Thursday, July 18, 2013

Turn Down Service

I just cleaned the kitchen counters. Well, not really cleaned, but recycled the piles of papers that were stacked up. I put the cereal bowls from the counter into the dishwasher instead of into the sink, that black hole of a waiting area that all family members add to and add to until someone finally gets fed up enough to load  the dishwasher.

If you are a long-time reader, you may remember that Tim's inexplicable premarital request was for "Clean Counters." He later attempted to renegotiate and request something a little more frisky and a lot less practical, but I was not up for it. A deal is a deal. So I've pretty much kept the counters clean all these years.

But this week, a week where it seems as if everything I try to do ends in crushing disappointment, I just let things pile up. I didn't write. I didn't straighten. I took off my clothes  at night and threw them on the floor. I considered wallowing. It's hot as heck outside, so grumpiness and wallowing might be in order even if I didn't seem to be running up against brick walls at every turn. A workman left the back door open one day, running up our electric bill and filling the house with mosquitoes and I could barely muster an, "Oh well."

One morning, a 30 second burst of gumption hit me and I stripped Tim's and my bed. I washed and dried the sheets and deposited them back in our room. That night, Tim was out late at a softball game. Come bedtime, I looked at that pile of sheets and knew there was no way I was going to be able to do the tugging and pulling and humping of the king-sized mattress necessary to get even just the fitted sheet on, so I crawled on top of the lovely bare mattress pad and fell asleep.

At various times yesterday I thought of putting the sheets on, but other things took precedence. Like yelling at Shadow that it was NOT time for her nightly meal at noon. And giving in and feeding her by 2 pm. And celebrating my beautiful daughter's 12th birthday with lunch out and a long anticipated trip to the mall for a  CELL PHONE!


When I headed to bed last night, way past my bedtime, I pulled back the covers to find crisp white sheets and a sleeping husband. Tim had made the bed. And I got to experience that rare and wonderful feeling of crawling into a bed made by someone else. It's just different somehow, isn't it? This transformed my messy bedroom with piles of clothes on the floor and a few wayward mosquitoes into a hotel. Maybe not a luxury hotel, but at the very least a La Quinta Inn.

The sheets felt great, I slept well, and I awoke with the will to de-crapify the kitchen counters once again.

Sometimes it's the little things.

51 comments:

Arnebya said...

The little things do matter, if we pay attention long enough to notice and appreciate them. I know that bare mattress feeling; I've been experiencing it often lately (when I remember to change the sheets). Twelve holds so much...change. But it's also a very magical age.

ashley said...

Happy Birthday to beautiful Margaret! I am hoping that things start to look up for you and that the disappointments dissipate.

~Ashley in Louisiana

P.S. I know you are a fellow Nanci fan, and this oldie but goodie just popped in my head: "Oh, I wish it would rain...wash my face clean. I want to find some dark cloud, and hide in there. Love in a memory..."

Theresa said...

xoxo

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday, Miss Margaret! You both look beautiful. Love the colors of your blouse and the necklace, combined.

I'm so sorry for whatever was/is the crushing disappointment. I hope it doesn't have to really mess up the whole summer, though sometimes that's how it is.

Enjoy your continued stay at La Quinta. ;)

Sybil@PeaceitallTogether said...

Love the feeling of clean sheets, especially when made by someone else! I am in the state of "stepping over and around" right now. Maybe clean sheets will get me in the de-clutter mode. Putting them in the washer now...

Robert Julian Braxton said...

remember around seventh grade taking in the sheets dried on a line outdoors in the sunshine and wind

Noah's Mom said...

Once again...I SO love your honest, real-life writing and the way you can share all of it with us...the good and the sad. You stay true to yourself, not afraid to say it, but always with style and grace. Little blessings, (like clean sheets done by someone ELSE), can be such celebrations! Happy Birthday to Margaret!

michelle said...

Absolutely! Sometimes I want to feel irritated that such a small gesture means so much- simply because they are almost never made. But then I remind myself to be grateful for every little effort. Much like a meal made by someone else, clean sheets I didn't have to struggle with always make me happy. So do you Anna. Xoxoxo, michelle

LauraBeth said...

Oooooh, freshly laundered sheets!!

Happy birthday to Margaret... Can't believe our girls are 12! C's birthday is just a few days after M's...

Still keeping you, Tim, and your fabulous birthday girl in my thoughts and prayers.

