Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Days like this...

In the grand scheme of life... I can't complain right now.

But I'm going to.

So here goes.

Exhibit A: On my way back from Dollar General tonight (had to get more safety pins for E's school's clothing sale), Dan's "Service Engine" light came on.  Seriously.  We had *just* said that we would have to get a new (to us) car the next time something happens to that car.  We cannot afford to continue to pour money into it.  (And did I mention our lawnmower died last week?  Yep.  Dead.)

Exhibit B: I went up in the attic to get stuff down for the sale and almost had a panic attack... I kept thinking I was gonna fall out.  And that would be reason enough to get wheezey, but add to that (Exhibit Pre-A) that I went to the pulmonologist earlier today to find I have an Upper Respiratory Infection... I'm on a Z-pack and Prednisone.  Rawesome.

Exhibit C: While we were upstairs, we realized our air conditioning isn't working.  Which would be great, since it's fall now, right?  And not the 900 degree summer?  Except that because of Exhibit Pre-A, I can't have a house with open windows  right now... pollen count and all.  Super.

Exhibit A.1: Dan leaves to drive across the state on Thursday... with his jacked up car.

Exhibit A+C: We are trying to save for a deck... because ours is about to FALL OFF OF OUR HOUSE AND SOMEONE WILL DIE AND SUE US AND THEN... wait... I get ahead of myself.  Seriously, our deck is ruined... and now that money will have to go to a car payment and a new AC Unit.

So, in the midst of 4 hours of chaos... what can I learn from this?
1. That Emily's Dad was wrong... I should NOT have been a lawyer.  Clearly, did you people see how I laid out evidence?  Shameful.

2. That God and Ryan Murphy love me more than the rest of you, because together they brought a FREAKIN-FANTASTIC episode of Glee tonight.  "Mr. Shue, I want your babies!"  Priceless.

3. That whether or not we get a deck (any of you want to build one in exchange for free ice breakers?), we are in such a better financial place than we were 9 years ago... I can't complain.  Well, I can (see above Exhibits), but I shouldn't.

4. That putting together cute invitations to a cute Halloween party is soothing... I really should do more of this these days.

5. That looking through E's old clothes makes me aware how blessed we are.

and... wait for it...

6. That SIX MONTHS ago I was getting ready to have surgery to remove my tumor.  And despite this junky night, I'm thankful I'm not there...   It's frustrating to be here, but I'm not in the hospital, yelling profanities (whoops) at nurses whose job in life it was to hurt me, in too much pain to cry, and away from my girl.  Instead, I'm at home with my family.

I'll take it.

And, once again, after hanging up with one of my oldest and dearest friends (preschool! Brownie camp!), I watched this:

I've seen it about 10 times today... and it still makes me smile.  And about 10 yesterday.  If I can teach E this... I'll be doing okay.  (Yes, I know I posted it as a link yesterday, but come on... can you stand how cute it is?)

Sometimes it takes old friends who you've shared 32 years of life with to remind you of that... and to just hear them laugh.  And while I'm at it, here's one of my favorite pics of all time:

Aunt Christy and E (9 months) Girls Weekend 2007
Good times.

ps... I guess this is 6.a.  I go back in to the doctor's in a couple of weeks for a check-up and to monitor the growth of those other little tumors they saw.  I sure would appreciate those prayers...  no innocent nurses need to deal with me again in the future...

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

I should talk about nudity more.

Seriously, you people responded the minute I posted something about a naked beach.  Zeesh, what have I been doing all this time telling cute E stories, or talking about my faith, or musing about why I'm as jacked up as I am? I should have just been saying things like "boobies" and you would all come running. (My google stats for the day went off the chart for the nude beach post...)


Hee hee.

Anyway, this actually isn't about nudity, FYI.  (But what a great heading, right?  It got you here...)  This is one of those musing about life deals.  So click on, all you people looking for other things* online, I'm here to talk about myself.  And I'm fully clothed.

