Monday, November 1, 2010

Through the Chaos, Dust and Dirt

Well, here's a biggie.  I cleaned the tool room on Saturday.  That's how I showed my good man that I love him.

When we bought our house, I am sure I mentioned this before, it had to have some work before we could move in.  We had only a matter of days to do it all, pack up our rental and relocate before the end of the year deadline.  At which time the house we were living in was to be sold.  I happened to be two weeks from delivering our 4th baby and homeschooling the three girls, to boot.  Allen had just started a new job that summer and had no leave available.

We asked God how we were to do such a thing.  He sent his answer in the way of volunteers.  Most of our church family turned out at one time or another in those days, some working for a week straight and others working the whole night long.  There was a steady stream of people coming and going day and night until our furniture was unpacked, curtains hung and the children tucked into bed the night of moving day.  I have never felt so overwhelmingly humbled by the love and kindness of God's people... until... about a thousand times over they reached out to us in different times of need for prayer, help or a hand. God's family is truly amazing.  I often wonder how Christians today can get by in this world without a church to call home.  I know we could  not.

But I am getting off topic here.  (Hmmm... those who have never been to our family blog may not realize this is a normal thing for me... so grab some coffee.  I am in a hotel room alone, all day with just me and my lap top.  There's nothing to stop me... except maybe lunch. ☺)

Anyway, at settlement our basement had been finished with tile floors, paneling and a bathroom.  Unfortunately, neglected water issues had left it crawling with mildew and the place had to be gutted back to the studs in order to treat the growth behind the walls and under the tile.  The male volunteers handled this heavier and dirtier work, while the ladies stripped wallpaper upstairs in preparation for a fire restoration company to come and do their job of removing the built up cigarette smoke of thirty years.  

Now, in the basement, there was a small boxed in area.  It was too big to be a closet and too small to be a room.  It had no windows but a door frame, minus the door.  I have never figured out what it was intended to be.  It would have been a beautiful little sewing corner.  Even a great canning  closet.  But I was too slow.  The men, seeing the gem it was, quickly claimed it as the "tool room."  With so many people coming and going and different crews at different times throughout the days, they needed a place where anyone could locate the tools they needed at anytime.  Everything got tossed in there.  All neat and orderly like some tool convention.  NOT!  It was a disaster.  And, being Allen's territory, has remained so for the last eight years.

Until Saturday.  One of the jobs on the long list of projects that need to be done to finish our basement refinish job (if you are really interested in this story you can read about it here on my family blog.) was to clean out this room/closet in order to make room for Allen's huge rolling tool chest and the top that converts the pool table into a ping pong table.  They have always just sat in the foyer, near the wood stove, waiting for a home.  With construction of the built-ins and wardrobe well underway, they needed to get out of the way to paint the wall to be ready when the carpenter calls.

With Allen traveling constantly since the beginning of October and no end in sight, he hasn't had time to even look at it.  Not to mention with so many home improvement projects going on right now, the contents have spilled out over the rest of the basement, making it hard to locate anything.  Add to that, my hubby's long to do list relating to said home improvement projects and it seems the whole thing could quickly become stressful for a man who already has too much on his plate.

Saturday, as he worked to hang wainscot and trim in the basement, I was left with a list of projects of my own.  Bake a cake.  Write a few blog posts.  Laundry.  Ironing.  Sewing.  Book keeping.  Yard work.  Email replies.  The list goes on and on.

And really, after a week apart, all I really wanted to do was play.  Grab the kids.  Grab the hubby and take off for parts unknown where home improvements don't exist.

However, as I looked at my man working so diligently to make our little corner of the world nicer.  I wanted to do something to make his load a little lighter.  I put aside all I wanted to do and all I needed to do, and started cleaning the tool room.

