Wednesday, August 26, 2015

A happy goodbye

So far, it has been a productive day.  I sent the minutes of a recent meeting to all concerned.  I wrote a few pages of a manuscript I have been slogging along on. The house is in fairly decent shape, so no need to scurry around on that just now.

So I popped over to check emails, and there it was ... a message I had been half-expecting for nearly a week.  She is gone, for now. My friend and fellow laborer in Christ has been called home.  And good for her!  I am happy for her, really I am.

She had been ill for some months now, and she hated being dependent upon anyone, except Jesus.  She insisted upon still attending committee meetings, even after her lungs could no longer give her all she needed; she lugged her little oxygen tank up the steps to the second story conference room where we had always met.  Our leader was perfectly willing to move downstairs to make it a little easier on her, but no, she said she was getting along just fine, thanks.

Her smile, and jokey - poke you with a stick - repartee' were one of the first things that greeted me when I joined this group of women a few years ago to work with them in women's Bible classes here at my local church.

She was not your typical "little church lady" - she was feisty and she could be tart.  She brooked no nonsense and she definitely did not suffer fools gladly.  I liked her so much.

So I write this happy goodbye with tears in my eyes.  So glad for her, but cannot help but be sad for her family who will miss her so much.  And yes, sad for those of us who only knew her for awhile, but observed how she served faithfully, without complaint (okay, maybe a little griping once in a while, but very little) and was an encouragement to others.

Here is the thing I will remember about Effie - she was real.  A real believer, a real helper, a real worker, a real person - who really loved the Lord.

So as He bids you "welcome home" the rest of us offer you our very best efforts at a happy goodbye.  Please excuse our sniffling.  I know you had no use for snifflers.
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Hope your week is full of happy hellos. Until next time ~ Marsha

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Adventures in Reclining

As I mentioned in the prior post, the LOC* recently decided that his recliner had done its duty by him, and he was ready to let it go retire in the great living room in the sky.

It was not that it was exactly old and worn out;  as it was less than five years old, and I had had it regularly professionally steam cleaned.  No, rather it was no longer quite as comfy/cozy as he wished it to be. He may think the same thing about me, but I have not yet decided whether to put the question to him.  Frankly, I am not sure I really want to know.

The soon-to-be-donated chair had lots of features, to be sure.  It vibrated, it heated up, it rocked and of course, it reclined. But it had lost "that lovin' feeling" - it no longer offered that lofty, plush for the tush.  Ask me if this guy is spoiled rotten.
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So we betook ourselves to a couple of furniture stores and ended up at the national chain mostly known for whiz-bang, hot-dog, can't live without 'em recliners.

Times had changed, however, and the model that once made my husband's heart go pitter-pat was no longer in vogue.  Yep, sounds familiar. 

The massage feature, with which he formerly soothed his tired legs and back (or backside) was no longer available.  At least not in the color he liked, in the fabric he wanted, in the size he preferred, in combination with the power features he desired.

Oh, please.  We are not talking rocket science here; it is a chair for crying out loud. 

Finally, he located one that was not too hard, and not too soft, and while it was not necessarily "jussssst riiight" it was apparently as close as he was going to get - so Goldilocks ponied up an amount of money that was more than we paid for a car in years past.

A date was set for the great delivery, and we anxiously awaited the new addition to the family.  It came, it went, and the LOC still had no chair.  Oh, they brought us one; but it didn't work.  We were told that this virtually never happens, but it did.  The thing did not go together properly; so they used a little muscled persuasion.  Finally he sat in it and tried to recline, and it nearly threw him into the next room.  Not good.

So they asked us to sign an affidavit, or some such document, attesting that they had attempted delivery, but that we had declined to accept the product as presented. ( I guess they had to be able to prove that they actually drove the delivery van up the hill and tried to give us the darned thing, rather than having their supervisor think they had been lolling at the lake all afternoon.)

 It was, alas they admitted, a manufacturer's defect.  Just our luck.  But the good news was that it would only be another week, before they could bring a replacement.  Great.
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Well, it finally arrived and now sits in all its glory, with its LED lit power-button device always at the ready.  It has a power back, a power seat, and a power-foot rest, all of which operate independently of one another.

Oh, and it also boasts a power-lumbar adjustment feature (don't I just wish I had one of those - not the chair, but on me) and a power-headrest.  Seriously?  A power headrest?  Yes.

The LOC used to wrestle a faded blue pillow into this and that shape until he got it just right behind his head.  No more.  Now with a flick of the switch, the whole hot-dog headrest hums forward and backward -oooh, ooh, another inch forward, no, noooo, just a half-inch back - ahhhh - that's it!

So for just the cost of a small yacht, I am able to discard a worn pillow purchased at K-Mart for $12.99.  What a deal!