When we moved to Winston 8 years ago, my friend Beth said she thought part of what God was going to do with my time here was allow me to write.  I've been "a writer" all my life.  I had a journal from the time I could hold a #2 pencil.  (Bought it from Hallmark.  It had a lock on it.  That never really worked.)  In middle school, I got on this jag where I'd write essays about my friends.  I still have about 15 of them.  If your name is Ben, Andi, Stephanie, Angela, Angela, Mandy, Michael, Dana, or Duffy... I could probably hook you up if you wanted to see what my 7th grade attempt to use big words said about you.  I actually went to Carolina to be in the Journalism School.  Yeah, that didn't happen.

See, along the way in about 1993, a woman named Donna "casually" helped me sort out my calling to the ministry.  At the time I was dating a guy who was going to be a preacher... therefore (because we were going to get married) I was going to be a preacher's wife, right?  During a talk with Donna about what I felt like God was saying to me about being a preacher's wife (which, ps, can you imagine how inappropriate I would be at THAT?) she mentioned that maybe God was calling me to the The Preacher.  Huh.

Being raised in a church that fully supported women in ministry (gasp!) I never questioned whether or not that was an option for me.  I just questioned what I would look like.

So when I got to Carolina, I waved goodbye to the J-school and said hello to the School of Education, then hello to Sociology, then hello to Religious Studies... and finally stopped there.  Going against the advice of a lady named Mary (who also helped me sort out my calling in life), a Religious Studies major seemed just right for me.  (Her helpful hint was to not major in it since I'd likely end up with a graduate level degree from a Div School, so not to bombard myself with All Religion- All The Time.)

I loved my degree and have put it to use... no, really Mom, I have.  (Thanks, again, for paying for college!)  But somewhere in the back of my mind I wonder what I missed at J-school.

A few weeks ago I had lunch with my friend Joy and she, too, asked what I was writing these days.  Follow that up with Beth checking in on me about writing... and now we're back to this Bloggy-blog.  I love it.  Like, love it so much I would marry it.  Not the blog itself, but the writing part.  I mentioned to my gal pals this weekend that if I could have any job in the world (apart from full-time college ministry, cause, let's not lie... who wouldn't want to hang out with them ALL THE TIME and get paid to do it, right?) it would be writing and speaking.  I would love to publish books then travel around to talk about them... and meet all you people along the way.

Maybe one day, that'll be where I land.  For now, I will continue to post here.  And I get giddy with every comment you post.  I once heard a kid say that a text message was like a Christmas Present to his phone... well,  your comments are Christmas Presents to my blog.  I smile when I know you are sharing part of my life with me... even if you skip words and only skim over it.  I gladly open up my heart and my life to you... be gentle with it.

I dig writing... so thanks for reading.

*Those of you brave enough to click my link?  Hysterical, right?  The author of this blog does not in any way condone using the internet for porn, but she may have giggled helplessly when seeing this show with some gal pals. Those under the age of 18 still living with your parents, get their permission before clicking.  Those over 18 living with your parents?  Who am I kidding... you'd already seen it already, I'm sure.   Boobies.  Hee hee.


Oh, middle-of-the-night-wake-ups, why do you taunt me?  I thought once E slept through the night we were good to go.  But, no, Webster barked and needed to go out... then I took some Albuterol and there was *no* turning back.  So the logical thing to do?  Fiddle on my blog.

I constantly re-arranged my room growing up.  Usually I would do it in the middle of the night (when my mom was least likely to bust me) while I was on Prednisone.  In college, my roomie and I used "productive" time to re-arrange... like when we should have been studying for exams.  Now, I re-arrange stuff when it gets on my nerves.  The other day I said to Dan "What would you think about moving furniture around in our bedroom?" to which he replied, "I would think you should get a new hobby."

It's what I do.

