Is it just me or do Wednesdays seem to come around faster now?
I’m off again at the end of the week for Louisiana. We’ll be returning to Slidell, where there is still work to be done. Can you believe it is three years after Hurricane Katrina and there are still roofs that need repair? Homes that need drywall? People who need help and healing?
Can you believe that tomorrow will be two years since Jeff has been gone? As many of you know, I am not happy about the situation. But I am peaceful now, in ways that cannot readily be described in a few words or a million words. I know how he suffered, I know how he loved, and I know that he did not want any of us to see him weaken. He wanted us all to have the brilliant memory of his laugh, his quick and frequent smile, and the knowledge that his heart was big enough to hold everyone, and still does.
PS. You might get a newsletter next week from Louisiana, but then again…. you might not.
Guess we’ll both be surprised to see how that turns out.
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.
Thanks for helping me through this year of memories.
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.
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.
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.
(Correction: someone pointed out that there are four C’s. Ok, fine. Cat, Chiropractic, Car & … Correction or Continued. Or, maybe, Carrots, because I had to toss two wilted ones last week. )😉
In what seems like a significantly too short a time, HBlu is on his way back to me.
As he is being re-lodged in the back seat, I begin my questioning.
“Wait,” I say. “We’re supposed to pick up his thyroid medication. It was ordered last week. Did he get his blood draw to check that the thyroid med isn’t harming his liver? Did he get his steroid shot? How did he present? Did he hiss or flinch when his back was adjusted? Should he still be on the pain meds?”
Yep, I’m that crazy cat mama.
Back he went; back out he came. He was reported to be a sweet boy, still very tight and hunching, but no fussing or hissing. Seems like HBlu reserves that stuff for only me. Blood drawn, meds in hand. Great! Off we go, ahead of schedule.
Or, not. The strangest thing: turning the key released 50 deranged woodpeckers ambushing my engine.
My first thought was, “What? I got here just fine.” Truly, the car started without any trouble at home. I mean, key in, crank, tah-dah!
Ok. Any doors open? Nope. Any warning lights? Nope. In park? Yep. The anti-theft blinking red dot was engaged. Hmm. I locked and unlocked or unlocked and locked the doors and tried again.
The peckers were replaced by a marching band of squirrels made up entirely of cymbals.
Because denial is ingrained trait of mine, I waited about 30 seconds and attempted a 3rd try.
A conga line of long-nailed, tap-dancing vermin-fans of the Squirrel Band partied on behind them.
At this point, second guessing sets in. “What? Did I suddenly forget how to start a car?”
I gave my engine a full 60 seconds to clear its throat, positive it would get a grip on itself and start.
Nope. Same awful ratcheting noise.
One big calming breath later, I pulled out my AAA card and made the call of defeat.
AAA is 100% automated now. But, brilliantly, they will send you a link to click which will help the rescuer pin-point you. Which, 100% beats my, “Um, I’m off US-12, behind a Tim Horton’s, in an office strip mall, in front of a vet’s office” would-be offering.
Appreciatively, the kindly, yet sterile, robotic informed me my approximate wait time would be 1 hour and 15 minutes.
So, I phoned a friend. Chatted, waited. Waited, chatted. Checked the arrival time update and it had moved 10 minutes in the wrong direction. Harrumph, but… Ok.
As it got closer to my supposed saving, I began the pivoting, neck-stretch search. I was watching the driveway entrance and noticed the car next to me had a holographic purple hued blue coat. It was a really pretty and distracting color. I sat there contemplating whether it could be a custom color or if I could get a car like that. Ponderance complete, I glanced over at the driveway.
No savior insight, on my eye-swing back, I noticed that the car alongside me had an agitated driver. On the phone. Staring at me. Or staring back at my unfocused stare. Clearly not amused.