A matter of attitude

I just love my daughter. I have no idea how I got so lucky to have a kid like her.

I’ve been feeling out of sorts for a couple of weeks, at least. I don’t know why, but I just haven’t been able to shake the funk. And it’s just stupid stuff that’s been keeping me there. Feeling overwhelmed at work. Something Mark said that didn’t sit right with me. Too many days with clouds instead of sun, maybe. Who knows what else.

Last night after work, Kacey and I rounded up some leftover Margarita chicken and corn salsa from the previous night and made ourselves a couple of tasty southwestern dinner salads. We were sitting at the table eating, just the two of us. Mark was working and Jake was gone somewhere with his pals. So it was just us girls. I was trying to come up with something interesting to say so we could have a nice dinner conversation, but I couldn’t find my way out of the black cloud in my head. Usually we find all kinds of things to talk and laugh about, but I just wasn’t feeling it. I was still stewing over a project I’d been tasked with at work. It was way beyond my job description, but more so, I had no experience or frame of reference with which to successfully complete it. I had a feeling that the person who passed it off to me was just looking for someone to do the less desirable portion of the bigger project. Still, I’d managed to figure out how to pull it together somehow. I should have been happy. Or at least proud. But I wasn’t.

I finally just admitted, “I’m so crabby I can hardly stand myself lately.”

“You just need to decide not to be,” Kacey said. As if it was simple as that.

Except, I know it’s as simple as that. Over the past year, I’ve come to realize more than ever before that feeling positive and thankful is largely a matter of choosing to be. I’ve just had a little trouble putting it into practice lately.

“I know,” I said to her. “You’re right.” I was kind of embarrassed that my 22 year-old has this figured out so well at her young age. She really does. She lives it everyday and I think that’s why she makes me laugh so easily. God, I was nothing like that when I was her age. I was distrusting, moody, didn’t think that highly of myself, and had already spent too many years worrying about what other people thought of me. It took me longer than I care to admit to quit obsessing about every situation and person in my life. And there she was, giving me life advice.

“It really is just a choice, Mom,” she said. “You can choose to be happy just as easily as you can choose to be miserable. It’s the same amount of effort. Just a matter of deciding how you’d rather feel.”

I slept on her words and it must have had an effect on me. The big picture was more clear today than it’s been in weeks and nothing seemed like such a big deal. I accomplished things, felt grateful for my coworkers, had a great conversation with a close coworker during our lunch break, and I laughed several times. And at some point, it occurred to me that I was having a really good day. Maybe because I’d chosen to…

Junk Drawer Mementos

2015-05-26Even though I keep saying I won’t take one more thing home with me, I keep coming home with things. Useless things. Things for which I have no plans.

As we sift through all of my parents’ belongings, they decide what will go to the new town house, which items will be donated and which things can be thrown away.

Mom and Dad were debating over the old Hamilton Beach kitchen mixer. They didn’t think they needed it anymore. They each looked to me. Before they could even ask, I informed them that I have no space for it, nor any need. I have a nice Kitchen-Aide myself. But I couldn’t bear to see Mom’s mixer go. I kind of whined when they mentioned donating it. Mom has had it as long as I can remember. We used to watch with excitement as she mixed up the batter for our birthday cakes. In the end, she agreed to hang on to it!

We sorted through a junk drawer and threw away about half the contents. There were two brand new boxes of pencils. No one had any idea why these were ever needed or were kept around so long. The drawing pencils? Might have been for me in high school when I took a drawing class. That was freshman year, though, and I seem to remember a different style of pencil. I can’t imagine my parents hung onto something like this since my high school days. Then again, I can.

The other box contained all yellow paper pencils. Again, no one had a clue as to why. For some reason, I was fascinated with the packaging of these. The box seemed old-fashioned. And I seem to have thing for old-fashioned lately. Mom said to throw both boxes away. I felt compelled to rescue them. I don’t know why. They don’t even have any memories attached to them and I’m now the proud owner of two boxes of pencils I’m unlikely to use.

Maybe they’ll get along well with the growing collection of old kitchen utensils I’m also unlikely to use.

Going to church again

It’s been a damp couple of days. There was a steady rain for a good part of the day yesterday and into the night. The trees are heavy this morning with the weight of all that water.

2015-05-25

Having to stay inside has given me a chance to do what I set out to do this weekend. And so I have. Regrouped that is. Somewhat anyway.

