You are currently browsing the monthly archive for August 2009.

I’ve been looking for a little while now but I think I’ve finally found it.

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This dresser was listed on Kijiji for only $40 and the pickup was in Orillia.  It’s solid wood and the right size and shape for where I’d like to put it.  It had a few pieces of trim missing but I realize the trim can be taken off very easily (those pieces on top were just ripped off with my bare hands) and without the trim and those handles this piece could easily be transformed into something less sixties looking.  Once I get the trim and handles off, I merely need to sand, paint, distress, polyurethane and drill holes for nifty knob pulls.  I can hardly wait to get started on it but I’m already waist deep in a project so it will have to wait until that one is more finished.  Still, I’m always excited when I’m looking for something and actually find it and it turns out to be full of potential.

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While I was out being Paper Delivery Girl yesterday, DA was at home being Mr. Wonderful.  I opened the door to freshly picked wildflowers,

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walked into a dining room decked out with balloons

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and sat down to a delicious “man made” meal of trout cakes with horseradish sauce, fingerling potatoes and coleslaw.  Dinner was rounded out with a lovely rose wine and soft music playing in the background.  How this man remained single as long as he did is completely beyond me.

Paper Delivery Girl is tired today.  On Thursdays, every single house gets a paper.  Let me rewrite that.  On Thursdays, EVERY SINGLE HOUSE gets a paper.  These papers are different than the ones Paper Delivery Girl usually delivers.  They are about three times as thick and about three times as heavy.  They are loaded to the max with flyers and don’t load all that well into Paper Delivery Girl’s delivery system.  Paper Delivery Girl knows.  Her bucket overflowed with papers today and tipped over three times in a short space of time.  This was not one or two papers falling out.  This was the whole bucket falling over with at least twenty super fat papers stuffed to the gills with flyers going splat on the sidewalk.  The first time it happened Paper Delivery Girl got more vigilant about where she was pulling her bucket on a luggage carrier.  Bumps and cracks in the sidewalk were bad she learned.  The second time it happened Paper Delivery Girl had the inkling that maybe, just maybe, she’d have to change her ways.  By the third time she was sure of it.  She wanted to throw back her head and cry out in frustration and she did a little bit.  Mostly she remembered she was downtown and such things are generally frowned upon.  She also remembered to give thanks in her heart that it was such a calm day.  Can you imagine if there had been a gusty wind blowing?  Paper Delivery Girl can.  It’s not a nice image in her imagination.

Paper Delivery Girl learned the hard way that she can carry thirty to forty Thursday papers in her bucket without it tipping precariously at every uneven spot along the way.  She figured out that she could divide her routes up into two or three smaller loops moving her van forward a little at the end of each loop and thereby deliver her freebies without them kissing the sidewalk every few paces.  Paper Delivery Girl walked and walked and walked the rest of the day without problems or incidents.  Paper Delivery Girl is glad she learned this important info on such a nice day.

Last night, I had another lengthy battle with the washing machine.  DA and I have repeatedly tried the solutions offered in the troubleshooting section of the guide but the trouble just doesn’t die.  The next step, according to the guide, was to call a professional in.  I was loathe to do that.  My experience with professionals is that they come in, work for five minutes and then hand you a hefty bill for their expertise.  My tired brain decided instead to google my problem to see if anyone else with my make and model of washer has experienced the same thing and if there was a workable solution to it.  It took me about a minute to feel like I had hit the lottery.  Our exact problem was on the web and someone who called himself “Washing Machine Guru” had step by step clearly written instructions for fixing it.  There were forty-two comments after the instructions saying how helpful they were and how following them had totally fixed the problem.  If I could have tapped into super human strength, I think I would have hoisted our washing machine up and started with Step #1.  Alas, super human strength alluded me last night so I resorted to keeping the link up and writing a note that I hoped DA would see when he got home from work.

The man saw it alright.  By the time I got back from delivering papers today, he had already moved through all the steps and fixed the washer.  It’s working like new now.  Take a look.

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Only one try and we got to “Cycle Complete”.  DA and I were practically dancing in the kitchen giving each other high fives.  The problem was a cloth napkin and some elastics had made their way to the drain pump and were impeding it from working properly.  Once the front panel was off (that’s the part where you had to lift the washer so that you could get at the screws holding the panel on), DA could easily clean out the pump.  And clean pump = properly draining washer.  Woo hoo!  I can’t tell you how excited we are that we fixed the problem ourselves at no cost other than some time.

