiness and indifference, I suspect. There was a great deal of avoidance involved. But now it’s done. Now if I could just get around to unpacking the boxes that made the trip from Kentucky with me when Kelly and I got married fourteen years ago…
The very quick trip out of town from Wednesday through Thursday was full of wonderful moments. The concert really was amazing. And the hotel where we got to spend the night (FOR FREE!!) was really nice and had a great pool that the kids really enjoyed. In fact, they both exclaimed, over and over, “This is the nicest hotel I’ve ever seen!” and “This hotel is five stars, right?” The hotel was most definitely not five stars, but I love that they are so easily impressed.
But with all of the wonderful moments, I just keep coming back in my mind to three of my favorite minutes in recent memory. On the way home, after dinner, it was late and the boys were exhausted — but they were also wound up. I was playing music that we all knew, so that we could sing along and relax a bit. Now, both of my boys are pretty fantastic singers, but they don’t like to sing where anyone can hear them. Our best chances of hearing them sing come when Noah is in his room with headphones on and doesn’t realize anyone is around, or when Ethan is in the basement with the door shut and doesn’t realize we can hear him as he sings along to Michael Jackson. Well, last night something magical happened. “Lego House” by Ed Sheeran came on and Noah sang along. Every single word and every single note. With soul and emotion! It was amazing and wonderful, but we couldn’t say much about it then, because we know he would get self-conscious and nothing like it would ever happen again. But I’m telling you…if I could have filmed it, my child would be an international sensation by night fall.
The first “grown-up” concert I ever went to was Barry Manilow. I was young and disinterested — at first. I took a book, determined to read while my parents and sister enjoyed that lame concert by that lame singer. Well, since I have written about my musical tastes many times before, it will probably surprise no one to learn that before long I was thoroughly into it, and before long I was making Barry Manilow mix tapes and listening to them all the time. But I SO outgrew that. Now I make Barry Manilow playlists on Rhapsody and listen to them all the time. See? I’ve gotten cooler.
Last night Kelly and I took the boys to their first “grown-up” concert, courtesy of free tickets, and I have to say…their first was pretty amazingly cool. We saw Matt Nathanson, The Fray, and Train. They loved it. So much so that Ethan says that now Train is his second favorite band — after the Jackson 5.
Well, we wouldn’t want our family’s musical tastes to be TOO hip, would we?
It’s Day 300 of The Year of Blogging Faithfully, and we’ve decided to celebrate by heading to Albuquerque to see Train and The Fray in concert!
Okay, one thing has nothing to do with the other. But we are going to Albuquerque for the concert. And we’re hitting the road as soon as I get done here. So, let me rephrase:
We’re heading to Albuquerque to see Train and The Fray in concert, and I’m celebrating by writing a really pathetic post for Day 300 of The Year of Blogging Faithfully!
Well, today was the big meeting among the editorial review board of my dream publishing house for Middle Ground. And the answer is…
There isn’t an answer yet.
The word coming out of the meeting is positive: they like my writing, and they believe that Middle Ground has potential to move forward through their publishing process. But they wanted to know if I am willing to consider taking some content notes from them and making some revisions. Then they want to read the revision before making the final decision as to whether or not to send it on to the publishing board. Well, of course I’m willing to consider their notes!
I have to fight against, once again, the initial disappointment, knowing there is more waiting ahead, with still no guarantee of the eventual outcome I am hoping and praying for. But I also know that this is very good news. Today could have been the end of it, but they see potential. And though I am very proud of the book, and I love the book, and I am hoping that the revision suggestions aren’t too extreme, I also think that this group of experts and professionals may have come up with some ideas which never occurred to me. I know what my story is, at its heart, and now I get to combine that with whatever ideas they have for me. As for what those ideas are…I’ll find out next week. I will have a phone call with them — I believe on Monday — to go over the details.
So, I’m focusing on this: I get a phone call! Not only has this gotten to the point that I have exchanged many lengthy e-mails, and my work has been discussed in two board meetings, but I also get a phone call. This may still end up being a dead end, but the potential is legitimate. And I find that exhilarating and terrifying, all at the same time.
Late yesterday afternoon I decided I was done being sick. I decided my family was too wonderful and the weather was too beautiful for me to be stuck inside, blowing my nose and coughing. So, despite the fact that I didn’t really feel up to it, the boys and I took the dog for a walk. And then Kelly joined us and we played Four Square for a couple of hours. And then we worked in the yard.
It all felt good at the time. And then today it was as if my body said, “Nope. You shouldn’t have done that. You’ll have to pay for it.”
So I did. Today I had no energy whatsoever, and I spent most of the day in bed. It felt like a wasted day, but it was necessary. And now, finally, I think I have actually turned a corner.
And, oh yeah…quick little afterthought…
Tomorrow is the editorial board meeting to discuss Middle Ground, so of course that wasn’t on my mind AT ALL as I was forced to lie in bed, doing nothing…
I am amazingly blessed. I have a strong, wonderful marriage with the man who is my partner is every single thing in life; I have remarkable children who are kind, loving, brilliant, hilarious and just awesome little people; I have family with whom I have always been able to talk, laugh, pray, sing, and laugh some more; I have friends from so many different walks of life who bring so many different things to my life, and I am honored just to play a small role in theirs; I have the coolest workplace in the world, where I get to spend the day making plans for the advancement of God’s Kingdom, and putting those plans into action, and I also get to laugh my head off and talk about The Walking Dead; I have other work, brought to me by friends, which helps pay the bills when it doesn’t seem like there’s any way at all to make that happen; I get to be an author, and right now I am an author whose work is being seriously considered by a major publishing house – and regardless of what comes from a meeting on Tuesday, that milestone can never be taken away from me; I get to live in a house that represents so much more than a roof above my head, though that’s blessing enough! But it is an incredibly disorganized, chaotic house full of the laughter of children, and the fun which comes from having a very cool dog and cat, and music and books and spiritual discussions and food and memories being made; and I have a Heavenly Father who loves me even when I forget how blessed I am to have all of these things in my life.
We gave in and got Ethan a phone. Actually, there was no “giving in” involved. It was something we thought long and hard about. The deal was he had to get Honor Roll, and he didn’t. But he got awards which show how hard he worked, and he got awards which celebrate integrity and character. Ultimately, that’s what matters. So we got him a very basic phone, on a very basic plan.
And we’ve created a monster.
He has five phone numbers – each of his parents, one aunt, and each of his grandparents. That’s it at this point, so he’s calling us. A lot. From across the room, or next to us on the couch.
Hmm…maybe we should rethink this whole “Integrity matters more than grades!” approach…
My laptop is held together in places by duct tape. There’s my first issue. Add to that really pathetic internet service which is always slow, but when it rains or the wind blows (or it’s cloudy, or a bird flies by) it makes me long for the days of dial-up. I have a pretty nasty cold, but I have a ton of work to do. I’m sitting here, staring at the screen, waiting for the web to decide to respond to me.
Additionally, I have two boys on the first day of summer vacation, and they want to go outside and play, but it’s raining. So they keep telling me how bored they are.
Let me say again: it’s the first day of summer vacation.
And you know what? I wouldn’t trade any of it.
Okay, I just lied. I would trade just about anything for faster internet.