Archive for April 2010

The ‘Perfect House’, a Bed and Gil Miller

April 11, 2010

Spring Break.

Conjures up visions of oil glistening bodies on a hot, sunny beach, doesn’t it?? 

Heh.  Get real.  We are too old for that.  Oh, there were a few giddy hours when my sister (who lives and teaches  a bunch of states away) and I realized that our Spring Breaks collided on the same days this year and toyed with the idea of renting a cabin at a halfway point in a mountainous area before money got in the way.  Money always gets in the way of the good stuff.  Always.

OUR spring break was spent at home this year.  Because of the house.  We have been seriously house hunting for the past five months.  Four bids on ‘perfect houses’ in a depressed housing market had been lost to higher bids or people with lots of cash.  Grrr.

Frustrating indeed…..especially to our teenagers who have had trouble understanding the concept of buying a home.  We like it.  They’re selling it.  Give them the money and that should be that, right?  Who wouldn’t want to have us for neighbors, right?  And moving to an actual…house…had been a goal of ours for a very, very long time.  We had loan approval.  We had intense desire.  We had logged hours looking at all sorts of homes.  It was frustrating.

And then the PERFECT house went up for sale.  And I mean perrrrrrfffect.

It was right across the street from the high school football field, which meant my teens would be able to walk home from school.  Or bring friends home from soccer practice to cool off.  We could sit in the back yard and listen to high school revelry on weekends.  It was on a paved road which was condusive to the Sk8r Girl’s nice weather down time hobby.   There was a fenced yard for the dog to run around in.  And hubby was pleased with the loan status and the size and the neighborhood.  Perfect.

And it was a house we had ‘discovered’ in the fall.  An empty house that was probably going into foreclosure.  We kept an eye on it but the fact that it became available the very week that we had lost our fourth bid was heartening.  Maybe God had a hand in the other houses?  Maybe He was keeping the ‘perfect house’ for us?

So….we submitted a bid and waited….for three weeks.

The first week went by and we were calm and excited because we knew our bid was good.  The second week slipped by on us and we relied on our realtor for news.  We prepared ourselves to make a second offer.  Late in the week he said we were the only submitted bid for the house….so far.  We rejoiced and eased on holding our breath a bit.  Things were looking very good.  An answer to a prayer.

Thus began Spring Break and we were staying home.  Okay….maybe we needed to be home in case something happened with our bid and we needed to act on things right away.  The third week of waiting began and I decided we needed a ‘little’ project to keep us busy.  

 Princess needed a bed.  Finally.  She had a mattress and the box springs and a bed frame and the spread and the pillows for a long time but she needed a BED.

We bought lumber – 3/4 plywood, 4X4 posts, 2X8s, fence post tops and some kind of stripling pieces to go across the unfinished tops of the headboard and foot board.  We measured and designed and worked from a picture of someone ELSE’s new bed.  HRH sawed and drilled and routed – with the help of his brother and the Prince.  Part of the project was done in the brother’s garage.  Part of the project was done in my living room and dining room.  There is sawdust evidence of their efforts everywhere………

On Friday, the bed was still in pieces and there were some important finishing things that needed to be done before it could be assembled.  That was the plan for the day.

And then the phone rang.

It was our realtor.  His 9:20 am call was to tell us that we had lost the house.  The Perfect House.    He was as stunned as we were.

Thus began a terrible day of shock and mourning…..for all of us.  We were all tremendously deflated.  WHY did this keep happening???

The bed was in pieces…and so were our spirits.  But we did what every good American does when spirits are low.

We went shopping.  Together.

A commendable pile of on sale spring clothing and a pair of semi on sale new ‘board’ shoes later, we headed home.  Reaffirmed as a family, our spirits were still low but now we had a feeling that there was a ‘reason.’  We were ready to press on and find another ‘perfect house.’

Saturday was devoted to the bed.  Having decided not to paint until we were  in our new house and she knew what color she wanted it to be, Princess was deeelighted with the result.  It’s big and sturdy and….regal.  It fills her room and keeps all of her stuffies and pillows and blankets on the BED….where they belong.  HRH was filled with a much needed sense of accomplishment.  And I will be sweeping up saw dust for a week.  Project done.

On Sunday morning, I dragged myself out of bed and proceeded to wake the family.  Prince grumbled something unintelligible.  Princess lifted her head when I told her she could wear her soccer uniform as she had a game after the service…..and then dropped it back onto the pillows on her bed.  Only HRH showed any….enthusiasm?  We left the sleeping royals to their teen dreams and went to our favorite 8 am service. 

