Friday, October 21, 2011

When It's Difficult to Focus on the Main Things

I had somewhere to be on Tuesday night, and after picking up the children from school, I needed to bathe and get ready.  The need to be somewhere always presents the most unusual roadblocks for me...

I explain to Miss Noteworthy that I needed to get ready for my evening out and could she help me out with RNR and Bonus.  And, of course, she says yes.  Then, she goes up to her room and shuts the door.  I've yet to discover what is so amusing in her room.  Actually, I know she is drawing, writing or reading with intermittent texting to and from friends.  I guess I'm on my own without anyone to run interference.

I tell Bonus I am about to go take a bath and ask him if he needs anything.  Holding the clamshell box in his hand, he tells me that TODAY is THE day that he MUST watch the Barney Halloween video.  And he has it in his precious little hand, so I can't tell him that I don't know where the video is.  Foiled again!  Why didn't I remember to throw out those Barney tapes?  And, of course, the video needs to rewind, so I sit there and wait.  And wait.  And wait.  How long is this video?  But, finally, the numbers on the counter start slow, so I know it is nearly finished.  Bonus will be occupied for the entire time I am bathing and dressing, so his video idea is actually a good thing.  And, yes, thanks for pointing out to me that in this moment I am blissfully happy to be using the television as a babysitter.     

My home phone rings.  When I look at the caller ID, it is a real person and not a telemarketer.  I think about letting it roll to voice mail, but I know this friend is having a hard time right now and probably has a real need.  I answer.  "Reckless, can you please... ?"  "Sure, but can you send me an email with the details because I'm running a little late this afternoon."  In my mind, this literally translates to "Too much talking.  Just let me get off the phone right now because I haven't even figured out what I am wearing tonight yet."  Ugh. 

What am I going to wear?  Because nothing is fitting right now, and I keep recycling the same three outfits.  They have become my uniform  And I haven't done laundry yet this week.  This may be a real problem....

Next obstacle....

Oh my goodness.  I just remembered that I am actually supposed to BRING something to this dinner party.  Food.  I talked about it last night with Mr. Incredible and asked him for suggestions, but then I apparently lost consciousness.  And totally spaced on this most important detail.  And my cupboards are pretty bare.  I have come up with some pretty creative concoctions in the past, but even my friend Julie over at Mommie Cooks probably could not do much with Stove Top, canned mushrooms, and what was once fresh broccoli but now is waving its white flag and begging me to find the time to move it from veggie drawer to the trashcan.  This is just not going to work.

I'll call Pei Wei.  I will buy a huge salad which will mean I need to leave my house fifteen minutes earlier than I had planned.  Hurry, hurry, hurry!

Click, pop, WOW!  Click, pop, WOW!  WOW! WOW!  WOW!  That's the sound of my text box going crazy.  Mr. Incredible picked this text alert sound that at first I thought was obnoxious but has since grown on me.  Again, I think of ignoring the messages.  But, five in a row?  Someone might really be having an emergency.  I go to my purse and pull out the phone, and thankfully, none of these require my immediate attention.    I wonder what is going to hold me up next.

Except for the sounds of a creepy purple dinosaur in the background, everything stays quiet.  It's my chance to make a break for it and jet up to the tub!  I head for my bathroom.

Mr. Incredible left town on Tuesday.  This inevitably means the house and/or my van will decide to revolt. I got undressed and turned on the water to begin my bathing process.  As the water reaches about six inches deep, I stick my toe in.


The day was blustery, so the pilot light on the water heater had gone out.  Air seems to come down the roof vent for the water heater and then blow out the pilot light on exceptionally windy days.  I don't know if this would happen in other parts of the country.  Most other regions seem to understand that if you put your water heater in the attic and then said water heater explodes on you that your house will sustain water damage.  But, not in Texas, buddy.  We put 'em in our attics.  We spit in the face of logic.  Why is this?

Well, the cold water in my tub meant I was going to have to go upstairs in the attic and re-light the pilot light.  And that means pulling down the ten foot wood ladder from the ceiling.  It's an extra heavy duty ladder, which means it weighs extra, too.  And I have to reach up over my head to pull it down.  You can imagine the injury potential.

I really had no desire to combine a lighter, gas, tall ladders, and my naked body.  I had flashes of me trying to cover my singed body while explaining to an EMT why I was up in the attic sans clothing.  Not a pretty picture.  I went to my drawers and fished out an old t-shirt and workout shorts I have owned for more years than I care to share (ok... at least 20) and got dressed.  