After the past few weeks, helping my parents prepare for the move, Brad home for a visit last weekend, having family over for dinner so he could see everyone … the house was in need of a pick-me-up. Call me crazy, but getting my household back in order … cleaning, scrubbing, tackling the mountain of laundry … restores some of my own sense of calm.

The relatively quiet scheme of my weekend has allowed me to chip away that all that needs doing around here while still finding some time to unwind. Saturday allowed me a chance to write, something I’ve been sorely missing lately. I got to do a little shopping for summer clothes, and go see one of my brother-in-law’s bands play at a coffee shop. (Not one of my brother-in-laws plural. One of the several bands of which my brother-in-law, Kevin is a member. He plays bass and I think it’s pretty cool that he can put his passion to practice so thoroughly!)

I also went to church yesterday, which is something I’ve been trying to get back to regularly for quite a while. I think I’ve finally found a place I want to be. It feels good to be going again after having lapsed for a period of five or so years, give or take the periodic wedding, funeral and “C and E” visits. Actually, even our Christmas and Easter visits had lapsed over the last couple of years. I figured it was hypocritical of us to show up twice a year when we didn’t bother the rest of the year. Besides, when I was a regular church-goer, it sort of bothered me that seating in church was at a premium twice a year. What was the point of going if I knew full well I wasn’t going to continue going.

I’ve gone, I think, five weeks in a row now. My sister and her husband (he of the many bands) had gone for their first time, and afterwards, she extended a casual invitation to join them the following weekend. I said maybe, at first. Then a voice inside told me to just commit. Half of my inability to make a habit of going to church was my dislike for going it alone all the time. Here was a chance to explore a new place with familiar people alongside me. So I did.

I guess it’s considered a mega-church and this particular location is pretty new, maybe a year old. It’s one of several campuses in this area. For years, I’ve seen cars in traffic with these little acronym window stickers advertising the church, which I always thought was sort of weird. Never thought I’d end up going there, but here I am.

My first time in, I was a bit overwhelmed. It’s like no church I’ve ever been in. The building is enormous and beautiful, and I noticed right away that the people there were relaxed and welcoming. There’s a welcome desk, a book store, a whole wing of kids and meeting areas. And there’s a coffee shop where you can buy a cup of your favorite black or froufrou variety coffee to enjoy during services. This is all very foreign for a life-long Catholic, and at first feels a bit uncertain, like… Should we really be drinking coffee in church? Is this okay?

It is.

That first morning, I walked in with my sister and her family about ten minutes before services began. We walked almost to the front, taking seats about seven rows back from the stage. No altar. No statues of saints. No stained glass windows. I know that might bother some who’ve spent a lifetime attending a traditional church. For me, it was neither here nor there. Background music was playing through the sound-system. I recognized it was Jonny Lang. Cool! I looked around me and saw that we were in a massive multi-level auditorium that was quickly filling up. What struck me the most is that everyone seemed so happy. There was much hand-shaking and hugging going on, and every face seemed to be smiling. People were happy to be there.

The services, I’ve learned, always begin with a set of music. This is what really hooked me at first. There are all kinds of guitars – acoustic, bass, even steel. There are keyboards, drums and violins, tambourines and even clarinets. And the voices of the musicians are amazing. Do you ever listen to music and it’s so good you get chills? That’s what this is like for me.

There are several pastors, men and women of all ages. They dress in everyday clothing. No robes or holy garments. They intersperse stories of their own lives into the messages they deliver. Some are married, some maybe not. They make fun of themselves and talk about their own mistakes. It makes me recognize more easily that even though they are church leaders, they are one of us.

The pastors bring the Bible to life in ways I’ve never known. They focus on a few Bible verses and relate them to everyday life in ways that speak to me. I’m actually reading my Bible these days and beginning to understand it. For most of my life, the family Bible, to me, was simply a household decoration.