So when it was time to kick this blog up a notch and get serious about some writing, I contacted my good pal Sherri to fix me a header.  And viola... looky here, she did.

I've spent the last bit playing with colors and backgrounds.  I mean, if you people are gonna spend some virtual time with me, I want to look pretty for you.

(Warning: public service announcement ahead:) Contact Sherri for all your bloggity-blog needs.  She's good people, she'll do you right.  .

Monday, September 27, 2010

Why I Am Inappropriate.... (and we have a winner)

First things first... to those of you how commented on (and decided to "follow" my blog!), gracias.  Your stories were quite entertaining.  I wrote all of your precious names on pieces of paper and scientifically drew a winner.  Lindsay, you are the proud new owner of a purple tie-dyed beer coozie and a pretty white sand dollar.  I hope it didn't break in my bag.

Now on to the story....

So, last year when the five of us went to the beach for our First Annual Beach Weekend, we had a rockin' good time and had hilarious stories.  In fact, some were so funny that while I was on the phone this week someone said "after LAST year's stories, I can't WAIT to hear this year's."  And, to be honest, I didn't think it was possible to top those stories, but I am always up for a challenge.

Then we topped them.

By going to a nudist beach.



To make a very long (and quite hysterical) story moderately short, I'll break it down like this:  2 of the girls went for a looooooooooong walk on Saturday (all the way to South Carolina!) and stumbled upon this gem-mine of a NC Treat.  Apparently at the end of the NC Coast, there is an un-official "natural" beach.  It's a bird reserve... and a place for naked people to get, well, naked.

They were just strolling along and spotted this guy in tighty-whities.  Weird, righ?  Weirder was that he went to a MAILBOX on the freakin' beach and got something out.  They were a little concerned if they checked out said mailbox, they would unofficially be inviting themselves to a party they weren't ready to attend.  So they kept walking.  And saw ANOTHER tighty-whitey guy.  And a Speedo guy.  Oh, and 4 NAKED people.  Yep.

All along these very well behaved women were freaking out (to each other, not making a spectacle) when they said to each other, "we are SO glad Becky wasn't with us."



(Some of you have heard me tell the story of wanting to be known as "Inappropriate Becky" and how unbeknown-st to me, I already am that girl.)

So those 2 non-inappropriate girls (or, I guess, appropriate) came back to the others of us and shared this story.  What was an inappropriate girl like me supposed to do?

Go back the next day

With my camera.

Sunday morning after our fair share of coffee and cinnamon rolls, here we go:
We start walking down the beach and it looks like there are no views to be viewed.  Then these guys show up behind us.  I very stealth-ly snapped some pics of them.  Yes, dude in the black bottoms?  That's his cover-up.  You are getting just a glimpse of his real suit... a neon green thong

Because I am the funniest person I know, I cracked myself up with trying to get "fake" pictures where it looked like those guys were trying to hold my friend's hand (as they were walking ahead of us and not yet aware of the guys getting ready to pass them.)  I laughed until I wheezed.

Then a guy in boxer shorts walks past us and stops to chat.  Cause, you know, it's normal for me to talk to a stranger in his boxers on a Sunday morning.  We got to the end and turned to come on back.  Well, 3 of us did.  We flagged down our other 2 friends who were well ahead to let them know we'd be at the mailbox (later post to come)... as I turned back around to see if Boxer Shorts guy had stopped to talk to them, I realized Boxer Shorts guy was now Naked Guy.  And Black Cover-Up guy had removed said Cover-Up... and now was in his thong checking out Naked Guy.

Can't get a clear picture of what I mean?  Don't worry, because I am inappropriate I cropped it for you:

Sadly, because apparently NC has Blue Laws on nudie beaches too, we didn't see a ton more.  I mean, don't get me wrong, Green Thong guy took said thong off at some point, but I was too far away and didn't have my zoom lens to prove it.  And it started raining, which seemed to scare away some sun bathers.

