Things That Work

Today was a long day. It's my last day of "freedom" before I am expected to show up at work every morning at 8 AM, AMERICAN time, every day. 5 days a week. Forever. As soon as I got the call from the school, I thought to myself: This day shall be spent on the couch with no bra. This day will be a celebration of the departure of my leisure days. This day shall be unproductive. But I lied to myself. I caught up on all of the stuff I had promised to do for the fire department three weeks ago and had been putting off, since I could always just "do it tomorrow".  I made more applesauce. And then more applesauce. I framed concert posters that have been crying to me sadly from their cardboard tubes since the summer of 2010. I caught almost the entire population of fruit flies in our house in the glass of wine that I kept misplacing. I made tomato sauce and canned it. I painted things and folded things and cooked things and took care of business that had long been neglected for another day. My days are now numbered. They are no longer mine. They are obliged to someone else forever.

look. It's my favorite. Fire map in the background,  and this is the first show Josh went to with me. But I broke the corner of the glass! NOOOOOOOOO!!!!

Kizzie's Birthday show in Spokane - and the Reno show that I drove a thousand hours with all 4 kids for. AWWWW

Josh is ecstatic. I think mostly because I will be less bored, more exhausted, and hopefully not have the energy to pick fights with him anymore, which he is convinced has become my full time occupation lately. His full time occupation has been remodeling our house, which, while utterly cool, is also utterly stressful, and not just to the dogs who are all TERRIFIED of power tools. I have been somewhat helplessly watching Josh manhandle 12 foot long sheets of drywall into spaces that are slightly less than 12 feet and try to turn them. I could have offered to help, but being generally weak, clumsy and also entertained by watching, I decided I was better keeping my distance. I have tried to help him figure out the maze-like electrical wiring in the house, by standing in the bathroom and shouting when the lights go off because he flipped a switch on the back porch, or tripped the breaker marked "upstairs". It's an adventure, this weird house. He's always discovering new and awesome things. Like an uninsulated roof, and a random post behind an even more random wall. He made some joke about how silly he'd feel if the upstairs fell down after he cut the random post out, and I can't help but feel relieved that my bedroom is on the other end of the house. He knocked himself out cold yesterday when he jumped up into the attic and banged his head on a post that was hiding deviously behind a chunk of insulation from a wall. I heard a moan and asked if he was OK, but he didn't answer so I figured he was up where he couldn't hear me, and I kept on chopping peppers. Later he told me that he thinks he was out for a couple minutes, but since I didn't bother to check on him, we don't really know. 
please note Truck's watchful eye in the mirror. 
Now the day is coming to an end. I have given up picking the fruit flies out of my wine and am embracing them as protein, riddled with healthy vitamins from the fruits and vegetables in my kitchen which they have been devouring. I canned a quart and a half of tomato sauce because that's how much there was. Not two quarts. Never the right amount. And I put the copious amounts of applesauce on the back porch in the remarkable cold to deal with tomorrow afternoon. After work. I am sure there is the equivalent of about 4.75 quarts of applesauce to can, just to be conveniently wrong. I have removed myself from kitchen to couch and now I sit here with three traumatized dogs. Penny is still too fat to get up, so she is snoring off the trauma on three cushions on the floor. Truck is watching Josh's reflection cuss out drywall sheets in one of the mirrors on the living room wall. Aspen is "cleaning her room" which, while I am sure is no more effective than her "washing the dishes" was at chore time, is at least out of sight and earshot. How a child can live in the same house as everybody else and know so frighteningly little about where things go, or how to do things, is amazing to me. Amazing. Kizzie is trying on homecoming dresses that Josh won't let her wear, while Josh is fantasizing about the colossal infraction that she will commit to forgo the Homecoming dance altogether. No one really knows what Natalee does in the evenings. She says homework, but I have a feeling that she is knitting sweaters for her pet rabbit or his soon-to-be offspring, or something as industrious and completely disconnected from real life as possible. I promised Josh we could work together late into the evening in jammie pants,  with our eclectic mix of Avett Brothers, Frank Sinatra and Florida Georgia Line, with a little Warrant thrown in, blaring in the backdrop, drowning out the pouty cries of grossly wronged teenage girls. He hasn't embraced the jammie pants yet, apparently they don't do well with tool belts. It seems my role in this labor of love might consist of offering moral support from the couch, keeping the dogs out from underfoot, and luring the fruit flies away from his workspace. It feels important. 

 I know that I need to go take a shower and pick out my "first day of school outfit", which I already whined about not having brand new. I was shut down quickly with a very specific look and a couple of well placed words about my wardrobe, and decided I would make do. Taking a shower is officially the first step of "getting ready" for my new job, and I am just not quite ready yet. A few more fruit flies... 