Of course, this whole acquisition has not been without its challenges, for the poor unfortunate LOC.  As he sits royally humming his back forward, and his head backward, and his lower limbs up and down, he gazes over toward me in my - wait for it - my plain Jane recliner and asks archly, "Honey, does it took to you like my feet are higher than my heart?"

I was uncertain as to whether this was something to be avoided or a greatly-to-be-desired result.  Thus, I was not sure how to respond to that question. 

"You would know better than I", I say with feigned interest.

But one thing I do know, the cost was certainly higher-than common sense would indicate was necessary.  

Oh well, what is our life, but a vapor that appears for a little while and then vanishes?  Right?  At least when his time comes to disappear, he will have known the thrill of a really good recliner.  You cannot ask for a whole lot more; and at our time of life, it will have to be enough.
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Hope you have a comfy place to recline this evening.  Until next time - Marsha
(*Lovable Old Coot  )

Saturday, August 15, 2015

The Whining Old Gray Mare

While I am often a practical realist, there are times when I have deluded myself into thinking I am still thirty ... or forty ... or well, you get the idea.

This week has been a foot race, and now my feet hurt.

We had a call to go to a friend's home to meet a repairman for them, because they had to work.  (When you are retired, some people assume you have nothing to do....just saying.)

We had unexpected overnight company.  He called a few hours before arriving asking if it would be ok to "crash at our place" for the night.  What could we say?

He's a nice young man, but unbeknownst to him, we already had company coming the following day, so now it was to be back-to-back guests, with no time to recoup in between.

Sheets to be laundered, the roof to be polished, the garage to be mopped, sidewalks to vacuum.  (Sort of joking.)

Then another friend called from out of state, to say the local water company had called them to tell them to check for a leak here at their home.  Around here the drought is so bad we save saliva, and use spit to water our favorite plants.  Everything else has already bitten the dust.  So off went the LOC* to check on their forbidden water waste. ( I hope the "spring in his step" was not because I was left to do the polishing and shining without his participation.)

Then I attended a meeting wherein I am the "minute taker" - and my minutes were in short supply this week.

Then we had guests for dinner - roast beast with alllll the fixin's.  By now I was seriously limping.  But oh how we laughed at the tales our guest from overseas regaled us with. (I know my modifier is dangling and I am too tired to care.)

Finally, phone calls, emails, and to-do lists for a family event that I am in the midst of planning.

Here was the result of all that hectivity.  Yesterday, I could hardly get up out of my recliner.  But at least I had a recliner.  Thank heavens for small mercies.  Earlier this month the LOC's recliner had given out, was disposed of, and the new one had not yet been delivered. 

Thus, I was without a chair for two weeks, as I graciously loaned him mine. (Graciousness can be faked for two weeks, I have discovered.  Beyond that, I may have been tempted to kick him to the curb, or forced to flop onto his lap.  Either would have been difficult, but I was getting desperate for a comfortable place to sit.)
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So here is my plan for tomorrow - Sunday.  I am going to rest - and rest - and rest - and thank the Lord that, in all His wisdom, He thought to create a special "day of rest" for those of us who do not always have sense enough to pace ourselves.

Of course, that could be because it has temporarily slipped what used to pass for my mind that I am not as young as I used to be. 
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Hope you are resting comfortably this evening and that tomorrow offers you more of the same.  I am shuffling over to my reclaimed recliner where I shall be for the next day, except for a brief trip to church in the morning.  Have a wonderful day of rest - until next time . Your not-so-young gray filly - Marsha
*LOC (Lovable Old Coot - to whom I am married)

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

A Circle of Quiet

We live in a noisy world.  This is not "new information" I realize.  However, I am lately more and more aware of how clamorous our world has become.

Was it always like this and I have, perhaps, only become more sensitive to it of late?  I doubt it.

I recall afternoons walking along tree shaded sidewalks, listening to the birds chirp; occasionally the hum of a bee would make its way into my consciousness.  It was a serene experience; one which I savored.

Try finding a quiet sidewalk these days.  Horns honk, people shout at one another.  We go into a restaurant to enjoy a bite to eat, and conversation is pretty much drowned out by the various TV screens all around the place.  And, no, this is not a sports bar, but a family restaurant that we formerly enjoyed in peace.  

Management only installed the TVs last year. Why, I do not know, given that every second person in the place is busy texting, tweeting, or watching something on the tiny screens with which they are so engrossed. 
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How blessed the man you train, God, the woman you instruct in your Word.  Providing a circle of quiet within the clamor ...
Psalm 94: 12-13 (MSG)

God gave us the gift of hearing as one of the five wonderful senses through which we experience the world.  Who would want to miss a baby's chuckling laugh?  A Beethoven symphony?  Or a snappy jazz riff, for that matter? Personally, I like the sound of a good solid thwack when Buster Posey hits another home run. 

