Last week my friend Jill and I flew to Nashville for two days of food and books and fun. We booked our flights separately. But I called the airline ahead to make sure we were seated together. Long flights at 4:00AM are better when you are seated by a friend.
We prechecked and went through security. Headed to the gate. Jill handed over her boarding pass and the agent welcomed her onboard. I handed over my ticket. Small pause.Then the following conversation took place.
Agent: I'm glad you are here. We have a new boarding pass for you. We had to change your seat.
Me: But I'm with my friend. I don't want a new seat.
Agent: Oh. You didn't book your flight with anyone so we assumed you were alone. I'm sorry. The plane is full and your seat was needed.
Me: But I want my seat back. I don't want to move. I want to sit with my friend.
Agent: I am sorry. A handicapped person needed the seat so she could sit by her caregiver.
Me: Humph. I even called the airline to make sure we were together. You have GOT to be kidding me.
Agent: We can give you airline miles.
Me: I don't want airline miles. I just want my seat. The spot between my eyebrows was now seriously creased.
Me: Ok FINE.
I took my new boarding pass and stomped down the ramp. Jill comforted and shrugged and honestly probably wished I'd shut up.
I took a deep breath and started preaching grace to my heart. Seriously, a handicapped person needed the seat. What was my problem? Breathing. Considered my two boarding passes. My old seat was 27A. My new seat was 26A. I can deal I guess. One row isn't a big deal. Sigh. 26 will be fine.
Glanced at Jill's boarding pass. She was seated in 26B.
Yes. My new boarding pass put me next to Jill.
The old boarding pass which I'd so carefully confirmed with the airline had us one row apart. I had thrown a fit, growled at an agent, ignored grace for someone who needed my seat and generally behaved badly. And God had been blessing me the entire time.
For the love. I'm a jerk.
I have a sneaky suspicion I do this all the time. Get annoyed when plans change. Growl at people. Frown and Fuss. Throw a fit when God changes my life in big and small ways. But I know His plans are for my good. I know even the painful and heartache things can bring great joy and glory and growth.
Sometimes the change means you get what you really wanted the whole time.
Row 26 was nice.
Earlier this week I was thinking about Quirky Faith. We're seven months into this grand calling. 133 blog posts plus all the fun on twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. I've worked through 24 books of the Bible for That's the Book and hosted 17 different people on Wall of Faith. Tons of fun. Lots of work. So much work I spun into a moment of doubt. Is this worth it? I gave myself a two minute pitty party and then prayed a cynical prayer.
Dear God. This Quirky Faith thing was your idea. I clearly need help. Like a famous person. Or some more epic action to blog about. People read that. Forget this Bible Stuff. Humph.
(If you are a long time reader of my blogs then you're already aware of where this post is going. If not you can catch up by reading Epic and Epic. Again.)
This was dangerous. God frequently calls me me out. He also has a sense of humor.
I went on with my day and set all things blog aside. When I got home I checked my twitter feed. And WOO HOO. Famous Person! Famous and funny and charming and kind! A famous person Retweeted my post and even read the blog.
The Ms. Liz Curtis Higgs famous author of Bad Girls of the Bible and a mountain of other books wrote and I quote :
"Terrific post, my sister. Honored to be included. P.S. Love knowing you have 2 kids and an aging cat. I have 2 cats and an aging husband...!"
She even talked about my cat!! My lovely aging cat!
Gosh I'm a goober.
After I ran around the house and showed my husband and my children and my cat and texted my book club girls a copy of the twitter post I finally settled down and got on with the nightly chores.
Took out the garbage, fed the cat, checked my daughter's homework. I was contemplating dealing with the piles in my bedroom. A mountain of mismatched socks in the corner, stack of books, yet to be unpacked backpack from our recent trip to Disneyland.
I wandered back to the bedroom to get started.
There was a suspicious odor as soon as I opened the door.
Did i mention my cat is aging? The cat is 16 years old. He's lost a lot of weight lately. I've been experimenting with new foods to try and fatten him up.
Tonight's menu didn't sit well.
The cat puked on the carpet. On the pile of mis-matched socks. On my backpack. I groaned.
I thought about throwing out the backpack. But I love it. It's traveled with me all over the world.
So I unpacked through puke and laughed. I had to pick through the nasty to rescue my extra phone charger. I threw out all the souveniers I'd brought home to make an album with, little maps of Disneyland and confetti. (Who am I kidding? I never make the actual albums anyway).
My kids were standing behind me as I cleaned up the mess making helpful gagging noises.
Somewhere in the midst of cleaning the carpet I remembered my cynical prayer.
One famous person and some puke delivered right on time. Lovely.
Oh how I love that God listens to me. That He laughs with me. That He reminds me to watch my attitude and my commitment. Clicks and subscribers and growth charts don't matter. But He sure does. His word is eternal and it does not return void. Boy how Prayer is powerful. I'm in.
Speaking of pirates; Monday's blog about Numbers reminded me of this pitiful story.