The messages engulf me. I find myself so immersed in what is being said that I forget everything and everyone around me. Sometimes they hit home in such a way that I feel like my heart is bursting out of my chest. I’m able to contemplate the words and apply them to my own life, discuss them afterwards with others, and feel excited about it! Still … there remains this lingering guilt inside. Most of the time I tell myself that God wants me to meet Him wherever it is I see and hear Him the best. But there’s that occasional nagging doubt. My upbringing taught me that the Catholic church is the only church. I wonder how much I actually care whether the staunch Catholics in my family disapprove of where I’m attending church. Seriously, I think my dad believes it’s better to be a non-practicing Catholic than a Catholic who consciously chooses to worship in a non-Catholic setting. And I don’t think he’s simply set in his ways. I think he’s actually fearful for those who “should know better” and still choose to break away from tradition. I love my dad, but I am not him and his ways are not my ways.

Yesterday’s message absolutely smashed that doubt. It was all about why this church does things the way they do. It’s about finding common ground with people. Different churches cater to the different needs of various people. For my dad, the Catholic church does it. For me, I just felt aimless there. This new church said to themselves, There’s a big group of people out there not going to church. What can we do to bring them here? And so, they made their space welcoming. Many people like coffee in the morning, so they made a coffee shop and welcomed visitors to enjoy their drinks while listening to the message. Eighty percent of radio stations today play pop and rock music. So the church’s music mirrors that style. They play it loud, so those who are reluctant to be heard outside of their own cars or showers, can join in without feeling self-conscious. There are children and youth ministries that provide video games, sports, and other fun activities alongside the message, so that the kids will want to come to church. No one is sleeping in this church.

I look forward to going there each week, and Mark surprised me with his willingness to join me when it’s not one of his work weekends. I even got Jake to go with one Sunday morning. It was probably the promise of going out for breakfast afterwards that convinced him, but it’s a start. This has been a great way for me to connect with my sister’s family as well, and we’ve made it a regular thing to go out for breakfast afterwards. I have the definite sense that I’m adding some real substance to my week with this growing habit. This is a good thing.

I’ve never remembered a particular Bible verse in my life, but yesterday’s message was supported by one I wanted to remember. 1 Corinthians 9:20 – 22. Written by the apostle, Paul, he’s explaining that whatever group of people he found himself among, he did what he could to become like them, so that in their own surroundings and ways, he could introduce them to God. He didn’t insist that people could only find God in a particular setting, through specific prayers and rituals, by dressing a certain way and singing only a particular type of worship music. He brought people to God in their own spaces and routines. One portion of these Bible verses says, I have become all things to all men so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings.

That message swept away any remaining fear that going to the “wrong” church would ensure my demise at the end of this life. Here’s the thing. I’m going to church again. I’m seeking God again. I’m excited and maybe more certain about it than I’ve ever been in my life. While some may disapprove, I know this is what’s right for me.

And while I’m talking about my right to choose where and how, or even if I worship, I’m reminded that today in particular is a day to recognize I’m enjoying this right thanks to the sacrifices made by those who have served in this country’s military. To those who have served, thank you!

Regrouping

I slept in today and it felt SO good! All week long, I looked forward to this three-day weekend. Lucy and I were still up early enough to go for a good long neighborhood walk, and we got it in just in time to enjoy what looks to have been the sunshine’s limited presence for the day. We listened to birds singing along the way, and Lucy spent much time plowing her nose through white, puffy dandelion heads in the grasses along the walking path. No amount of sneezing could convince her to stop. She made me laugh and the whole trek gave me a chance to clear my head some.

I’ve been in a funky mood lately. I blame it on too much togetherness. This move my parents are making, from their house of twenty-six years to a single-level town house, is going to be the death of me. (Not really, but I frequently say so just because somehow it makes me feel better to voice a little self-pity.) I know everyone’s got some level of dysfunction in their family. It’s normal. It’s probably designed to make sure the kids don’t get so comfortable at home that they never move out of their parents’ house.

I dearly love my parents. They have done so many things well in their lives. They raised their kids to be responsible and productive people. We take good care of our own families and we’ve got strong work ethics. They made a lot of sacrifices to make sure we would have good lives. They raised us with love and taught us to have faith in God. They did something right enough that, in spite of the fact that we sometimes drive each other nuts, we still have a need to pull together and be a family. They did things in a way that, as a kid, often made me think, I’ll never do that to my kids. But I see now that they did things the way their generation believed to be best.