In my corporate days we actually paid a service to provide "white noise" throughout our offices; a kind of muffled sushing sound that swept perpetually through the hallways and cubicles, the conference rooms and executive suites.  This was in addition to the "elevator music" piped ubiquitously throughout.  The music and white noise were a subliminal duet meant to soothe our pressured psyches, I suppose.

Heaven forbid we should actually have silence.

I love the fact that God is willing to provide us with a circle of quiet amid the raucous, jolting, cacophony of today's society.  A quiet place in which to reflect, meditate, pray, or just think a thought or two.

A circle of quiet ... it reminds me of an old song we used to sing once in awhile.  I do not recall the author, but it went something like -

There's a place, filled with grace
I can see my Savior's face,
Within the circle of his love.

There I find,
Peace of mind,
I'm so happy all the time
Within the circle of his love.

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Hope you have a fine moment or two today within a "circle of quiet" with Him.  Until next time ~ Marsha

Monday, August 3, 2015

AWWWWkward !!

Victims of technology ... we alllll know what that feels like.

Or if you do not, yet, you will sooner or later.

This week we have been struck, assaulted, as it were. 

No, it was not the massive decline of the Dow Jones, while experts watched helplessly for hours trying to figure out what was wrong with the stock market, while it fell three hundred and fifty points, before they shut it down.  Our own 401(k)s held hostage right along with those of everyone else.

Oh, no.  It was not that.

No, we were not standing in one of the endless lines at an airline counter, trying to rebook a flight, while the entire airline's network collapsed, and no one could figure out why.

But that's okay, because, after all, they apologized for "any inconvenience."  They are such polite numbskulls, aren't they?

Why what could be inconvenient about missing family events like a wedding or a graduation?  Or perhaps, sleeping on a filthy boarding area carpet all night, or a hundred and one other indignities, while they tried to figure out why their own systems were backfiring.

Oh, no.  It was not that.

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No, here at the old scatter, the LOC was proudly in possession of a brand new, handy-dandy, voice-activated entertainment system remote device.

And thus, our very own personal technological nightmare began.  Although civilization did not come to a end, our union was a near thing there for a few hours.

They are known, actually, as recurring nightmares around here.  That is because each time one of us buys a new thinga-majig, or orders a new whatcha-ma-callit, we have this whole terrifying experience to try to survive.

This one was worse than most.  

He is, or so he claims, both an intuitive and a tactile tech user.


Translated, this means a) he does not need to read the manual - why waste the time, when you have intuition on your side? - and b) it means he is going to continue to push buttons until something does what he thinks it is supposed to do.

Meanwhile, chaos ensued.

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He located the "listening" button on the new remote, right away, which I must say is more than I have ever been easily able to locate on him.  Just saying ...

He already knew the command menus by heart, so he began to speak his truth to this life-aid, without which, the makers tell us we will soon not know how we ever survived.  Yes, well, we may not survive with it, either.

"Forward" - he said authoritatively - as it told us it was listening carefully. 

Sorry, I didn't understand. (The VA -voice activated text on the screen displayed.)


Can you say that again, please?


Did you say Forward"?


And suddenly the DVR took off like a bat out of a hot cave.  And it kept right on going.

STOP  - STOP - STOP !  (Shouted the *LOC,  not the remote.)

Honey, I said, trying to sound reasonable during the early going, "What button do you hit when it has gone as far forward as you want it to?"

He glanced at me, clearly irritated, and said, "The play button, of course."

"Well, you might try saying "Play" then.  Just a thought.

PLAY - he shouted at the device.

Like magic, our program resumed, albeit about a half an hour ahead of where we wanted to be.

He grimly, but manually, hit the rewind button for a few seconds and tried again.

Holding the remote at arms length, and speaking directly to it, as thought it were hearing impaired, he stated emphatically,

But our program disappeared altogether, and a new menu came into view, inviting us to select among several video selections.

One appeared to be a streaming movie entitled "Awkward."


No, not awkward.  FORRRRWAAARRRD !!!

Meanwhile in an aside, he says to me conversationally, "Have you heard of a movie called Awkward?"

No, and I don't want to. I'm living that movie.  I'd like to watch the ballgame, thank you.

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Eventually he figured out that he didn't need to shout, hold the dratted thing at arm's length, or exxxaggggerate his pronunciation.

At least that is he what he reported to me the following morning.  I personally would not know, since I had long since gone to bed.

I had to read about the game in the next morning's newspaper sport section.  So, we have come full circle - we may begin with a high-tech voice-activated device; but we will end by reading the information in a paper.

My current opinion of evolving - or devolving - high-technology is not printable.  Fortunately, they are still printing newspapers.  For now.  I am told their days are numbered, however, so you may want to grab one while you still can.
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Hope you are not being held hostage to a high-tech gadget this evening.  If one is currently threatening your well-being, RUN !
Until next time ~ your friendly neighborhood techno-peasant - and proud of it.
*Lovable Old Coot