I had not had to get up in the attic in quite some time.  And that attic access ladder weight seemed to have multiplied exponentially since the last time I had to pull it down.  I summoned Miss Noteworthy and asked her to pull back as hard as she could on the ceiling access panel while I wrestled with getting the folded ladder down through the space without hitting the woodwork or my head.  I got the first hinge unfolded, and then I got stuck for a minute.  I just plain wasn't tall enough or strong enough to make the darned thing come on down.  So I had to stand there holding a wooden ladder until RNR could get a chair over to me.  Y'all, that ladder was HEAVY.  And I had done Kenpo from p90x for the first time in over a year the day before.  My thighs were on fire.  Why can't Mr. Incredible have a clone who I keep in a closet for such type of emergencies?

Well, RNR brings the chair and I climb up, but it's too close to where I'm pulling the ladder down.  No go.  RNR helps me adjust the chair.  I climb back up, and this time it's too far away.  I have no leverage. Finally, she gets it in just the right spot for me.  I finally wrangled it down, and I start up the ladder with the grill lighter. 

Now, I know how to light the pilot light, but it always makes me nervous.  So, I re-read the instructions printed on the tank a couple of times so that I won't do anything to put myself, my kids, or my home at risk for being blown up.  Turn everything to off.  Check.  Wait five minutes for any residual gas to clear.  

Wait five minutes!  I don't have five minutes.  I'm already twenty minutes deep into this completely unplanned chore, and I have to leave in under forty.  I wanted to straighten my hair and look glamorous for the evening.  I guess I will choose safety and wear curls this evening.

Turn the gas cock to Pilot.  Check.  Follow gas pipe into bottom of water tank and ready lighter over pilot light.  Push gas cock in and click lighter.  Click lighter again.  And again.

Nothing.  No tiny flame.  No hiss of burning gas.

Pull lighter out.  Look it over.  Shake it to make sure it has fuel.  Panic a little because you are now running way behind, and there is still no hot water in the house.  Consider calling a neighbor to ask if you can hop in her shower.  Decide it would take too much time.  Repeat all pilot-light-lighting steps above.  Still nothing.

Third try.  Decide to throw caution to the wind and turn up the gas ever so slighty with the lighter flame clicked to on.  Bingo.  Now, we're cooking with gas. Or bathing.  Or...whatever.

I know that I need a good fifteen minutes before I will have any chance at hot water.  This is a perfect time for figuring out what to wear.  Derby has increased the size of my thighs and my already ample butt.  I really have vey few choices in my closet that are 1) cute, 2) comfortable, & 3) actually will zip.  In the end, I decide that the jeans in the dirty laundry will have to do.  And then I grab a tube top and layer it with a sweater from the bowels of my closet and a gold suede jacket.  I fish out a pair of green suede wedges that had not seen the outside of my closet for years.  Dark green and silver accessories. 

All clothing decided upon and placed on the bed, I test the water and thankfully enough of the icy edge has been taken off that I can actually get in and relax for a short moment.

And in this short moment, it hits me that I have been scurrying around and worrying about all the wrong things.  I mean, sure I needed a bath, I needed to wear something, and I said I would bring food.

But, these are my NOGs I'm going to spend the evening with.  And I desperately need to see these women to take my mind off other things.  Or maybe to help me put my thoughts on the right things.  These are the ladies who remind me that it's not about me.  These are the ladies who know the bulk of my mistakes and still love me.  These are the ladies I would call at four in the morning if I needed them.  And they don't care if I'm dressed in my 20 year old workout shorts.  Or if I throw my dirty hair up in a clip.  Or if I show up empty-handed.  They just want to be with me.

I take a breath and offer a prayer for these women and the place they have in my heart and my life.  I rinse my hair and emerge from the tub knowing that my focus has been shifted.  This hurried, harried, difficult moment will pass if I remember to breathe and allow the Lord and the people He has placed in my life to help me change my focus and change my heart. 

I didn't wear the 20 year old workout shorts, but I know I could have.
The NOGs.  No Other God.  Thank you for your presence and love when I am at my worst, when I am at my best, and all the in-between times.   


  1. You are beautiful! Even in your 20 year old work out shorts while dangling precariously out of the attic with curly hair. Especially with empty cabinets mocking you from below. This is why I love you!

  2. And isn't it funny that I thought you LOOKED LIKE A HOT MOMMA and AT YOUR BEST!!! LOL!! Naked lady in the attic. Nice. ; )