All in all, that was an experience I will never forget (and don't need to repeat)... and it solidified my role as "Inappropriate Becky".  My favorite viral video these days is this one by maybe he'll remake it for me and add "What I am is... inappropriate"... until then, I'll just bring my camera and document life on my own.

I'm still laughing about it all....

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

"Real" Bloggers

I've been struck lately at how "real" bloggers do things... "Real" bloggers have followers.  ("Hi!" to the 10 of you I do have!)  "Real" bloggers ask questions and those followers post the answers in the comments section.  "Real" bloggers do contests and give prizes.

So, let's do this, people.

This weekend I am going to the beach with 4 of the best ladies I know.  Last year our trip was delightful... filled with fun, laughter, and wee bit of shenanigans thrown in there.  Here are some pics of the fun:
heaven will look something like this.

I was madly in love with the croissant.  Seriously.

 aren't we sweet and innocent?  
I could just pass out we're so cute...

Here's the deal... you people be "real" blog followers (not just the sweet people who comment on this when it shows up in the "Notes" section on Facebook... although I 'preciate-the-crap-outta-ya when you post anywhere...) and play my game.  In the comments section on this post, tell me about one of the funnest (it's my blog, roll with the made-up words) trips you've ever taken with friends.  I'll choose a winner from those comments and that winner will receive a souvenir from my beach trip this weekend.  Yep, you could be the very lucky owner of a rope bracelet, a shell ring, a live hermit crab, salt water taffy, or something equally beachy and cool.

Don't yet know where my blog is, oh Facebook Readers?  Meet me there... I'll be waiting.

Get to it... I want to laugh... tell me how much fun you had on a trip with some friends....

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Wasn't sure I was gonna come home... but....

My weekend, in pictures.  

Words about it to come in a later blog post... for now, just the sights- not the people.

And then... I came home.  And saw this little sight.  
And remembered why it's home now.

Haven't found the words yet... but they will come.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Dear Elizabeth, This is why I love your Dad.

Dear Elizabeth,

Today I read yet another poignant devotion by Jen Hatmaker.  (I know, I know... by the time you'll be reading this, I'm sure Jen will have decided to move to Winston-Salem to be one of my Besties... or, quite possibly, I'll be in some women's prison after violating a restraining order she placed against me.  I'm kind of obsessed with her.  Missed the link yesterday to her latest book?  Here is is again.)

Today, sweet girl, she gently reminded me how important it is to tell you how much I love your daddy.  Truthfully, I likely would have been better served to read that yesterday, but I digress.  Today it reminded me that a house divided will not stand... so let me tell you why we are a house united.

Your daddy and I started flirting around Halloween 1999.  The beginning of November (yep, like whole-days later) I ended up in the hospital due to an asthma attack... and your daddy, the med student, came and asked me out.  Your Mimi was thrilled he asked me out- not that she'd met him or anything- but because he was a med student.  (I think she was ready to be done with footing my bill and saw dollar signs in her daughter's future... at the time she didn't realize he was called to a psychiatrist to people who can't always pay for his services.)

I'm gonna be honest- while I was thrilled at the possibility of a date with a fun boy I'd been flirting with, I was a little hesitant:

  • He was wearing a fugly (don't use that word, E) red sweater at the time he asked me out.
  • He went to Duke.  (seriously.  ugh.)
  • He was way shorter than the guys I'd dated before who were much more "my type".
But I went... and then here is where things got even funnier:
  • He came to pick me up in his mini-van.  (yep.)
  • I offered to pay for dinner... and he freakin' let me.  (yep.)
  • He spent most of dinner telling me about some "rich" friends of his family and how smart he was (see above: Duke... ugh.)
Not much reason for Date #2?  Given those facts... you're right.  But while we were at the theater (score one for your Dad!  Not the movie theater, but the North Carolina Theater where saw "The Music Man"!) we sat behind a mom and her little girl- who actually happened to be about the age you are now.  Your daddy turned to me and said "I can't wait to have kids one day.  Do you want to have kids?"  At the time it seemed perfectly natural that he'd mention this.  But it was on a first date.  Seriously.  Guys don't do that... usually until way later.  Looking back at this I realize how this was the hand of God in our relationship... He tempered all of the things your Daddy did that were "odd" to me by giving this small insight into your Daddy's heart.