My parents are always so happy to see me when I stop by and Mom never fails to express her thanks for anything I do to help them out. Dad seems to expect things, but Mom is appreciative enough for both of them. I am grateful for that. But as often as I’ve spent time with my parents over the past month or so, I’m frequently reminded why I was so ready to become an adult and move out. My dad? He is NEVER wrong. Even when he is most certainly wrong. And he’ll go to great lengths to tell you why he’s not wrong and you are. It’s always been that way. One of the most frequently used adjectives to describe my dad, is stubborn. Opinionated comes in a close second. And I think that stubborn quality in him has gained energy with age.

Growing up, if Dad decided we’d done something wrong, we kids knew we were in for one of his famously long and painful lectures. He’d sit in his chair at the head of the kitchen table while I stood at the far end of the kitchen, wishing I had the guts to just turn and walk out the back door. There were no excuses accepted for bad behavior. No amount of explanation would be considered, even if there was another side to the story Dad hadn’t considered (and likely wouldn’t). And everything he had to say was sure to be repeated at least three times. I was kind of a rebel back then. I’d often play with fire, my body language clearly shouting that I was listening only because I had to and I’d rather be anywhere but standing in front of him. I’d say, You said that already or I heard you the first two times. Dad did not appreciate my sass and I think it only prompted him to continue expressing his disappointment in me even longer. His delivery was heavy on a who-do-you-think-you are sort of sentiment. There was a lot of you’d-better-change-your-ways and very little help-me-understand-why. If you were on the receiving end of one of dad’s lectures, when you were finally free to depart his scrutiny, you felt about this big. (My thumb and forefinger are making a pinchy motion, in case you were wondering.)

I know my dad doesn’t mean to alienate others with his opinions. I just think he’s done things this way for so long that he doesn’t know how to do them any differently. It pains me to watch him instigate arguments with my mom. So often, they’re over silly, inconsequential things. I know he’s fighting for what he believes is right, but his words, to me, feel belittling, even when I’m only watching him engage with someone else. I rarely argue with my dad these days. I don’t have the energy. There’s no winning or compromise with him. And according to Mom, I’m not allowed to speak in defense of her either because it only makes Dad feel that his kids are choosing sides. And he thinks we only ever choose Mom’s side. I guess I usually do, because regardless of who I may think is right or wrong, it’s his tactics that don’t sit well with me. And ultimately, I just hate to be witness to so much unhappiness between my parents. At their age, I just want them to have peace and contentment. I know that quite possibly, my parents have just settled into a long-standing set of behaviors and this doesn’t make them nearly as uncomfortable as it does me. I’m the first to admit that I hate conflict. But it eats away at me that in their twilight years, they don’t seem as happy as I think they should be with one another.

It’s probably wrong on so many levels to put this in writing, but writing it is the best way I know how to purge the kind of weight this puts on my heart. Besides, I wouldn’t do it if I weren’t 99.9% confident that anyone who cares won’t ever read this.

Anyway, I can easily walk away when I need to and stay away for as long as I need. These days, I can control whether or not I end up on the receiving end of one of Dad’s diatribes, so when he’s being unreasonably opinionated, I usually hide a little roll of my eyes and just keep my mouth shut. As an adult, I’ve learned that I can say nothing and choose not to accept his position. Although, a few weeks ago, I thought I made a big statement while walking out without saying goodbye while he was busy once again telling Mom how poorly she had met some need he had. I felt really bad for the rest of the day about the fact that I’d probably made both of them feel really bad. Turns out that no one actually noticed I’d made a big statement and walked out.

A part of me knows that Dad’s behavior is probably due to the fact that he feels less needed, and less respected due to his age and the health issues he’s endured over the years. His vision has diminished enough that he can no longer drive. He is forced to be dependent on others for so many things he’d rather do himself. Maybe he’s trying to find some way to feel less diminished. I know he doesn’t know how hurtful he sometimes makes his family feel when a healthy debate is never allowed. Still, sometimes I wonder if it’s too late to speak up.

My sister was on the receiving end of Dad’s opposition recently. It was over a matter of fact, and the reality is, she was right and she had a point that he might have considered. And even though it was a helpful point that could have made a particular situation so much easier for him and Mom, he wouldn’t consider it because he simply didn’t believe it to be true. He is the father and we are still the children, even though we’re all in our forties and beyond. My dad still seems to think that he can treat his kids the same way he did when he was in charge of our upbringing. If he doesn’t agree with what you have to say, he will put you in your place. And my mom still seems to believe that as difficult as my dad can be at times, it’s best to just let him have his say and let it go.