Things That Break

It's been a rough week, y'all. I've broken two of my favorite wine glasses that I got for SUPER cheap at the Pendleton store. My back has been out and getting worse, and I can't stop sneezing. Aren't allergies supposed to be a spring thing? But to ice the proverbial cake, an unnamed teenage daughter of mine snuck off after a soccer game with a mutually nameless boy for an unaccountable hour. And then she offered a series of stories which were all too easily deflated to explain her mysterious absence. How do you deal with this, Successful Parents of Teenagers Who Survived? She is obviously grounded, which doesn't mean a whole lot since we are not revoking volleyball participation, and that is the bulk of her social life... The boy she was with is a pretty nice boy - and I am not terribly worried that they did Horrible and Lascivious things, but the lies! It's the lies that break me. Make me sad. Make me worried. Make me want to do drastic things like lock her forever in a tower until her hair is long enough for some awkward prince to climb up and rescue her. I would endure a thousand shattered wine glasses and a lifetime of sneezes if I knew that she told me the truth.

Broken trust is worse than anything else that breaks, because it's not replaceable, and it takes eons to heal. Longer than the worst broken bone. It takes work to mend it. Hard work. Concentration and deliberate choices and painful sacrifice. Most people don't find it worth fixing. It's easier to throw away a relationship than to try to rebuild broken trust. I have been in some of those throw away relationships. I have been the breaker of trust and I have  had my trust broken by others. I have refused to do the rebuilding work, and I have been refused. How do you teach your children the necessity of restoring the breach that they create? I know example is the thing. Living that life of restoration and commitment to the hardest parts of making relationships work. Letting them see me building trust and allowing trust to be built for me. This is a hard, hard thing for me, and probably one of the biggest hinderances to my marriage. Maybe why violated trust with my daughter is so heartbreaking. Except I think broken trust always hurts. I don't know that it gets worse the more it happens to you... In some ways I think I have built a thick callous against it, except the callous disables me from trusting the people I should. It's hard to break my trust when I have never given it to you in the first place, you know? Josh certainly does. He patiently shakes his head at me and my trust issues, and tries his best to prove me wrong. The callous wears thinner with lack of constant abrasion. But lying teenagers don't help. Josh labors under the misconception that I trust other people more than him. People that have Questionable Morals and I don't even know very well. Mostly guy friends that I seem to admire. He doesn't get that I DON'T really trust them. I wouldn't even dip my toe in the pool of trust with them, let alone try to dive in and live with them and rest my life in their hands. I might like them. Or think they're cool. But I sure as heck don't TRUST them much. Trust has different levels I guess. I might trust them enough to invite them to my house. Trust they won't rob me. Or kill me. He wonders why I don't question them, or accuse them of heinous ulterior motives (something he gets from me a lot). But I don't have to question them. I don't have to live with them or know anything beyond face value. If they lie to me, I don't care, because I have not entrusted my soul to them. Poor Josh has the great honor of cradling my exposed - or semi exposed, and roughed over with scar tissue - soul in his strong hands. It's as fragile as my Pendleton wine glasses. But not as cheap. And much harder to replace. Or I would like to think so.

This is what I want my kids to get. Trust is one of the most precious things that another human being will give you. If you damage it, it takes time and hard work to fix it. But it's worth it. Exposing yourself to another person, or people, in your family, your closest friends, your lover - it's what makes life worth it. Relationships that are built on the never-perfect but much valued mutual trust of two or more people are the things that make life rich and meaningful. I have learned - am learning - this: That trust is the key element to any great friendship. And any love affair, family tie or best buddy is nothing without friendship. Ok, maybe not nothing. Maybe you get some good recipes or make out sessions or a few laughs. But really - friendship is important. And there's no friendship without a little bit of trust.

I have been waxing much too philosophical for a Wednesday morning. Probably it was an excuse to stay wrapped in my germ blanket a little longer because my house is COLD. Cold enough that the fingers I broke two years ago are aching. Old hurts like to remind you of them when it gets cold. This is true on many levels, but there I go getting all metaphorical again.

I just got a phone call that I start work tomorrow. Real, grown up, full time-ish work at the school. I am excited. I am excited because I chose to be. And because I get to work with some of my best friends. And because I will be five steps away from sneaky teenage daughters At All Times. And because for the first time in my life, I will have a sort of retirement fund thingy. I am not even sure exactly what that is. But I am ready for it. Or I will be, once I get a new wardrobe and a couple of replacement wine glasses.

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