What I saw was this: A guy who was not afraid of looking like he's anticipating a family, even when it's not so cool to admit things like that... especially on a first date. And I chose to get to know that guy a little better... then I discovered these things:

  • Someone who loves to explore new places... which is why our road trips take extra long.
  • Someone who makes me laugh at ridiculous things... which is why Funniest Home Videos is not automatically turned off now- it's worth it to watch your Daddy laugh.
  • Someone who knows lots of things about lots of things (and maybe even thinks he knows more than he really does sometimes, but we'll keep that our little secret.)
  • Someone who is an amazing cook.
  • Someone who wants to share all we have with people who need it.
  • Someone who doesn't care about being in a part of medicine that is not as well respected as others... because he knows this is how he can impact the lives of his patients by living out what he, specifically, is called to do.
  • Someone who randomly quotes grammar "rules" when I misuse grammar... and now I quote the same rules, too.  (Condition to contrary fact requires future tense.)
  • Someone who understands that even though I'm a huge extrovert, my introvert side needs to recharge by being alone... and gladly uses those times to be with you and teach you new things.
  • Someone who understands that I'm a huge extrovert, and gladly uses time when I'm off being social to be with you and teach you new things.
  • Someone who understands that I need to be with him (without you!) and gladly pays for babysitters.
  • Someone who takes my job as a stay-at-home mom seriously, and sends me thank you notes occasionally to remind me just how important it is.
  • Someone who "gets" Glee.
  • Someone who has gone to numerous Barenaked Ladies and James Taylor concerts because he appreciates my love of them... and who gladly opted out of Jay-Z for the same reason.
  • Someone who was willing to send me off to Washington, DC with one of my besties even though he was dying to be there, too, because he knew it was important for me to have that chance.
And most importantly:

  • Someone who loves God most, and you and me next.  We've been trying to teach you this truth lately, Miss E, and your Daddy does a good job of showing you.  He has admitted to you how hard it is to say he loves God more than us, but he's working on it each day.  And because of that example, we can work on it, too.  He loves you so much... and that makes me love him more because of it.
I'm thankful I stuck it out with that guy who drove a mini-van, who made me pay for our first meal together, who talked a lot about himself at dinner, and who showed me that he values family.  Even today when he makes me stop what I'm doing about 400 times to help him find a DVD or the keys that he's misplaced... I'd do it all again.  He makes me crazy sometimes, but I'm crazy about him, so it all balances out in the end.  And even though lately you keep calling him "your" prince... he's actually mine.  But I'll let you share him until God shows you who yours is... be ready to find one that might not look like your "type"... because His type is far better.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

I am a freakin' hypocrite. (Volume One)

This summer was full.  VERY full.  BLOCK Party, camps, Camp of Kids, vacations, etc... usually, we have lots to do in the summer, but at some point my brain can shut down.  Unfortunately, that was not this summer.  My brain won't stop spinning these days.  I'm learning a lot about me and about other people... and the biggest thing I wrestled with this summer is this:

I am a freakin' hypocrite.


I am one of those.

I'm not the typical "Christian" variety you may be thinking of:  I'm not the gal who preaches one thing and practices another in regards to those big-ticket items that we Christians love to harp on.  I'm all for drinkin' and dancin' (and have found that while they go together often in my life, both have to be done in moderation... for the benefit of all around).  I'm not going to tell you how Jesus hates it when you curse then turn around and drop the F-bomb... I'm straight up in telling you that I love Jesus and I'm certain I make him cringe with some of the things I say.  Me and Jesus?  We're tight.  And I want to live authentically because of that.