It’s hard to watch sometimes. I wonder if my dad has been allowed to be right for so long that it’s now impossible to get him to understand that his behavior feels spiteful, arrogant and demeaning. I wonder if he feels good when all is said and done, and he gets to be right again, but someone else just feels like a turd.

Maybe I’m letting this eat away at me way too much. A voice in my head sometimes tells me to just let it go, that I should find a way to rise above it and feel less resentful, else I’ll suffer enormous regret when he’s no longer around. My dad is seventy-four years old and he finds a million ways to let me know he loves me. But he has no idea how bad it feels to watch him put a family member in their place when he’s feeling particularly obstinate.

All normal stuff, I know, in the grand scheme of things. And I remind myself frequently that the knee-jerk resentment I sometimes feel about dealing with my parents? I desperately never want my kids to feel those things about me. So while I know I need to be a little bit more understanding and compassionate, and maybe find ways to gently steer my dad in a better direction, it’s hard. We’ve just never practiced healthy communication. It doesn’t come naturally. As much as I’ve learned over the years about how to do it better, it’s still such a challenge to put it into practice in the heat of the moment. But I also recognize that I can – and should – be learning from all of this. I sometimes see myself doing, saying or thinking in such a way that confirms the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

I don’t have big plans this holiday weekend. Not going up north with the masses or anything. Mark is working all weekend, and other members of his family will fill the cabin at the lake to beyond capacity. I’ve got no desire to squeeze in among them. I’ve got a couple of fun outings planned, but for the most part, I’ll stick close to home where it’s going to be quiet and I can catch up on things. I may voluntarily go do some more packing at Mom and Dad’s, but I’m hoping the phone doesn’t ring, beckoning me to come when I may not be ready. I hope this weekend provides a breather and a chance to regroup. I was in such a good mental place just a few short weeks ago. I need to get back there.

Meanwhile, I’m getting nothing done around here!

I remember when I used to write on a regular basis. That was before my parents sold their house and bought a town house. That was before my help was needed with things related to the impending move.

In this photo, I am talking on the phone with my mom. She’s asking me to come help her download a PDF document that the realtor emailed. She was having trouble opening it.

The real purpose of this photo was for Kacey to make fun of us online for unwittingly wearing the same shirt to work that day.

Twinsies

I wasn’t embarrassed. She better not have been! Not long after this was taken, I went to my parents’ house to check out their download issues. Turns out the technology-challenged realtor didn’t actually send a PDF, only a blank html file. I emailed and asked him to give it another shot.

Tonight Kacey and I were back at my parents’ house again, with my sister, packing things. One thing I can say about being the ones doing the packing … when Mom says, “Someone take it or I’m throwing it,” we have the benefit of getting some good, free stuff. Kacey came home with a brand new water filtering pitcher and a stoneware baking dish. Me? I’m amassing a collection of antique kitchen utensils. I have absolutely no idea what I’m going to do with them!

So lately…

I looked out the front window a few days ago and the Maple tree in the yard was beginning to bud. I looked out again today and it’s in full foliage.

Okay, so maybe more than a few days have passed between noticing the tree. The days have been slipping away from me lately. There’s been a lot going on.

Kacey came home from school last Friday and is here for the summer. YAY! Lucy is happy too. She’s been Kacey’s shadow, so much so that on Saturday morning, she wasn’t even interested in eating her breakfast, which is usually the highlight of her mornings. Instead, she preferred to stay curled up behind Kacey’s knees and wait for her to wake up.

Kaceys Bed

On Saturday, Kacey and I went to a Mothers Day brunch at my cousin’s house with all the women-folk on my mom’s side of the family. Fun, fun! And on Sunday, we joined Mark’s family for dinner at his mom’s house. Most of the family was there and the place got crowded and loud. Six year-old Ryan decided that his cousin, Jake was great fun to climb on and wrestle with. Jake was a good sport and Ryan’s giggles put a smile on my face.

Ryan n JakeMeanwhile, my parents put their house on the market last Monday. My sister and I have been busy helping keep the house in “showing” shape. They had their first showing on Monday afternoon, received a good offer sometime around mid-week and accepted it on Friday. On Saturday, they put in an offer on a town house, and withdrew it on Tuesday. (Long story, but it was for the best.) On Tuesday evening, I went with them to look at another town house. This one felt right from the moment we set foot inside. They made an offer, and learned today that it was accepted.

