Drafts, draughts, rough and ruff

There are several drafts of several different journal-ish posts sitting here on WordPress, waiting to be revisited and crafted into something worth sharing. But most of them won’t ever make it. Sometimes the moment passes, and even more often the thought escapes and I simply abandon that particular effort. Maybe I’m lazy, but I’d like to think that I will revisit any truly worthwhile idea in a more effective way at some point. I just can’t quite make myself force any of the current drafts into anything resembling something I can be proud of. Because rough is an understatement. These aren’t just unfinished and unpolished – they are, in many cases, emotional vomitous messes in written form. Doesn’t that sound like fun? Don’t you want to wallow in it for a few minutes…or hours? Nope, me either. But I can’t make myself trash them yet either. Because they are true to their moment in time and their time of fruition may yet come. And if not? I can always trash them later.

Which has nothing to do with draughts at all. But I love that word and all that it evokes. I’m reading Tolkien’s The Hobbit to Kid the Elder right now. Draught is a great hobbit-ish, Middle Earth-y word. Who doesn’t picture Bilbo taking long draughts of ale with supper? Or with second breakfast even? And doesn’t that make me want some sort of beverage that lends itself to long draughts with good friends and even better stories? I can forgo the smoke rings, though I don’t mind the smoke if I can see things in it…. (Thank you Robin McKinley for that image of Harry’s from The Blue Sword.) My favorite thing about words and ideas is the cascade of images that they evoke in my mind. I love the way unrelated phrases and experiences coalesce into an altogether new mental landscape that is my history…but re-imagined. And even with that flight of fancy I cannot manage to get “ruff” into the paragraph with any sort of integrity. But aren’t homophones fun?

I need a new chair.

“The mind can only absorb what the backside can endure.” Or something like that. I’ve loved that saying since I first heard it in high school. It is so true…even if there are a gazillion versions of it, I have no idea how the original was phrased, and I cannot figure out to whom the credit for it belongs. All that is unimportant right now, because my backside has ceased enduring. I have been working on a post all morning, while also composing an important email and playing even more important Facebook games, and I am going to have to admit defeat. I really do love sitting in front of the screen and working, but I really must invest in a better chair. My back hurts and I’m walking like my spine is 25 years older than the rest of me. Which is what an orthopedic surgeon told me is the case…right after he told me that I wouldn’t like the results of what he could do for me, so I should see a therapist…which is what I had just done. But I digress. There will be a post soon – it’s percolating in my brain – but it won’t arrive today because my endurance has run out. So: “The ability of the mind to absorb and/or produce cogent material is limited by the backside’s ability to remain in an unpadded, uncontoured wooden dining room chair.” (credit to me!) I think I may use some Christmas money on that office chair I saw at Costco….

Sitting and waiting

I think of myself as one who is fairly adept at sitting still, but the reality is that I’m only good at that if I have a book to read or am watching something on tv. In fact, I often use tv time as an opportunity to fold laundry, iron, or even catch up on my losing streak on Words With Friends. As I now sit in a very comfortable restaurant, waiting for a call that my car is ready to be picked up, I am feeling the stress of having no ability to do anything and the reality of a to-do list that is as long as I am tall. Yes, I know, that isn’t saying much.

So. I am trying to write, but my foot is tapping anxiously and I keep getting distracted. Will the shuttle service that brought me here be able to pick me up or will I be stranded? Should I buy and eat that decadent looking pain au chocolat in the display case? Can I leave my stuff at the table while I get more coffee? How can I hold my table when the coffee I’ve already drunk obliges me to visit the water closet? Will it ever stop raining? How much is this car repair going to cost? What do I want to be when I grow up? Why can’t I win at Words With Friends? I am a bit scattered. I also just realized that I didn’t thaw anything for dinner, which needs to be ready early so Adam can make it to a meeting, but I obviously can’t do anything about that from Atlanta Bread Company. Unless everyone wants pastry for dinner. Any takers? I’m certainly in! To add to the internal chaos, I get a call from school – kid the younger (who stayed up late last night illicitly watching Cake Boss on Netflix) is in the nurse’s office with the whineys. She says her throat and tummy hurt, but there is no evidence of redness, fever, or even lack of energy. She would just prefer to spend her day at home. Which is too bad. The temporary loss of her new ipod is not going to go over well either, I’m guessing…. She will be returning to class after a placebo treatment of 15 minutes rest and some gatorade. At least that can be handled from a distance and without transportation!