What a surprise to find out that the morning message would be delivered by none other than Gil Miller.  He was the pastor of the church when we first started sporadically attending this congregation.  I had first been invited to attend by his daughter, who was then a student in my Kindergarten class.  The incomparably spirited ‘M’ had provided me with a myriad of great memories from that particular class.  And I sincerely loved her supportive and loving parents.  The Millers had been moved to another congregation several years after M left Kindergarten and it had been forever since I had seen them.  Like twenty years forever.  To see him at the pulpit brought a flood of memories.  Dang good ones, too.

Gil is the kind of minister that always seems to preach directly to YOU.  And this service was no different.  In a tiny capsule, his ‘Lessons from the Trail’ was about mountain bikes and broken clavicles and trials and tribulations.  He said that our faith prepares us to pick ourselves up and get on with it….again. 

I knew that.  I have done that before.   And I really, really needed to hear that again.  Today.

HOW does he DO that?????

So now, enlightened and rested, our Spring Break is over.  Princess has a bed….at last.  HRH will be going back to work soon….we hope.  We head into the outdoor soccer season’s practices and games and tournaments.  We head into the last 48 days of this school year.  (Yikes!  Gotta get busy on those 600+ report card comments!!)  And we head out in search of an even more ‘Perfect House.’

What a week.

Life is Good.

God is even better.

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Treasures

April 3, 2010

Okay….so we are thinking about moving.  Well, we are going to move.  Eventually.  We are thinking about PACKING to move.  Its a daunting task when you realize that we have been living in this house for nearly 18 years,  All the nooks and crannies and cubby holes and closets are fairly stuffed with…..well….junk.  I am not looking forward to it. 

However, this morning I took a box and headed for an easy one.  The cupboard I have been thinking about starting with for…well…weeks now.  Its that nondescript one over the stove where I keep cook books and recipes.  Truth be known, these days I rely on my computer for the recipes I need.  I can find them online or stored in the recipe ‘folder’ I keep on my hard drive.  What do I have to keep actual…books….around for?  So I went at the task with a vengance, planning to pitch and purge. 

Easier said than done.  Heh.

First there was the Betty Crocker Cook Book my mother received as a wedding gift.  I learned to cook from that thing.  Several pages are missing – including the cake from scratch recipe that I used to make cakes with when I was about ten years old.  Gotta keep that, right?

And ‘The Family Circle Cookbook’ my husband was given when he moved into his own apartment after his divorce?  Okay, so I kept that one.  I’ll pass it along to the next person we know who moves in their first apartment after a divorce.  Here’s hoping it stays in our collection forever.

‘Cooking Light for One’?  That one should have been tossed a looonnng time ago.

“Everything Chocolate”?  Mulled that one over for about two minutes.  Okay.  So I kept it.

‘Four Ingredients’, ‘CrockPot Delights’, ‘Chinese Cooking’…..all went into the box of ‘keepers’….along with every one of the half page sized cookbooks I have bought in the grocery store check out line.  They hold treasures of casserole, crescent roll, chicken, hamburger, cookie and Bisquick recipes.  (Impossible Pie, anyone?)

I found a treasure trove of magazines.   Remember reading Erma Bombeck when she was still  alive???  Good Housekeeping also carried stunningly easy ‘gourmet’ recipes.  I found newspaper pages folded carefully for a recipe I couldn’t figure out which I was saving.  Found some frosting container covers with recipes on the opposite side.  Kept some of those. 

Found my ‘Blue Book’ for canning.  Kept that.  Might even use it again sometime.

‘Southern Living Cooking’?  Pitched that.

‘Calorie Cooking’?  Nothing interesting there. Pitched.

I actually decided to keep more than I pitched and purged.  But the ‘new’ collection fits easily into a fairly small cardboard box until it can be relocated to a new shelf in a new cupboard in a new home.

And the ‘treasure’ I found was this……

It’s a recipe card for ‘XMas Log (6 rolls)’ – folded, stained and found stuffed behind the aforementioned cookbook collection.  I have NO idea how it got there but I DO know I have been looking for it.  Its a frozen confection of glazed cherries, coconut, nuts, marshmellows, crushed graham crackers and Eagle Brand milk.  I have NO idea where my Mother got it.  I have memories of sneaking slices of it during the Christmas season.  I have been hankering for it for YEARS.  Haven’t been able to find it online anywhere.   Couldn’t remember enough of the ingredients to fudge a recipe on my own.  Dang!  My heart did flip flops when I pulled that little card out!

I transferred the recipe to my file on my hard drive and put the card in the keeper box. 

Right in front of the ‘Magic Cookie Bar’ recipe that was used to fill Pringle cans that were sent to me when I was in college several states away.

Both written in my Mother’s hand.

Treasures indeed.