Love and hugs from the other side of town.

Rachel said...

Love, love, love getting into a freshly made bed with crisp clean smelling sheets. I agree that not having to make the bed oneself is just the icing on the cake! LOL.

Gigi said...

It IS the little things - particularly if the person who made the bed actually knows how to put the sheets on correctly (as my husband does not).

Happy birthday to your beautiful girl.

Anonymous said...

PS Do you remember your post about "being in the picture?" In the past, I would generally agree to take pictures for people, if they asked me to; I've started volunteering...

A young family of four in a park, in their Sunday best.

A mother and her little girl in a sunny garden, surrounded by flowers.

A toddler with a bow tie and sweet smile, and his parents, dressed to the nines in a suit and a great black dress.

An engaged couple, very young, on a rainy day.

Suburban Correspondent said...

It's the humidity. I swear, I can barely get up the energy to brush my teeth these past few days.

Anonymous said...

HAPPY BIRTHDAY! MARGARET!! (ALL CAPS!) LOVE FROM SAN LUIS OBISPO, CA

LIbbyshims said...

I've done the sheet thing too many times to remember....I'd call it 'camping'. :)
Happy Birthday Margaret and CONGRATS on the cell phone--woohoo!!!

Rika Willy said...

Happy Birthday Margaret. Wish you all the best.

Rika from Indonesia

Thrift Store Mama said...

If a La Quinta makes you feel happy, then pay a few extra bucks for a Springhill Suites and it will rock your world.

It's so good to find a little delight in each day. Happy you found some.

P.S. The heat is making me cranky something terrible !

Anonymous said...

My daughter turned 11 yesterday! I didn't realize our daughters shared a birthday! Margaret is so beautiful! Love the picture of the 2 of you. I hope you start to experience some open doors and encouraging signs soon - you definitely deserve it.

Jenn said...

Happy, Happy Birthday to Margaret! How exciting that she got her first phone! And the freshly made bed sounded heavenly. That you didn't have to make it yourself. Don't think that's ever happened in our house.

Anonymous said...

Your posts are making me so mad. I don't want you to run up against brick walls. You deserve better. Hoping for some bulldozers to come your way. Ps. You and Margaret look great in that picture. ....Annie

Fiona, LilyfieldLife said...

i know that feeling of joy, I occasionally get it when i get up in the morning to find that Phil has got up early and emptied the dishwasher. I brings me pure happiness and i laugh at how happy it can make me. a break in the mundane?
have a lovely weekend Anna and happy birthday to your sweet girl
Fiona x

ella said...

Happy Birthday to Margaret!

It hurts my heart to see you struggling. Wish I could take some of the pain away.

Lady Jennie said...

I have a hard enough time cleaning up the junk without adding grief to the mix. You are a hero in my eyes, even if you're not the one to wrestle the fitted sheets on the bed.

Anonymous said...

La Quinta Inn put a smile on my face:). My 7 year old Jack asked what a 'Motel' was driving to the beach last month. He knew about Hotels, but what's a 'Motel'? My husband and I explained how it's for pulling right up to your room from the highway...generally doors on the outside, etc. Truckers might pull in for the night. I left out my bit about them being gross with stained sheets, etc. There was the grimiest motel at Rehoboth with the dirty looking pool next to the parking. The kind of place where you wouldn't let your feet hit the carpet (flip flops only). He thought it looked really, really nice. He is dying to stay in a 'motel'...help us all!!! Hugs, NoVa Mom Jen

Lisa C said...

Great smiling pic of you and Margaret! And for me, it's always about the little things. Life is busy, crazy and too short so little bursts of things are all I can handle.

Much love.

anymommy said...

There the things that make up a day and a marriage and a life.

EatPlayLove said...

I love when Josh makes up the bed, it's similar to how awesome a peanut butter and jelly is when my mom makes it. Happy Happy Birthday to M, I love this photo.

Jennifer said...

I so love when someone else makes the bed.

Debby@Just Breathe said...

I'm glad he put the sheets on. Being home (semi retired) and doing the never ending house duties I love the rare occasion when my husband does the sheets, however I have to be really ill to get them done! I wonder what it will be like when we are both retired. I can't imagine being a 12 year old getting a cell phone. Times have certainly changed. Hope she had a nice birthday. Take care and God Bless.