And wonder of wonders! The car is ready and the shuttle driver will be here…eventually. Hooray! Dinner won’t be pastry after all. (That’s kind of a shame, now that I think about it….) I am still nervous about the cost, but maintenance is cheaper than repairs are. And my foot has stopped tapping because the keyboard taps are an excellent substitute. Waiting may not be my favorite sitting activity, but it wasn’t so bad! Hooray for coffee…and chocolate…!

So, anyway…

A lot of my previous posts are on subjects about which I have more to say than anyone could conceivably listen to, so I wrote my rants for any and everyone to enjoy. And then I didn’t repeat myself quite so many times. My husband is grateful! Now, however, I don’t have anything to rant about. I know. I can’t really believe it either. So here’s a little thing that sits at the back of my mind all the time…except for when it comes to the forefront, of course. Yes. It is hard to be a pastor’s wife. Just like it’s hard to be anyone else’s wife. Or not a wife at all. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that it’s no easier to be a husband or a non-husband. Life can be hard. Our relationships make some things harder, and others easier. Am I in a fishbowl? Sometimes, but in our congregation, it’s not usually a big deal. Of course, I like attention…I think I’ve mentioned that before, so I’m not bothered by all aspects of the fishbowl! I don’t like being found wanting or inadequate – I’m weird that way – so there are definitely times I can point out where the conflict in my life can be laid at the feet of my husband’s job. But most of the conflict in my life comes from an entirely different source. You know, me. We have dear friends – some still in and others now out of vocational ministry – who have had very difficult times. We know that could be us at some point, though we certainly hope it won’t be. In general, we are glad to be in a place where we can be who we are – we are really bad at being anyone else anyway. Who are we? Is Adam’s job, his calling even, our only defining characteristic? Of course not. All the assumptions you have about what it means to be a pastor/minister/preacher/reverend or whatever else you may call it? Some of those fit us and some don’t. And that’s okay. I assume things about doctors, plumbers, teachers, accountants, lawyers, carpenters, engineers, mechanics, and everyone else. And don’t get me started on what assumptions are made about stay-at-home moms. Or moms that go to work outside the home, either. The thing about assumptions is that we all have them, but we don’t have to be imprisoned by them when we meet real live actual people. That part is a choice. And the way to find out if our assumptions (let’s, for fun, call them what they are: prejudices) apply to the specific person we’re meeting is by being willing to communicate, which we cannot do if we talk without thinking and listening. So. I don’t mind being asked if it’s hard to be a pastor’s wife – it’s certainly not for everyone. Which is great, because my husband is taken anyway! But it’s not the hardest part of my life right now. It may be at some point, but life always has hard parts. Not for nothing…it’s people who make each other’s lives hard. And who soothe the hurts. We all have to choose which of those we’ll do. Everyday. Often lots of times. I like people. And I like being Adam’s wife. So this is my calling. And I like that too.

argh

You know those days when you forget the biscuit in the oven until it’s a charcoal briquette, and you realize that the kids’ dental appointments that you confirmed just yesterday actually do conflict with something, and the initiative you praised in someone is getting everyone in a sticky situation that you maybe should have foreseen, and your cat used the (thankfully empty) laundry basket as a litter box? Yeah. It’s been that kind of morning. So, the biscuit is trashed and breakfast was re-made, the appointment is rescheduled for Monday morning, the kids’ teachers have been emailed, the non-litter box (and floor) have been cleaned and sanitized, and we’re still waiting to find out about the initiative/sticky situation. Some days all the productivity goes into undoing and redoing things that you thought were done already. The French have a saying for that: c’est la vie. But I have a saying too: Ce n’est pas une partie de la vie dont j’approuve…. [It’s not a part of life of which I approve….] (If you speak French, feel free to kindly edit and/or critique my grammar. I cheated and let the grand poo-bah that is the interwebs help me with my conjunctions and prepositions…. I wonder if that helped or hurt my cause?)

