Monday, December 28, 2015

My Husband Finally Got a Job


My husband is a carpenter by trade and his shop is on the same three acres as our home, so sawdust follows him into our house.  It is a fine powder and not big shavings, so I never see it or feel it until I sweep or vacuum. I have learned to never wash my things with his work clothes unless I want to break out in a rash afterwards. The chair where he sits at lunch has to be dusted once a week because it collects a fine film.

He found a new job last month and hired out as an “independent contractor.” His boss and fellow workers are in awe that a man who once managed twenty employees and grossed six figures in one year is now working alongside them.  Because for once he is not the boss, he jokes that he finally got a real job. He can choose his own schedule but so far he has worked a 40-hour week. Instead of the same sturdy school furniture he built for the last 30 years of his life, he is building cabinets for a local company and enjoying not being the boss and not filling out page after page of forms the government requires of small businesses.

This is all part of his big “Retirement Plan.” It is how he closes out one chapter of his life and moves on to another.  He is too young to collect Social Security, so he continues to work without the hassle of employees, tax lawyers, and a CPA on the payroll. He gets to transition responsibility onto someone else and uses his free time to work with wood to create something new for fun and profit instead of the same patterns he built for thirty years.  

I miss him being underfoot. I miss him walking over from his shop several times a day to freshen his drink and interrupt what I am doing. I miss him sneaking up on me while I am deep in thought and scaring me in the process.  

I had to stop what I was doing every day and make sure his lunch was ready at noon, but now I pack his lunch at night for the next day.  I set the coffee pot so he can take a full thermos with him to work in the morning. He leaves before I get up in the morning and my day is spent alone and uninterrupted until he gets home at dinner.


I miss him.  I miss our conversations. At lunch I sit and talk to his empty chair. I miss the sawdust. I noticed the other day his chair stays clean without him here.  

Monday, December 21, 2015

Merry Christmas!


For a child has been born for us,
a son given to us;
authority rests upon his shoulders;
and he is named
Wonderful Counselor,
Mighty God,
Everlasting Father,
Prince of Peace.

- Isaiah 9:6

Monday, December 14, 2015

Getting Ready for Santa

HoneyBunch and I married when in our fifties.  By then we had a lifetime behind us as well as a moving van of stuff each that we wondered how we would merge into one home.
I moved into his house after the wedding and went through every nook, cranny, room, and closet, and totally rearranged it into “ours.” Organized is the better word. His bachelor pad was clean but kind of “disorganized.”  His ex had left him with all the odds and ends she did not want on her quest to a “better life,” so I replaced things a little at a time. It took me one year to fit all I wanted from the two houses into one and sold my old house.    
We compromised on a lot of things, but still we ended up with two china cabinets and two family-sized eating tables. I kept my “buffet” and he kept his “dry sink.” He kept his Christmas doll collection  and I kept all my nativity sets, but it took me several years to convince him we should limit our Christmas decorating to just the dining room.  It limits how much stuff we set out which is a difficult thing to do since together we own more than twenty bins of Christmas stuff.  Yes, twenty big bins.
I finally convinced him this fall we should merge our Christmas things into one, so we went through all the boxes and bins, and we got rid of a lot of “stuff.” We sold it all at a yard sale – old, beat up, metal Christmas signs one sees at roadside gas stations, homemade table top decorations made from garland, strings of blinking lights, or corn husks. Old Home Interior Christmas knick knacks and my collection of Santa salt and pepper shakers and ash trays (which I had to explain to several folks was an ash tray and not one of those plates you set on the stove top to set stirring spoons on while cooking).   
What did not go was the twenty-six year old artificial Christmas tree that I threaten to throw out every year or HoneyBunch’s fifteen-footer.  I dust my old tree off, “fluff” it up, and position it just right so no one sees the weak spots where the “limbs” no longer want to cooperate.  HoneyBunch threatens to set up the fifteen-footer up on the back patio, maybe on Christmas Eve, and give it one night of lights and glory.

I agree.  My raggedy old tree and his giant are remnants of other times.  It does not matter whether they were good or bad, they are reminders of who we are today, and for that we are grateful. 

Monday, December 7, 2015

The Christmas Cactus


My mother-in-law kept a Christmas cactus over her sink on the window sill that looked out into the back yard.  Someone had given it to her as a present and she cherished it all the years I knew her.  It had three, spindly stems and never grew others. It also never bloomed.
When the plant grew long and unwieldy, she would cut off some of its length and repot the cuttings.  These she offered to anyone who had shown interest in the plant.  I always deferred the offer, laughing at my inability to keep any house plant alive for more than a month.  But in all honesty, I found the plant ugly.
If this was what it was supposed to look like, I did not find it lovable.  It was unworthy of all the attention and care my sweet mother-in-law gave that barren, little plant. I would have ditched it and moved on to something else to overwater – like the African Violets or Venus Flytraps that my children gave me as presents. 
I wasn’t there when my mother-in-law passed away.  By then I was married to my second (and present) husband.  I wonder if her family fought over that old plant like they did over all her other possessions. 

I would have taken that plant. I would have cared for it as much as she did all those years. There was nothing in her house that I remember as well as I do that ugly little plant, but I remember her loyalty to it.  She knew that one day it would bloom.  One day, it would return her love.