We started to do a bit of packing last week in anticipation of the move that will be upon us all too soon. Mom is parting with all kinds of old stuff, but I’m finding there are some things I just can’t let her donate. I sorted through record albums and rescued my old Carpenters album. It was a gift I received when I was six-years old! There were also a few Elvis albums that I hung onto. And then there was this crazy thing … an ashtray … I guess?

Ashtray

It was just so unexpected to find this in my parents’ house. I had to keep it. And so someday when I’m old and my kids are helping me pack up my years’ worth of belongings, they’ll laugh and squeal over the fact that their parents had such a thing in their possession. And then one of my kids will decide to hang onto it for years to come and it will be passed down from generation to generation.

Nice, huh?

Car Wash

“Come on,” Mark said to me yesterday afternoon.

“Where we goin’?”

“The Downtowner,” he said.

“Ugh. Really? We have so much to do and it’ll be a zoo there. It’s beautiful outside. Everyone and their brother we’ll be waiting in line for a car wash.”

“Actually,” he said “I’m betting it won’t be crowded because it’s so nice outside. Who wants to wait in the car wash line when it’s such a perfect day?”

Turns out we were both half right, but the wait wasn’t bad. The Downtowner is one of those pro-style car washes where an entire crew of people works together to make your car spic and span. Mark gives the Downtowner his business quite frequently. Me? I never go there. It’s in the old neighborhood in St. Paul, too far out of my way, and I never feel as if I have time for that kind of car luxury. I take my car through the drive-thru wash at the gas station a few times a month. Lucky for me, half of Mark’s trips to the Downtowner are with my car.

I’ve driven past the Downtowner a hundred times in recent years, but I can’t remember ever being inside. It was kind of fascinating to watch the car wash process. There are a couple of workers right up front to spray off the wheels before each car enters the wash tunnel. Inside, there was a full convenience store and plenty of room for customers to sit as they wait for their cars to be finished. I sat on a stool watching through the windows as cars moved through the wash. Mark pointed out the squirt guns, where kids could sit inside and aim streams of water at the passing cars on the other side. I noticed the shoe-shine station at the back of the waiting area. It had two seats positioned high up, just like I’ve seen in the movies.

“Have you ever seen anyone working at the shoe-shine area?” I asked Mark.

“Yeah, once in a while.”

“How many people even wear shoes that require shining these days?” I wondered. Although, as soon as I asked it, I guessed being as close to downtown as we were, I could see how someone might make a go of their shoe-shine business there.

As the cars exited the wash tunnel, another crew of workers moved each vehicle to one of several finishing bays. They worked furiously to dry and shine each car, inside and out. Above each bay, there was a sign that would light up to let the owner know that his or her car is done. Mark led me out into Bay 3 as a crew of four people put the finishing touches on my car. It looked gorgeous!

Mark got in the driver’s seat and I took the passenger side. Before I could sit, I had to move a Sunday paper out of my way.

“Why’d you bring the paper with?” I asked.

“I didn’t.”

“Then where’d this come from?”

“They give it to you. It’s all part of the service. And you get this too,” he said, pointing to a card that had been tucked into one of the cup holders. It was a guarantee. If it rained anytime that day, I could come back the next day for a free wash.

My car looked and smelled fabulous. I can now see why Mark is such a fan of this place. Their customer service is beyond over-the-top. My Terrain sparkled in the bright, Sunday afternoon sun as we drove home and I couldn’t help but admire it. Back at home, Mark parked it in the garage, and when we went to the grocery store he said, “It’s supposed to rain. Let’s keep your car clean and take my truck.”

Good thing too! Because I didn’t think I had time to take it back for another wash, as fun as the first time around had been. And just as we were driving home from the grocery store, big drops of rain began to splatter the windshield of the truck. By the time we’d hauled all the bags of food into the house, the skies let loose.

So I didn’t have to use my next-day guarantee. And today was another beautiful, sunny, warm day. As I approached my car after work today, I thought about how lucky I am to have a car, to have this particular car. I’ve been very happy with it and hope to have it for a lot of years to come. And I appreciated the opportunity to see it sitting there waiting for me, the paint all sparkling black and glimmering in the sun. I took a good look at it and reminded myself to enjoy it in all it’s glory, because for the rest of the week? Rain!

Oh well. I guess we need it!