Days like this make me tired. I don’t build houses, or fences, or anything else. I’m sitting at a computer trying to catch up on email and psych myself up for doing the editing that needs to be done. But the little distractions, the ones that really aren’t a big deal and are fairly easily dealt with, derail me every time.

But. It’s amazing what a hot shower, an extra cup of coffee, a diet coke, or a minute to do my hair and put on makeup can do. So. Done whining. Or whinging – I love that word, just not when I hear someone indulging in the activity, even if it’s me. Onward. Besides, it may have been a slightly annoying morning, but it’s almost noon, so morning’s over anyway. Back to work….

Back to life. Back to reality.

Who knew I would ever quote Soul II Soul? I have refrained from repeating the…well, the refrain…quite as often as in the song, but the sentiment is apt. December of 2012 seems to be looming large and missing at the same time. It has blurring edges and soft lighting like a dream sequence in a bad soap opera, and it is best left in that ephemeral state. Now it’s time to be well and get about the business of life. And reality. And can someone please get this song out of my head?

Oh dear, the small tact elf in the back of my mind is reminding me that not all of you know why December was hard, and some may be offended. May it never be! Suffice it to say, I spent three weeks of December fighting the flu and/or a sinus infection while trying to prepare for my son’s birthday, for Christmas and for a week of traveling to visit family and friends. I enjoyed watching my son turn 10 (except for the complete surreality of it, of course); all the festivities of Christmas were beautiful, fun and moving; the visits with family members were wonderful, if occasionally chaotic; and I’m especially glad to welcome my two new nieces into the family. But. December was still exhausting. And not much of it had anything to do with the everyday real life that I live the rest of the year. And the two mommies who actually gave birth are allowed to be annoyed that I’m complaining about how hard my December was….

But now here I am in January. Of 2013. How did that happen? My son is 10, but still has anxiety attacks over tasting new foods. Despite having grown an inch in December. I’m sure of it. My daughter is getting close to 9, and her favorite answer to everything is “fine.” “No,” I say, “it’s not ‘fine;’ you may say ‘yes, ma’am’ or you may surrender your new ipod to me for the day.” Or the week. Again. “But mo-om!” I really didn’t expect the attitude to start this early. The current loss of the ipod is helping though. Children may be “hostages to fate,” but their toys are hostages to obedience. It’s a fair trade.

So parenting and getting past the entitlement that creeps into the minds of parents and children alike during a month when we get so much is part of the real life we’re getting back to. Going to school, having homework, using alarms, early bedtimes…all of them are part of life again this week. And I don’t get to go back to bed and rest or read either. Because I’m not sick anymore and there are things to be done. Groceries need to be bought, meals need to be cooked, the house needs to be cleaned, emails need to be answered, and words need to be written, edited, rewritten, and commented upon. Preferably while utilizing the Oxford comma…even if Oxford has abandoned it. Going to bed earlier might also be in order. Because waking up later isn’t an option. More’s the pity.

New Year’s Resolutions? No. I am resolved to get back to where I was in November, I don’t have energy to try anything new…. Though I am never averse to planning to lose a few pounds, get in shape and be more disciplined in my daily routine. Do those count?

Oh yeah, and I got a fabulous haircut. That I’m finally learning how to style. I loved it the day I got it done, but have been fighting with it for a week now. I think we have declared a detente and I love it again. Whew. Thanks so much to one of my dearest friends for your time and talent!