Down for the Count Up, 10

PICTURE THIS AGAIN, OCTOBER 3, 2016

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I found them. I found them in the last place I looked, which would have been amusing like the long-standing joke, except I wasn’t amused. I was done.

During my weeks of frantic searching, I found myself revisiting the same places.  When I didn’t find what I’d been looking for in any of the obvious places, I logically made a firm list, of course.

I won’t bore you with all the details, although there were some things that bear mentioning. I rediscovered reams of specialty papers, printable stickers, printable window clings, printable fabric, printable shrink-dinks, printable business cards and a complicated foldy-card thing that I’m not even sure I would ever attempt again.

As exciting as all that was, once I’d been through my list, re-searched all the places I’d searched before and more, I set it aside and let my eyes leak a little. Not just once, either, but when there’s nothing you can do, there’s nothing you can do.

Early Saturday morning, I took myself on a 3-mile walk. I came home exhausted, weepy and probably a little low in the sugar department.  Chomping a nectarine, I headed for a shower and fell apart.

The pictures had become a hangnail part of my life I just couldn’t properly trim off.

To be honest, writing this blog has been hard. I’d been avoiding truly crying for weeks; the overwhelmed, sobbing kind. But, the time had come and I gave in, voicing aloud what I’d been thinking so long.

“God, I need help.’ I choked. “I don’t want it to be ten years. I don’t want it to be any years!”

It took a bit to get myself together and decide I was being stupid. I figured I might as well seal this episode up and do what I had to do.

I needed to move some things from one location to another, so I did.

Halfway through that, there they were.

I didn’t recognize what it was at first. Randomly fanning/flipping through a few pages, I finally focused enough to figure it out.

I had been looking for a mailing envelope or one of those green marbley-looking cheap sleeves they used to give way back when you ordered actual picture prints by standing at a counter and filling out awkward envelopes.

Chronically arranged, in a sleeved booklet I had apparently decided need to be fancied up with scrapbook paper, was my lost capsule.

I wonder at the timing, wonder how I could not remember what I did.

Wondering. Just wondering.

Joyously sharing them with you now.

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Thanks for helping me through this year of memories.

More Sacred

So, that’s how the scroll saw came to live in the computer room closet.

Jeff read the manual (sort of), but that’s as far as he got. His legs were giving out, and we had other things to concentrate on. I also made him promise not to use it for the first time when I wasn’t home. If he could break a toe while shaving his head… sawing surely needed to be supervised.

And that’s how the scroll saw ended up in the 2010, house sold, moving sale. It didn’t make it to a table until the second day, because I had imagined it would be harder to unearth from that over-stuffed closet. I marked it at $50 thinking that’d be a good starting amount. I didn’t have the box or the manual, but it was brand-new, never used and maybe someone would know what to do with it.

A little after 3 PM on the last day, a young couple came in. “Hmm,” the husband commented. “Honey? Look at this!”

“What is it?” she asked.

“A scroll saw, just like the one I rented last week for $85.00. I could buy this one and we’d never have to rent one again!”

“Oh,” she considered, then continued. “I just don’t think we can afford that right now, honey,” as she moved on to look at other items.

The fellow just stood there mesmerized.

Knowing I’d never use and not wanting to struggle it back into the closet or move it to Ann Arbor, I whispered to my gregarious friend, “He can have it for $35.00.”

Because she’s the outgoing one who has no problem dickering with yard salers or yard sale customers I gave her the appropriate lenience to do as she pleased.

From her perch near the cashbox, she announced the offer loudly, adding the key phrase, “It’s never been used!”

That’s when I heard it. The whimper.

I laughed out a bark, and leaned closer to my cohort. “That’s the exact same sound Jeff made when we bought that thing!”

He looked at his wife beseechingly and she slowly nodded her approval. As he stood there holding the saw, he told us that he and his wife were renovating their home. “Thank you so much. Thank you so much,” he kept repeating.

“Never been used,” my friend repeated as they headed-out. “Her husband passed!” she called after him, stopping them on the threshold of exiting.

I really thought that man was going to cry as he turned to stare at me. “It will get put to good use,” he answered quivering. “I promise it will get used.”

I may have lost money on that deal, but I gained another blessed insight into the non-coincidences of GOD’s careful plans.

What was that scroll saw worth? $215.00, $115, $62.50, $50.oo or $35.00?

Making Jeff happy, which made me happy, which made that family happy = sacredly priceless.

Quote for the Week:

One more thing, October 6, 2020, my friend, cohort and kindred soul, Paula, passed away.

At first I was like, “Really, Paula? Today?”

But, then, I let go a chuckle-sob, thanking her for not giving me a different date to commemorate.

If it a day had to suck, anyway, it might as well have been that one.

Countdown: 35, 20, 15 and 1

First, don’t freak out.

Second, you know it’s coming, so we might as well count it down together.

35 days away. Seems like plenty to prepare for a train wreck, if you were expecting one.

I’m not wholly sure if you should be expecting one or not. I don’t know if I should be, either.

I’ve set aside 14 days. Just in case.

I’ve also put myself out there – every day – since that day someone I didn’t know said something that changed everything.

Followed by that day, I thought I was safely anonymous amongst 66K people; letting out what I’d learned on that something someone said day on inspirational site.

Trent Shelton. Remember when I suggested y’all follow him?

Well, no one told me they did. So, I found out the hard way that I hadn’t been honest with the universe as stealthily as I imagined. That night I wrote to no one but myself. That morning I found out my words had been seen.

Notification: 2 likes.

?