First tossing the paint that was no longer any good.  Then the paint that was never good to begin with.  (Can we say Pumpkin pie?)  On and on cleaning shelves.  Digging through boxes.  Clearing hooks.  Until six hours later when the floor was in sight.  I was sneezing and covered in dust.  Very tired and quite frankly, getting grumpy.  I still had piles of stuff all over the basement that needed to be tossed, organized and sorted through, but for the first time since we bought the house, the floor was visible and that was an amazing accomplishment.

Not to mention all the stuff I found!  Items that were bought for projects which had disappeared years ago and had to be repurchased.  Duplicates and triplicates of tools that went missing.  The under-layment for the floor we laid in September.  Long forgotten and unfinished projects, like a picture frame that was started at our old house and  a shelf intended to go in the girls bedroom!  The same bedroom that is slighted for the next remodel and makeover.

It was, indeed, a trove of treasures just waiting to be discovered.  But the best treasure of all, was being able to sacrifice my Saturday to tell some one special how much I love him, even through the chaos, dust and dirt.

Sunday, October 31, 2010


A little way I try to express my love to my wandering parakeet, is our late night dinners.  One thing I have learned, after many years as the wife to a traveling man, is the importance of reconnecting after a business trip.  Be it for a day or a week, the time spent apart creates a gap that must be rejoined.  Allen has at least one day out of town each week so this has become an especially important ritual for us.

The way we have come to do this is a quiet supper, just the two of us.  I feed the children and put them down as usual and then wait to eat with Allen when he returns.  Flexibility is important here, as traffic and airlines and meetings never seem to stick with the plan.

Sometimes, I save a couple of plates from whatever I fixed for the children.  Sometimes, I make an antipasto platter with some sparkling cider.  Other times, Allen might pick up a little something on the way home.  Or if it will be too late to go without dinner, we might enjoy some dessert and coffee.

Depending on the season, we may sit on the deck, curl up on the couch in front of a video or enjoy the warmth of the fire.

Friday night, after some time in Dallas, Allen got in near 11.  Skipping lunch, I couldn't miss dinner, too, so I ate with the children earlier.  Knowing I had a busy week,  and guessing how exhausted I would be, Allen stopped and picked up supper for us, at our favorite restaurant.  The manager, whom we've come to know, saw him waiting for his order at the hostess desk and inquired where I was.  After Allen explained that he had been out of town and had not even returned home yet, Luis ran to the kitchen and returned with a dessert for us to share.

What a pleasant time we had sitting by the fire and chit chatting well into the morning hours while Allen ate with gusto and I nibbled at my Key Lime Pie.  It doesn't sound like much, but these little moments together are the string that ties hearts together.  And it is just one more little way to say, "I Love You." 


Thursday, October 28, 2010

And Now For Something A Little Different

Ok... I've ignored this blog far too long. And since I can't post on my other blog, due to unresolved technical errors, it seems like a good time to get my rear in gear.  If anyone understands the Piccasa issue, do drop me an email.

In the meantime, for those who read our family blog, you know that my life has been a bit "chaotic" these last few months, both figuratively and literally.  Which is why this blog has more than been ignored.  With resolve to get back at it, the catch is that our basement is still turned upside down.  It is hard to find anything at this time, including my 365 Ways to Say I Love You book. 

This whole year has turned into the year for doing things I wouldn't normally do.  For doing things different.  A year for changing plans.

So what a great time to shake things up here a bit.  I hope you agree... whoever you are out there who might actually read this some day.

I thought what I would do, for now anyway, is instead of writing Jani's ideas, I will write personal ideas that I try to incorporate into our days, nights and very busy life to make sure my true love always knows he's still the apple of my eye.

With Allen away so often, keeping in touch with each other is important to keeping our marriage healthy.  Attempting to keep as close as possible to a regular routine, despite coming and going and many fluctuations in our regular schedule, is important to keeping our family healthy.

One of the most important parts of our marriage is our morning prayer and Bible study time.  At six am our alarm goes off each day.  When Allen is here, before we get out of bed or even turn the lights on, our day starts in prayer together.    After that we read the Bible.  Sometimes we read together and sometimes Allen reads aloud to me.  I love to hear him read aloud.

