I’ve been quarantined since Sunday. I didn’t even go to church. My neighbor who is celebrating his first crop of honey is banned from bringing over my jar until I’m over this hookanockus. And worst of all, my new grandbaby is at his house, sleeping and eating and growing without me. I’m missing the newborn stage, and I hate it.
The thing about hookanockus, other than it clearly makes me cross, is that it affects every other illness I have. And vice versa. It’s a lose-lose situation, except that I have time to sit around and read and think all the thoughts and binge on Facebook. On the off chance you’re interested, here are my thoughts as I lie in quarantine:
1. If you’re a writer, snag Brenda Ueland’s book, If You Want to Write. It gives a discouraged writer permission to chuck every criticizing, demeaning, mean thing ever said to her about her writing. And it encourages her to be herself. To let it flow, let it snow, let it go, let it show. To not caring a lick about what another might say or think of her, for then she will be original. She may not be good. Especially in her first draft. But she will be herself, and that’s what the world wants and needs. Someone who has ideas and fears and solutions they’ve not heard before, said in a way that hasn’t been plucked to death by rules and revisions. Brenda wrote this book long, long ago, and I suspect this is the reason her advice is so fresh. She lived in a different world, where maybe everyone wasn’t out to get 10,000 “likes” per article written solely for show and never for legit expression of their true selves.
2. I’m getting on toward the end of Where The Red Fern Grows. I stopped off at the part where two bratty brothers bullied Billy and his coon dogs into a challenge to find the “ghost coon.” Old Dan and Little Ann, Billy’s dogs, did find and tree the elusive ghost coon. But one of the bratty brothers insisted on being, well … a jerk, and ended up getting himself killed by falling on the ax Billy lent him. Quite traumatic. In fact, most of the book is traumatic or sad or discouraging, which is having a positive effect on my emotional disposition as I sit for days on end slopping up mucous and doing my best to not sneeze on Shaun.
3. I wrote a big fat blog about the NFL, and realized I’m just as fed up with writing about politics as I am hearing about them. So I erased it. The world doesn’t need one more opinion. One more string of words demanding the world see things a certain way. What we all need to be is quiet and respectful. Yes, respectful, even of the Emperor. “You don’t have to respect the President, just the position of the presidency.” That’s what I heard growing up. Really? Because I Peter 2:17 says honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.
Not his position.
Even if he’s a duffus.
4. In better news, I am done refinishing my dining room table. I’ve owned it for about sixteen years. It used to be oak, but now it’s covered in Annie Sloan off-white paint, and it’s been aged and waxed and looks sort of like a newbie tackled it and tried to be a professional. But I like it. For my first painting project, I think it turned out swell. It’s inviting, and since it is aged, if someone nicks it, I don’t have to have a meltdown. There’s something lovely, therapeutic even, about taking new paint and slopping it over old wood. I’m confused as to why we age the furniture after we paint the furniture. If we wanted something old and dinged, why not just leave it be? However, I confess that I do enjoy the aging process. Aging, see, is license to destroy, and given the frustrating nature of my life, I need a good destruction session here and there. Waxing, though, is not fun. It stinks (literally), and is probably a carcinogen. Plus it requires a little more elbow grease than I possess. It does protect the paint and aging job, though, so I put up with it. The project took me about three weeks to complete, because I’m slow. And because of drying time. And because the strain it put on my neck gave me two headaches which always requires a few days recovery time. Next piece of furniture I’ve vowed to hoist up to waist level, somehow (a little help, Shaun!), to ensure I’m not bending this way and that, straining anything that might hurt a Twinkie like myself.
5. I went out to feed my buddy (that’s bunny, said with stuffed sinuses), Calvin, the other day, and to clean up his cage and lay fresh hay. When I removed the poop tray from the bottom of the cage, a handsome, orange butterfly flew out. I must say I do enjoy having a cut up of a bunny with a sophisticated, cold sober name who poops butterflies. Currently, he’s the only one willing to get very close to me, so I’m planning on a cuddle session this evening. Who knows, maybe he’ll belch up a fish or something.
6. We celebrated our 28th anniversary last Saturday. Kind of dawned on me that being married so long is rare, which made me wonder if we are weird or just dedicated. I was only seventeen when we married, and some family, mostly on Shaun’s side, were skeptical. I would’ve been, too. Shaun was marrying a sickly, young girl who was raised in the 80’s. I mean, how encouraging and hopeful would that look to any person with their head screwed on straight? It didn’t help that we had to cancel our original plan of getting married on August 20th, because I could no longer get my heart medications due to too many patients dropping dead from their side effects. This in turn led to open heart surgery and a pacemaker implant (they’re not the same thing, so that made two surgeries in two weeks). In Houston. Two weeks before we were to marry. And we were from Colorado. I’ll never forget taking the entire box of wedding invitations and ripping them up. When it came time to get married (for real) on September 23rd, I didn’t bother sending invitations. Since I’d still be recovering from the surgeries, I dwindled down my guest list to less than half of what it was. Only family and very close friends were invited, because we knew I wouldn’t be able to keep up with very many guests after the ceremony.
But back to dedication. I think we were both dedicated as heck. I think it’s possible for a seventeen year old to know what marriage is, that it is hard (because she experienced her parents’ marriage), and be just as committed as a 25 year old. It’s a heart issue. Not an age issue.
By the grace of God, we started out dedicated and have stayed dedicated. Sometimes it’s been easy. Other’s not so much, especially for Shaun. He’s been required to give up his time, his money, sometimes his dreams because of me. I don’t cherish being the reason for that. But it is what it is. Love (twue wuve, for you Princess Bride fans) is a laying down of your life for another. Daily dying to self so that others might live. Granted, that’s been a two way street. I’m not a bon-bon eater or a soap opera watcher. If I’m even a smidgen able, I’m up mopping or cooking or crafting or something that will keep the place running and make life meaningful and pleasant. I’m not a great money-maker. But I try to be a true servant when and where I can.
Those are my stories and I’m sticking to them. I’m tired now, and my head feels stuffed with cotton and detached from my body. So I will sleep before my daughter gets here with some medicine and Sweet Mint Orbit gum. She’s not coming in. I told her to throw the package on the doorstep and run for her life. She’s due to deliver grandbaby #6 in five weeks, and the last thing she needs is to be infected with these joy-killing, energy-zapping germs I’m spreading everywhere, including Shaun’s keyboard. Oops. Sorry, honey!
Until next time … toodle-oo.