Monday, January 16, 2017

January 8-16: Cleaning, Friends, and Tornado Sirens

Only sixteen days into the new year and so many good things have already happened!  Yes, I have taken a week long hiatus from writing here; though that was not exactly what I had planned, it is a good thing.  Last weekend, while on retreat, I felt compelled to write even though I was not supposed to be.  And this week, I have been at home with access to my computer, but other things were more important.

I returned home from last weekend's retreat tired, but ready to take on some tasks that I had been putting off for way too long.  Our guest room has been a storage unit rather than usable space in our home since I brought things back from my parents house over a year ago.  I have had lots of reasons excuses for not going through all of the boxes, but it was now time.  I needed a "good" reason to get started and get it done.  I finally had it!  My friend, Joni, wanted to come visit from Wisconsin for a few days.  Asking her to sleep either on the couch with the dogs or on an air mattress on the floor did not seem very hospitable; I had the impetus I needed to attack the guest room chaos and get it done!

It is hard work going through several generations of family papers trying to decide what to keep and what to toss.  I had lots of photos of people that I could not identify in places that I could not identify.  I finally had to tell myself that if the photos did not have meaning to me, they weren't going to have meaning to anyone else.  With this realization, I was able to part with a lot of them.

Then there was all of my dad's Navy stuff...his sword, medals, uniforms... It's funny.  I know that my dad was career Navy and I am proud of his service, but that is not how I knew him.  To me, he was not a Navy Captain, he was my dad...the guy who gave me piggy back rides, taught me to garden, talked to me about Carl Sagan books, educated me about investing, tried to convert me from a Coke drinker to a Pepsi drinker,  did not share my political views, called me Peanut, and shared my love of Sudoku puzzles.  And this is how I want to remember him.

I hung his sword on the wall in our library, sorted and packed the medals in a box, and safely stored them in the back of a closet.  This is not a permanent solution, but it is progress.  It is the best I could do right now.

We did the same sorting and thinning of boxes of stuff that Weber had.  Again, we are not done but now have labeled boxes. The most difficult part of this whole process is now done.  Our hands have touched every piece of paper and we know what is in each box.  We also sent items to other family members, various historical societies, and other agencies.  Our goal is to make sure that the things that we have that we are choosing to part with go to people who will appreciate them.  When Weber and I got married and combined our belongings,  our test for whether something stayed or went was, "Is it useful, beautiful, or joyful?"  If the answer was "no," then away it went.  We did have to think a little harder before answering this question during our latest round of purging.

Thanks to our friend Paul, who helped us rearrange some furniture, hang some pictures, and built us shelves in a closet, the house was in the best shape it has been in a long time when our friend Joni arrived.  Perhaps even more importantly,  I felt good emotionally about all that we had accomplished.  I was exactly where I needed to be to fully enjoy our visit.

I keep coming back to the importance of friendship.  I was touched and honored that someone wanted to spend their vacation time with us.  Of all the places to go on a spend time with us?  My heart knows that when push comes to shove, it is the who that is most important, not the where or the what.  My head, however, has a hard time really embracing that notion, especially when I am the who.

Thankfully, the frigid temperatures from the previous weekend gave way to springlike weather.  We were able to have a meal from the grill and also walk around downtown Dallas and visit the Sixth Floor Museum, the old Texas Book Depository, the building from which Lee Harvey Oswald fired the fatal shots at JFK.

(Ignore Snorri.  He thought it was still 17 degrees outside.)

Joni and I also spent a lot of time knitting together.  I am doing well with 2017 goals!  More knitting and a clean guest room!

I did have to start my Temperature Blanket over twice; the first time because an animal accidentally pulled my first few rows off of the needles and a second time because apparently my knitting skills are rusty and I made some stupid mistakes.  I am happy to report that now I am caught up on my blanket and I'm planning to roll smoothly through the rest of the year one row at a time!

On Saturday, Joni and I met up at the mall with another one of our pale pals.  We behaved fairly well while we were out unsupervised! :-)

On Sunday (yesterday), Joni got a taste of ugly Texas weather!  We had a terrible thunderstorm with high winds and the threat of tornadoes.  The tornado sirens did go off and we spent a few minutes huddled in the "safe room" with all of the animals.  Isn't that how everyone wants to spend their vacation?

I truly enjoyed my time with Joni.  I did take time out of each day to take my daily picture, but I did not want to lose any more time, so I chose not to write here.  I am happy about that.  The memories that I have of cursing knitting mistakes, making (and eating) cookies, downing a six-pack (of Diet Coke) every night, and getting to know each other a little better are far more meaningful than any words that I would have written here.

For that, I am thankful...

Friends are the siblings God never gave us. Mencius

True story...

Friday evening we went to a production by our local community theater.  Joni and I were in the restroom at intermission.  An older woman asked, "Are you girls twins?"  We both answered, "No."  She then said, "Oh.  Just sisters."  Again we both said, "No."  At which point she headed into a stall a bit confused.