So how do we manage that when Allen is often on the road before six am?  What about weeks like this when he is hopping from state to state?

This morning our alarms went off at 6 am Maryland time and 5 am Texan time.  In our separate states, we took time to pray for our family, church, each other and those other issues the Lord has laid on our joint heart.  We may not be able to snuggle in prayer but we were still able to go before His throne together.       


Saturday, September 11, 2010

I Was Wondering...

Since my life went completely crazy... this blog has been more than neglected... and I was thinking I should get back to it... when my life stops being so insane... which will be another month or so... and then I was wondering... Does anyone actually READ this???


Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Jani says,"Leave a copy of the Royal Canadian Air Force Exercise Handbook in the refrigerator at night."

Monday, June 7, 2010

Jani says,"Put a notebook beside your bed for those midnight love notes you dream up."

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Jani says, "Plant a petunia garden in the shape of his name."

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Jani says," Tape a photo of you two inside the lid of his briefcase."

Friday, June 4, 2010

Jani says, "Play hide-and-seek when he comes home from work. Leave notes about where you, the Hidden Treasure, are, i.e.: follow the yellow brick path..."

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Jani says, "Get him a balloon with an 'I Love You' note inside. The first hydrogen balloon was sent up in June, if he asks why."

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Jani says, "It's time for the second honeymoon routine. Dig up the original reception crew, too."

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

June Bride!

Jani says, "Subscribe to Brides magazine."

Monday, May 31, 2010

Jani says, "Meet him at the office again. Only this time give his secretary a clandestine message for him in the top of your very feminine pen:
Hither my love!
Here I am! Here!
I announce myself to you.
This gentle call is for you my love,
For you!
These lovely lines were really penned by Walt Whitman whose birthday is May 31st."

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Jani says, "Rent an Exer-cycle...for yourself, silly."

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Jani says, "Start planning an overnight trip to somewhere 50 miles away. It's not a 'course that others may choose' and they may find you leaning toward loony but, as Patrick Henry would say, 'Give me liberty or give me death.' You are at complete liberty to do whatever your lil' ole heart thinks will make your man feel more loved, so take advantage of the fun ideas you are able to come up with for him."

Friday, May 28, 2010

Jani says, "Meet him at the office with a red plaid tablecloth and proceed to picnic in the park. Men really strongly dislike picnics so take along something easy to eat in the primitive manner. Try prosciutto and melon."

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Jani says, "Whip up a set of banana splits to celebrate your  ____th day together."

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Jani says, "Go fly a kite (with him)."

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Jani says, "Shell a one-pound bag of pistachio nuts just for him."

Monday, May 24, 2010

Jani says, "Call him three times to tell him that you miss him."

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Jani says, "Go on another diet so he can take you to the beach- or think about it anyway."

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Jani says, "Put a lily-of-the-valley in his toothbrush rack."

Friday, May 21, 2010

Jani says, "Add a collection of Irving Berlin love songs to his record rack to celebrate the noted composer's birthday this month."


Thursday, May 20, 2010

Jani says, "Have a pedicure. Then buy a sprightly set of sandals.Some men are hung up on feet."

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Jani says, "For a very special occasion, order a Swedish masseuse at home for him. (Don't panic! Very few of them are really as gorgeous as Ursula Andress)."

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Jani says, "Arrange to have his eyes checked at his convenience, and put some Murine atop the TV."

Monday, May 17, 2010

"He that laughs, lasts!"-Unknown

Jani says, "See that he laughs at least twice a day."

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Jani says, "Stick a 'Happy Thursday'  pennant on his plate of sausages. (If it's Thursday.)"

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Jani says, "Offer to make him a suit. Of course he'll say 'No, but to offer so much of yourself... (If he says yes, we're all in trouble.)"