K A B L O O E Y said...

You guys are both SO beautiful. Happy birthday, Margaret. I hope you keep that "seize the day" feeling. I also know the feeling of a bare mattress, and living amidst piles of stuff. I'd be totally Collyer Brothers over here if not living with Felix to my Oscar. The piles of stuff definitely go hand-in-hand with interior disorder for me. And "clean counters" is quite a metaphor; Tim is a smart fellow.

Princess Kate said...

I'm always thinking about you and your family.

Kate Coveny Hood said...

I have slept on a bare mattress - unable to muster the energy to make the bed. More often than I'd like to admit. Will miss you tomorrow night!

Meaghan said...

I love that I'm not the only one who finds making a bed sometimes too overwhelming. You're so great xo

Galit Breen said...

It is, indeed, more often than not the little things, isn't it?

Lovely post.

Here's to beds made by others and decrapified counters. (*best.phrase.ever.)

Kathy at kissing the frog said...

Ugh! The kitchen counter mess is a constant battle at my house! Clean, soft sheets definitely are great to fall into! :)

Heidi said...

I leave the bed-making to Scott. I'll wash everything, put the pillowcases on and then dump everything else onto the bed. I love, love the feeling of getting into a freshly made bed.
Sometimes it really is the little things...

Cynthia said...

Love this. Love you.

Alison said...

It is all about the little things.

Happy 12th to your Margaret.

Dawn said...

Lots of times it's the little things. And sometimes, maybe more than we notice, husbands come through without asking.

longtodolist said...

I just got back from vacation last night and entered back into my craptastic house. Ugh! I can so identify with your feelings. Life can weigh us down, but we try to hide that. Thanks for your honesty and the all to familiar picture of things left undone, the feeling that things need to be done, but you just can't. Three cheers for your husband!

Deb Werrlein said...

ahhh, the freshly made bed, made by someone else! when I was a kid, I was sick all the time with strep throat. I spent a lot of time lying around in bed battling high fevers. oftentimes, when I got up to go to the bathroom or take a shower, i'd return to my bed to find it crisp and clean. I don't know how my mother managed to do that so often, but I so appreciated it. for some reason, it just made me feel loved.

Reenie said...

Happy Birthday Margaret!!

Tracey Hewison said...

Often it's the little things...I think I'll forward that post to my husband. :-) A very Happy Birthday to your sweet Margaret and I hope she enjoys her new found secret world of texting and cell calls!
I don't think I've ever posted before....I've followed your page since the terrible tragedy of losing Jack. I have two sons. There have never been the right words to say...the magnitude of your loss was so huge, nothing seemed to ever be able to touch it....simply put, I am so deeply sorry.
I love your writing and I love your lessons, I think you must help so many people, in so many ways, that you can't even imagine. I have been meaning to send your link to the family of a man who works for my husband...they lost their eldest child, Kyle, at 32 to a tragic car accident. Now they also have a younger daughter left and their lives are forever changed. This happened this past January and things still seem very, very raw....but soon, soon I will share this healing place. Thank you so much for all you share.

thejugglestruggle said...

Totally relating to the lethargy. And amen to the small things that make us push on.

Anonymous said...

Wishing you all, all the very best.

Sending lots of love from London.

K xx

A Speckled Trout said...

God is in the details but he moves rather slow when it comes to the sheets. Bigger fish to fry perhaps? Thinking of you. Always......

Anonymous said...

I came across your blog for the first time this morning and spent about 2 hours reading some older posts. Your sweet son Jack was a special young man! I loved reading the post on finding his list of dreams and dream ratings, that was adorable and showed what an amazing personality he had.

Happy birthday to your sweet girl!

Sharon @ Elizabeth & Co. said...

Happy Birthday Margaret! Hope this year is filled with many sweet surprises! ... And clean fresh sheets are the best!

Recovering Church Lady said...

Ha! Yes, the simple joy of fresh sheets, done by someone else has long been a dream vacation for me. Don't even care where!! Ha!

Bluebird49 said...

You call your husband making the bed a LITTLE THING!??????

I'm flummoxed. Mine has no idea how to even HELP me make ours! Plus--he doesn't see the "point" in doing this when we're just getting back "in it tonight!"

I'd have felt like I was in the Sheraton or something! lol

kristi said...

Happy birthday to your sweet girl. And fresh clean sheets....yum.