No, I'm not the stereotypical hypocrite... I'm the more subtle variety.  (And this may be the only thing in my life I'm subtle about.)  Let me see if I can work this out...

Q: Do I want you to ignore the things in my past that are less than flattering?
A: Absolutely.
Q: Do I tend to keep score about the things in my past that you did to me that are less than flattering?
A: You betcha.

Q: Do I want you to help me process through things with sweet Dan when he says or does things that are jerky then immediately move past them?
A: Yep.
Q: Will I remember jerky things that your significant other said to you and store them in my "Why he/she doesn't love you well enough" File?
A: Fo' sho'.

Q: Do I expect you to give me freedom to live as God is calling me to live, even if it doesn't look like your way?
A: Completely.
Q: Will I look at your way and often make assumptions that it's not as "good" as mine?
A: Umm... maybe...

Q: Do I want you to give me large sums of money?
A: Uh-huh.
(That was just to see if you are paying attention.)

Now don't hear me wrong... I don't file away every single thing that you or others do and say and keep score about how to use those later.  I don't have the time, energy, or brain power left to do all of that.  But several times recently I've been made aware that I am asking one thing of my friends (forgiveness of them or others) and yet I've not been practicing it in my life.  I am excited and passionate about what I'm learning and want others to catch that same vision... yet I've realized that when they don't want to catch it, see it, hear it... I, well, um, maybe just a little... judge them.

That whole "Love keeps no record of wrongs" junk?  Puh-lease.

I'm working on it, people.  I hope you are too... when I get to the point that I'm free of judgement, I want to be surrounded by people who are free from that, too.  Just this morning I was reading one of Jen Hatmaker's books (which you ALL should read... seriously, she's hysterical and dead-on) Out of the Spin Cycle: Devotions to Lighten your Motherload.  She talked about just this point- and said that we have to accept our own junk.  We can be stripped down to the barest of who we are and it's cool... because we are accepting our sin and moving beyond that.  We won't be defined by who we were in the past or what we've done.

I'm willing to stand in that... you?

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Confessions of a Night Manager, Volume Two

I had a meeting at our house a couple of weeks ago and someone noticed my old nametag from the RMH on my refrigerator.  She turned to me and said "Now I see why you're so organized!  You used to be the Night Manager at the RMH!"



Yeah.  Except for not.

Sometimes I feel like I am bi-polar when when it comes to being organized, on-the-ball, whatever.  And this is why:

1. Three times in the last 6 weeks I've forgotten to take meals to people that I was signed up to deliver.  And I got email reminders about all 3 of them.  Uh-huh.  (I could give my reasons I've forgotten them, but that doesn't matter.  3 families expected me to bring them food... and I failed.)

2. My guest bedroom is full to overflowing with clothes... clean clothes (mostly)... which have been washed, dried, and folded- but not put up.  Company comes, so we scurry to do something with them, so they get piled in the guest bedroom... some to have to be re-ironed later.

3. I just finished TONIGHT my thank you notes from people caring for me after my surgery.  Which was over 5 months ago.  (Don't tell my mom.  I was raised better than this, people.)

4. I just remembered to mail someone a payment for something they sent me 6 weeks ago.

5. I have things in our stairway going down to the garage that have needed to be put "in place" for weeks... but the problem is the place to put them is still so cluttered, there's no room.

It's a vicious cycle.

Yet I WANT to be organized.  I WANT to be on-the-ball... and not even to impress people with my on-the-ballness, but for my own sanity.  I am involved in a lot of different things- when I'm not on top of my to-do lists and my calendar, I fear that I will forget a big commitment- even bigger than providing meals- and something important will suffer.  Ugh.