Friday, May 14, 2010

Jani says, "Garnish his dinner plate with an olive branch on Peace Day, which gets celebrated in May."

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Jani says, "Clean up the barbecue equipment yourself. You might even buy charcoal. You might even cook out."

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Milk & Cookies

Jani says, "Put some extra money in his pants pocket with a note that it's for milk and cookies at 3 P.M."

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Jani says, "Dab a tiny drop of your perfume on his necktie. He'll think of you all day and wonder why."

Monday, May 10, 2010

Armed Forces Day

Jani says, "On Armed Forces Day, give him a big hug and kiss, and tell him that you two are the best set of Armed Forces ever."


Sunday, May 9, 2010

Take Me Out To The Ball Game!

Jani says, "Get him to take you to a baseball game. Look alive and beautiful and don't fuss about the mustard on your Arnel."

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Jani says, "Lean over and open the car door for him when he's locked out.It's a little thing, but it saves him a step and shows you love him."

Friday, May 7, 2010

Jani says, "Light a candle by his bed tonight."

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Roman Holiday!

Jani says,"Roman Picnic: Put a white sheet on you and on him and on the floor, serve him grapes and repeat 'Ego Te Amo' to each other. That's Latin for it."

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Get Lost in Love!

Jani says, "Follow your heart. Isn't love a labyrinth?"

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Jani says, "Say something in a billet-doux (French for love letter) something that Elizabeth Barret Browning would have said to her Robert. Pick one of the tender lines from The Sonnets From The Portuguese, mingled with your own personal lines of poetry."

Here is a sample of Elizabeth Barret Browning's Sonnets:

"The face of all the world is changed, I think,
Since first I heard the footsteps of thy soul
Move still, oh, still, beside me, as they stole
Betwixt me and the dreadful outer brink
Of obvious death, where I, who thought to sink,
Was caught up into love, and taught the whole
Of life in a new rhythm. The cup of dole
God gave for baptism, I am fain to drink,
And praise its sweetness, Sweet, with thee anear.
The names of country, heaven, are changed away
For where thou art or shall be, there or here;
And this . . . this lute and song . . . loved yesterday,
(The singing angels know) are only dear
Because thy name moves right in what they say.


Monday, May 3, 2010

Love Boat!

Jani says, "Go on a ferry ride. Or if you don't have one, get out on the water with him somehow. It's so-o romantic."

Sunday, May 2, 2010

His & Hers

Jani says, "Get a set of matching shower caps. These are probably too inexpensive to find in the Neiman-Marcus his-and-hers catalogue."

Saturday, May 1, 2010

May Day!

Jani says, buy him the 'First of May'. Well, anyway, paint the bathroom sunny yellow."

Friday, April 30, 2010

Jani says, "Subscribe to an apropos magazine for him about one of his interests he doesn't think you know anything about. Think about avocation lines, like stereo. Or horse racing. Or marquetry. Or tropical fish. You're the one that lives with him. You can figure something out."

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Christmas in April?

Jani says, "Start making a list of what to buy him for Christmas."

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Happy Arbor Day

Jani says, "Get him a tiny tree to celebrate Arbor Day and have a 'plaque' made up for it bearing his nickname. Check the 'Keep Off the Grass' sign department of the hardware store for the machine that engraves inexpensive signs like mailbox name tags."

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Wake Up Call!

Jani says, "Chalk 'I love you today, too'  on his alarm clock."

Monday, April 26, 2010

Jani says, "Wear your skirts and hair the length he likes them."

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Pet Names...

Jani says, "Call him 'sweet pea'. If it backfires, tell him it's the flower of the month. And, uh, diamonds are the gem of the..."

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Show Love For A Good Cause!

Jani says, "Donate his outgrown wear to charity. (Saves him mumbling about age and  overweight.) Make sure you get a deduction for this. He'll probably be more impressed with the tax saving, but he'll think you must certainly love him an awful lot."