This is a cautionary tale. Pinterest lies. When I peruse Pinterest I get caught up in lists of great books and darling photos of baby animals. I laugh at stupid jokes, collect random quotes, wonder about the women who choose to paint their fingernails to look like cupcakes and I pin an occasional DIY page. For those of you not sucked in DIY means Do it Yourself. Not that I’ve actually done any of the brilliant DIY pages. I just pin them. Until this last week.
My family had an appointment to get our photo taken for the new church directory.
Side bar: A church directory is just a phone book with photos. Those of you who don’t attend or are new to attending church probably don’t fully appreciate the amazing function that a church directory serves. See what happens at church after the singing and before the sermon is a nifty little two-minute time called greeting. This is where you ooh and ahh at new babies, make lunch plans, welcome visitors, practice your handshake, catch up on your weekly hug quota and stretch your legs before settling in for the sermon. The problem is that after several weeks of greeting the same people you reach a point where you really can not again ask for their name. Here is where the new church directory is golden. Picture = name = no more weird greeting times.
Anyway. We had an appointment for family photos. I got home from work and realized we’d not picked out what we were going to wear. This put me into a slight mode of panic. One of my life goals is to never have a family photo qualify for the Awkward Family Photos website. Basically if you can control your hair, stick to plain backgrounds, leave the props at home and not wear matching plaid I think you are safe. We picked cute dresses for the girls and the resident chef voted for white button up shirts and jeans. Simple enough.
Problem is I’m only six months past my maternity jeans. My cute jeans don’t fit yet. I think this might have more to do with the package of Oreo’s I just finished off than the baby but that really is not the point. The point is that I bought a new pair of jeans just a couple of days prior. I’m short. They were too long. I had a Pinterest Pin that said “WHAT? This is absolutely amazing. Why am I just learning how to do this??? How to hem jeans the correct way leaving the original edging intact”. The pin had step by step photos and promised that I could hem my jeans properly in just 15 minutes.
I waddled into my spouse’s office roughly twenty minutes before we needed to leave for our photo appointment and asked him to fold up my jeans to the proper length. He gave me one of his looks. He asked if I really thought this was an appropriate time to be hemming jeans. I said “Of course, Pinterest says it only takes 15 minutes”. He snorted but dutifully turned my cuffs up.
I waddled downstairs and shrugged off my jeans and carefully followed the steps to hem. I pulled the first pant leg out and realized I’d sewn the leg shut. So I sighed. This is where I should have quit. Instead I pulled out the seam. This is where I should have remeasured. Instead I guessed. I followed the rest of the pin and successfully got everything to match the photos. This is where I should have checked the jeans. Instead I quite confidently cut off the excess.
I put the jeans back on and strutted upstairs. My sweet spouse looked at me. He held back a grin.
"When do you start your shift at Pirates of the Caribbean?"
Ah sarcasm. I snorted.
"I know….what do I do to fix it?"
"Put on a different pair of jeans."
I clearly need to stay off Pinterest. A friend sent me a pin about how to turn a pair of jeans into a hip little jean skirt. I believe she may be mocking me. Either that or trying to provide me with more blog material.
Like most kids, I had chores growing up. For awhile one of my jobs was taking out the garbage. I hated taking out the garbage. It took about five minutes. One summer I negotiated with my mother and traded my taking out the garbage chore for being in charge of the family laundry. It was a fierce negotiation.
I was very excited about my new job. I made myself a sign that I attached to a hat that said something about laundry queen. I learned how to sort. I learned how to use the machines. I folded. I even put away. This whole process took hours. I told people all about my coup at home with the laundry and garbage tradeoff. Somehow I thought I’d come out ahead. Clearly I had a lot to learn. Let me give you a piece of advice. Do not go up against my mother. You will lose. She’s charming enough though that you may think you won.
Yesterday I let my daughter wear a brand new white back to school shirt to church. This was not a problem. I then let her wear the shirt to a birthday party. Still not a problem. Then in a delusional moment I let her wear the shirt to help me pick blackberries. This was a problem. One of the ripe blackberries fell off the bush and hit her shirt. It was beautiful. Looked like a perfect stamp of a blackberry.
I grimaced, took off the shirt and headed to the laundry room. I rinsed out the blackberry and was about to rub the shirt with a stain stick when the resident chef peered over my shoulder. He said “you don’t put stain stick on a wet shirt. Just use detergent”. He handed me a bottle of detergent left over from when he actually purchased the stuff. He makes his own usually. Naturally. He then quite unwisely left me alone to my own devices.
Anyway, I stuck my finger in the detergent bottle and promptly pushed the pour spout into the bottle. Oops. I squished my hand up and stuck it down inside the detergent. I reached as far as I could and hooked the pour spout. I realized that I had become the monkey in that parable about how to trap a monkey with a coconut. There was no way to get my hand out and the spout out at the same time. So I shrugged, put the lid back on and put it in the cabinet. I didn’t tell. This is where a blog is a little dangerous. We get to find out if my spouse reads my blog.
I scritched and scratched and scrubbed. The blackberry stain would not move. I finally wadded the shirt up, left it in the sink and walked away. About an hour later I walked back in and was amazed that the shirt was clean! The stain was gone! I must be a miracle worker in the laundry room. My husband walked in and looked over my shoulder. “I got it out, the bleach worked”. He walked out. I was deflated.