But tonight, as I was beating myself up for being so delinquent in writing thank you notes, I realized that there was something beautiful I could teach my daughter in all of this.  Instead of having to teach her, she showed me that she already gets it:

Mid-way through her seeing me writing thank you notes, she asked if she could write one.  She wrote it to our friend Savannah, for a toy Savannah gave E last year for her birthday.  We'd already written the "official" thank you note after getting the gift (a lot late, probably)... but E was inspired to write another one today.  Because today she was playing with it- and was reminded how much she loved it- and that made it important for her to write the note.

Well, she got inspired, and continued to write notes.
This one was for our babysitter, Miss Anna.  E was thinking of things she was thankful for and wanted Anna to know she was thankful for her... and her letting E play with playdough.  (She ended the note with "I hope we can be together again soon.)

When we got to church later, E's friend Becca came to sit with us.  E decided then to tell Becca how much she loved her.  Becca reciprocated by telling E "I am your best friend."  (Gosh, I love little girls.)  (Becca also said, when I asked her what she wanted for her birthday "I want Elizabeth to come to my party."  Now THAT is a sweet girl.  E would surely have asked for Mermaid Dora.)

What I love about my girl is that she gets how important it is to say thank you... she gets that it's important to say "I love you".  And because she doesn't have the unfortunate self-imposed guidelines that I do, she doesn't care if her thank you notes are prompt or just later when she realizes just how great the gift is.

I think that a thank you like that is far more genuine.

So those of you who haven't gotten a thank you from me yet?  For surgery or whatever?  Know that I'm thankful.  Because I am.  And I may remember a year from now when I'm thinking about your yummy salad dressing.  (I'm talking to you, ML.)  Or your tasty chocolate cherry cake (Yep, HM.)  Or that you were willing to, once again, hang out with my kid (thanks, MH, and JF, and MM, and....)  I am thankful.  Whether or not I told you in a way that would make Emily Post or my Momma proud is one thing... but what I taught my daughter about gratitude is another.

One day I want to be organized enough that when people hear I used to work at the RMH, it's a logical correlation.  But I didn't work there because I was super-organized or on-the-ball (sorry, RMH Board... the cat is out of the bag now!).... I worked there because I have a big heart and want to love people- even if it doesn't look  like it's "supposed" to.

Confessions of a Night Manager, Volume One

For those of you who may not have known us back in the day... we lived from June 2003-January 2007 at the Ronald McDonald House of Winston-Salem.  I'll admit, when my friend Laura emailed me the job posting for Night Manager, I wasn't so sure.  True: we needed a place to be where we were serving.  True: we needed a place to be where we could get in better financial shape.  But with the exception of what my friend Amelia had told me while we played Bunko, I knew very little about the RMH.  And now I would give up an adorable house in Ardmore to LIVE there?  Seriously?  But something checked in my spirit, so I sent in an application, went for some interviews, and got the job.  Night Manager.  At the RMH.  What the junk.

What that meant was this: Dan and I moved into the apartment downstairs at the RMH to serve as kind of the RA's of the house.  I worked in the office Sunday-Thursday from 5:30-8:00pm doing office stuff, then from 8:00pm-8:00am we were "on call" in case of emergency.  "Emergency" meant everything from evacuating the house when the fire alarm went off (and wouldn't stop going off for 2 hours) with a house full of guests- half of those not speaking English.  It meant answering our door 5 days after Elizabeth was born to find a family in crisis who needed us as much as my newborn did.  It meant answering the door at 2 in the morning when the Coke Machine took someone's money and didn't give them a Coke... yep, and that was when the sign went up on the door saying "Stop!  Only knock if this is a real emergency."  Each night I made sure the house was properly shut down for the evening, and did rounds as were necessary.