Clicked out of curiosity; hoping to find a kindred discussionist or two, only to nauseously realize I’d inadvertently let my private cat out the bag.

Those two likes? My brother and my brother-in-law. Cowardly non-addressed, at least, until now.

Since then, though. Since October 2020, there’s been this reoccurring theme. Everywhere I turn.

Books I’ve read, motivational quotes, inspirational stories, sermons I’ve heard, songs I’ve taken to, have all been telling me the same thing:

“You’re not the one who died.”

Obviously, I’ve been well aware of that. What I haven’t been aware of is… anything else.

It’s entirely mind boggling. 35 days until 15 not 20. 20 is the sun eclipsed by the 15 moon, because. My God. 15?

It’s going to be a bit of a non-chronological heap. I’m almost out of time, but I wanna get the good stuff in or get it out or just share it dammit.

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One request: If you’ve got a JSK story, share it on Knabble. Or email it to me.

I’ll get it out there for you. For us; for all of us.

An Anniversary, An Eggplant Plan

After the phone calls, after dinner, we settled into our comfortable spots.

During a commercial, we started talking about where we’d go for our 5th anniversary dinner. There was no contest, really. Sal’s Italian Restaurant in Tecumseh. Close to our almost-in-town townhouse, it had been a great favorite Friday night, take-away spot for us.

It was the first place outside of New York, I’d ever had a good Italian Wedding soup. The garlic bread was perfectly garlick-y, beautifully buttery and sublimely sprinkled with parm. The red sauce was perfectly saucy, from an East Coast perspective.

Sal’s eggplant parmesan was wonderfully and deliciously authentic, too.

Not so long before Jeff brought me to Sal’s, I made this dish for him. We’d been dating about a month, and it was supposed to be our first stay-in, dinner-in, at my Okemos apartment.

It was awful. Bitter and mushy; with raised forks, we watched each other watching gooey, grayish globs weeping through the tines.

He asked me how long I’d salted it before cooking. I accompanied my dumbfounded look with the teary explanation that I had just winged it. “Gotta salt it,” Jeff sagely advised. “Even then, it’s not so great, sometimes.” We went out for Mexican.

I was so enthralled by Sal’s version, that Jeff happily tried a bite. Even though he’d been down that road before. Even though he wasn’t fond of that particular nightshade. Even if it had been salted, fried and layered with cheese, his aversion to eggplant rivalled my aversion to cauliflower, even if it had been salted, fried and smothered in cheese.

Sitting in Sal’s, I watched Jeff contemplatively chew for a bit, and laughed when he decisively summarized, “I’d rather have the chicken.”

Jeff mentioned Evans Street Station as an alternative. Because we’d already be dressed up for our church photo, I considered that. It was so sweet of him to mention the fanciest restaurant in town. A few years after opening, it was still on our to-do list. We just hadn’t made it there, yet.

“Maybe, some other time,” I smiled. “I’m really missing Sal’s. It’s the first place we ever went to dinner in town. So, that kind of makes it ‘our place’, too.”

“You won’t get any arguments from me!” Jeff grinned.

Quote for the Week: 2019 07 16 The best celebrations aren’t always the most expensive jakorte

 

Not, yet, we haven’t!

Before I made it back to the kitchen, the phone rang, again.

Jeff grabbed that call, too. Another one-sided conversation commenced.

“Oh, hi! How are you?” he greeted, warmly.

“When’s that?”

“Oh, on the 6th? Well, that’s our anniversary. Let me check…”

“Hey, they’re takin’ pictures for the church directory,” Jeff shouted out to me. “They wanna know if we can get our photo done next Friday. We don’t have anything planned, do we?”

“Not, yet, we haven’t.” I answered. “What time is the latest appointment? Probably can’t get there before 6.”

“Didja hear that?” Jeff asked the caller. “Ok. 6 o’clock, it is. What’s that?”

His voice swelled with happiness and pride; his answer booming out of a mile-wide smile. “We’ve been married 5 years!”

“Not, yet, we haven’t!” I shouted back.

“Didja hear that?” Jeff guffawed. “She said, not yet, we haven’t.”

I wonder what the other person’s impression was of my retort. To Jeff and I, it was a silly, humorous complaint and retort. A full-swing, fast-paced verbal dance, we often threw at each other. It stemmed first from frustration, and later, my fear.

Years before, Jeff had either done something I had asked him not to, or hadn’t done something I had asked him to do. Whichever it was, my ending escalated to, “You keep that up and we’re not gonna make it to our 5th anniversary!”

I continued to use it, after that. Sometimes, joking. Sometimes, not.

I used it when he’d come back from the kitchen with a bowl of ice cream, never having asked me if I wanted some. I used it when Jeff accidentally said something that could be hilariously misconstrued as a complaint, but very much wasn’t.

I used it after philosophical discussions, when we could not find a common ground. I used it when things didn’t quite go the way I wanted. I used it when he’d joke with a waitress that I needed a whole ‘nother day to look at the menu. I used it to emphasize the damaging stupidity of chewing tobacco. I used it, creatively, in countless ways.

No matter which way it went, though, Jeff’s reply followed formula, too. It always started with, “You wouldn’t be so lucky!”

It always ended with a variation of a good-natured, extended promise. “I’m gonna live ‘til I’m 80! You’ll see.” “I’m gonna live so long, you’d wish you’d gotten rid of me.” “I’m gonna be botherin’ you for a long, long time, Wort.”

I don’t doubt the person on the other side of the phone knew we were kidding. I just wonder if  our conversation ever crossed their mind, again.

Quote for the Week: 2019 07 02 Some inside jokes are easy to explain jakorte