I have taken a new vow to stay out of the laundry room. Maybe I learned something about negotiation from my mother after all.
One of my most viewed blogs ever is Epic. I can understand this. It was nasty and hilarious which is a go to win on the Internet. Sad commentary but as I will throw myself (or anyone in close proximity) to the wolves for views I figured this next story deserved some attention.
As you may know, the don’t eat diet was successful. And as a result my sweet spouse needed a new wardrobe. Which led to months of friendly reminders (some people call it nagging) from me to the resident chef. And eventually we ended up at a local store…which shall remain nameless….but is a large box type store where you can buy men’s suits.
My three year old was being especially cuddly. Nice. I need to learn to run far away when this happens. My then nine year old was behaving and I was hopeful we would we purchase said suit without incident. Shopping with kids is not for the faint hearted.
Anyway, to cut to the chase- the three year old cuddled in and threw up. Down my shirt. In my hair. In her hair. All over the floor of the nice men’s suit store. The poor good looking twenty something sales guy gagged. My husband grimaced. My nine year old shrieked and hid. I laughed.
I left carrying the three year old and her puke and dragging the humiliated tween with me. My husband dealt with the store guy. Clearly we were now committed to purchasing a suit. Can’t very well walk away after we desecrated their store.
I hauled my children and myself up the escalator and into the public bathrooms to try and wash off before putting anyone in my car. My eldest refused to go in the bathroom with us. She hid outside in the photo booth. I didn’t blame her. There is only so much that a nine-year-old ego can handle.
The little one and I went in the bathroom. Stripped off outer layers of nasty clothing. Soaped up liberally. Put hands and under the water faucet.
Could not get it to turn on.
Insult to injury. I am one of those digitally challenged people. Siri doesn’t understand things I say. My car blue tooth never hears me correctly. I can’t get automatic hand dryers to do anything. And apparently the sinks at the mall are beyond my ability to control.
And so I wiped soap and puke all over my jeans. Took off my kiddo’s clothing and wrapped her up in my coat and hauled all of us to the car.
It was Epic. Again.
The resident chef and I are on a diet. It shall remain nameless but basically the terms of the diet are you don’t eat. Effective. Hard to eat out. However, we went to dinner last night with my husband’s family to celebrate a birthday.
We went to a local restaurant that specializes in seafood. Loud, crowded, great view of the river. At any rate we previewed the menu and agreed to split some shrimp, split some broccoli, split a side salad and split a small steak so we had an approved diet plan. We got there at six.
The manager on duty warned us that they had several people call in so he was busing tables as they were understaffed. Way understaffed. Our food took a full hour to arrive. I was fairly proud of my kids and nephews and nieces as they all held it together. All the adults were actively playing tic tac toe and hang man and those little connect the square boxes. My daughter informed us that the “real” rules to hangman require that not only does the little man get head, body, arms and legs before she was out but he also had to get 12 spikes of hair and freckles. We went with it. Anything to keep the kids in line while the monster wait for food happened.
When everyone’s food arrived mine did not. The waiter came by and sheepishly said the kitchen had over cooked my steak so were doing a new one and would bring it “in two minutes”. Twenty minutes later and everyone else is done (except my spouse who waited for me….we were splitting remember?). Tada! My food arrived. We sighed happily and split our food. We each ate a bite of broccoli. We each ate a bite of shrimp. My youngest leaned over for and asked mommy for a hug. I thought how nice is this. Dinner out, kids behaving, nice view, hug from a cuddly two year old.
The sound of throwing up in public is louder than the 12’s on game day in Seattle. The people at the table next to us gasped and moved away. The entire restaurant went silent and looked our way.
This was nice because then they could hear her PUKE A SECOND TIME…
..AND A THIRD.
No one moved.
I was covered. My daughter was covered. Puke in our hair, down our shirts, pants and shoes. Puke on the table. On my steak. Puke in the high chair and all over the floor.
At this point I started laughing.
The stressed manager was quite loudly telling various people to go clean it up. No one moved.
My sweet spouse grabbed the youngest child (covering himself in puke) and headed for the door. I told our waiter we were leaving and our family would cover our bill.
I changed the poor baby on the outside bench. Last time we got vomit in a car seat we threw the car seat out so I didn’t want to repeat that. My eldest wanted to know if she could get her after dinner prize that was promised her on the menu.
I gave her the mom look.
“Honey. Look at your mom. I have puke from head to toe. I am not marching back into this restaurant to ask for their after dinner prize. Get in the car”. We got in the car and drove home with the windows down. I gave the eight year old a diaper and told her to catch any more puke in the diaper. To her credit she didn’t respond and quietly took the diaper.
She gave her sister the big sister look.
When we got home I threw out the kid’s shoes. So not worth it. My suede boots and leather jacket I may try to save. I may not. My husband is my hero. He drove by for take out and did the laundry.
I don’t think we will be going back there.
I love Jesus. I think my two daughters can change the world. I think you can too.
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