What it also meant was 3 and a half years of loving people when they were most vulnerable.  Teenage girls who had just become moms... and moms of preemies at that.  Parents whose son had just had his leg amputated... and continued to come back for check-ups and who wanted to talk basketball with Dan.  Talking to a mom one night (during the MTV VMAs, actually) who was sobbing asking why God would make some little ones suffer.  Seeing a mom with a 4 day old baby collapse when she got deemed a "cancer family"... her 3 year old was diagnosed with leukemia at noon the day her brand-new baby was born.  And the cool thing?  That newborn baby was the only one who was a perfect bone marrow match to be a donor for his older brother.  We also got to play Santa Claus for families on Christmas Eve... we got to have a picture taken with Ronald and tell him we were pregnant (sadly, that ended up being one of our miscarriages) and have him tell us "congrats on the Little McNugget!"... we had story after story of amazing moments.  Hard ones, sad ones, amazing ones.

And today, I got to go back.  Granted, I've been back multiple times over the last 4 years.  But today was different- today I got a sneak preview of the new house.  When we lived there, the house served 17 families.  Now, it will be able to house 35.  Seriously.  What the junk.  The house is spectacular.  It's beautiful.  It's perfectly decorated.  I teared up the entire time I was given the tour.

But the nuances I saw were ones that made me thrilled... not as a general "visitor" of the house... but as the old Night Manager.

A trash and recycling island... complete with "normal" sized bags that are actually functional to take out.  The old bins were so large that as they got full it was too cumbersome to take out.

Lockers for the families to put their grocery items in... so no one can accuse another of stealing their Mountain Dew.  Not that that ever happened... but if it did... I'm just sayin'....

A beautiful spot for Volunteers to come and get their nametags and leave their things... 
not having to do this in Abby's office like they used to....

Oh, sweet magical work room.  Complete with shelving, security monitors, and copier.  
Not to be confused with the old copier CLOSET which barely held, well, the copier.

A COT CLOSET.  Seriously.  Beautiful.  Rather than trying to remember which room had the extra cots... and having to enter those rooms to find them... 

Storage.  Beautiful storage.

AN ICE MACHINE.  (I'm misty-eyed just looking at it.)

While this might look like Chacy's office... it's not.  It's now Chacy's counseling area... 
SEPARATE from her office.  Seriously... it's the little things.

A comfy chair... and new breastpump.  In the LACTATION ROOM... no longer the "breastpump room".

Unreal.  The house seems to be ready to go... perfectly situated for all the families that will benefit from it.  And do the above touches make it NECESSARY to care for families who have children in the hospital?  Maybe, maybe not.  What they do allow is for the staff to function easier, to not trip over each other, and to provide the touches that make staying at the RMH so special... so different from a hotel.

Can't get the picture of what the house looks like from my random finds?  Well, I'll show you some of the other treats...

Gorgeous bedrooms.  Seriously, gorgeous.  
(And all of us commented that our rooms at home never quite look so put together.)

Beautiful common spaces.
(This room is where we watched the ball drop on New Years Eve, 2006... just before we moved out. 
 It looks a lot prettier now... and it was pretty then!)

And on a personal note...
I got sucked in to reading the name plates on the doors.  So many of them were given in honor of donors who have huge hearts for the RMH.  So many were names of people I never met, but knew their kindness toward the House through the years.  Some from from families I met... and this one was a family I sat with just moments after their precious son lost his battle to cancer.

These are glimpses of why I will always love the RMH.  We left when Elizabeth needed me as her Night Manager a little more urgently than I was able to provide both for her and the families of the RMH.  Now as she gets older, I want her to be involved with the House where she was born.  I want her to see what it's like to get to touch families who need a little more love during tough times.  And I want her to know some of the people who I love so much.

It truly is The House That Love Built.
(some of my fellow staff members from Back In The Day... I'll be celebrating with them and the rest of the staff at the Ribbon Cutting and Open House Sunday, Sept 12, 3-5pm.  419 S. Hawthorne Road.)

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Mary Poppins

This is what happens when you watch Mary Poppins before bed:

I'm bracing myself for what she'll try after Peter Pan.