For the next six months, I am Paper Delivery Girl.  After that, who knows?  I may morph into some other identity.  If the newspaper corporation is a ladder, the position of paper delivery girl is definitely the bottom rung.  Meaning it’s the first place people step on when there are problems.  And there have been problems.  Mostly in the way of miscommunication and missing communication.

Paper Delivery Girl dutifully went out Saturday morning marching the streets of Orillia to give a select clientele their daily reading fix of not so new news.  It was hot but Paper Delivery Girl didn’t complain.  She drank lots of water and performed her service.  A number of the places she was supposed to leave papers at were closed for the day (think government buildings here).  Not having any specific instructions for how to deliver to these particular locked buildings, she thought on her feet, rolled up the requisite number of papers and neatly placed them behind the door handles.  There was another building that was locked that she did have delivery instructions for so she rightly followed them.

Monday morning, Paper Delivery Girl got some flack from government employees.  Apparently she was supposed to deliver Saturday’s paper with Monday’s paper.  She apologized, explained that she had been given no instructions to that effect and went on tell what she did do.  No good. She’s the lowest rung of the ladder and therefore got stepped on.

Paper Delivery Girl made a special trip to the next rung up on the ladder to ask about this problem.  The next rung up swears that instructions for Saturday’s papers were given on a map that should have been given to her.  Paper Delivery Girl is sure no such map was handed to her and feels that the upper rung is also trying to step on the lower rung.  Not the best feeling.

Today, Paper Delivery Girl was told that she was delivering papers to the wrong address inside this same government building.  She’s a bit frustrated about it.  The delivery sheet said to deliver to “Human Resources Canada”.  There is no office marked “Human Resources Canada” in that whole building.  Paper Delivery Girl knows because she wasted some time wandering around the building looking for it before she finally asked someone to point it out.  She was directed to “Employment Resources” where she has been faithfully delivering papers until she was told by someone not too kindly that “Employment Resources” does not get a paper delivered to them.  She didn’t respond in kind.  She apologized and asked nicely where “Human Resources Canada” was.  Unkind lady didn’t know but sent her over to “Services Canada”.  Turns out “Services Canada” is “Human Resources Canada”.  The names are just so similar it’s amazing Paper Delivery Girl didn’t know that.  She bit her tongue and wasn’t sarcastic.  She apologized yet again and explained the circumstances behind the mix-up.  Services Canada man asked for her name.  Turns out this particular paper is the one that goes to the mayor of Orillia whom some in the higher rungs of the paper industry have dubbed “his worshipfulness”.  Seems his worshipfulness isn’t too pleased with Paper Delivery Girl.

How will this particular chapter end?  Paper Delivery Girl isn’t too sure.  She is resolved to let the negativity she’s encountered in this particular building roll off her like water off a duck’s back or maybe the grimy sweat off her own back.  Paper Delivery Girl is after all a saint and what good is a ladder if it’s missing that all important first rung?  She will press on in all kinds of weather.  She will continue to smile and wave to strangers.  She will get the job done better than before now that she’s been corrected.  She will be the superhero she really is.

I just did something I’ve never done before.  I completely gutted a closet.  The shelves are down.  The trim has been pulled off.  The carpet has been ripped up.  The stuff under the carpet has been removed.  Wowzas!  Demolishing sure feels good!  I’m committed now.  Tomorrow I hope to get the first gallon of paint for P’s room and start tackling the walls inside the closet.  It’s only uphill from here.  That room was bad before but it’s super bad now.  Can’t wait to get to the part where I start making it better.

I was angry this morning.  No doubt people could tell as I stomped into the building the church uses Sunday mornings dragging my colossal homemade fish behind me.  It had started to fall apart when I tried to cram it into the back of the van and I wasn’t even halfway to the WaumbaLand room when the back end fell off.  A teenage boy was kind enough to pick it up and carry it in for me.  Another teenager, this time a girl, was enthusiastic about helping me put it back together.  The people who helped me weren’t my teen and tween.  No.  Those boys sat on the couch and watched as I tried to pull my big fish out the door and get it into the van.  I snapped at one and he lifted a finger to help me get it off the ground into the trunk but not much more than that.  When it was time to unload all my theatrical props, it was obvious from their posture and their words that they didn’t want to.  I’m an embarassment to them.  More than once they’ve asked me, “Why can’t you be like the other parents?  You know, the ones that just go and sit in the service.”  They don’t want to be seen with a mom dressed as a fisherman or one hauling a big homemade fish for the story of Jonah.  And so I found myself seething with anger at them and their selfishness.

I knew my reaction was wrong.  Their choices don’t have to affect my attitude.  I confessed it to one leader and she rightly suggested prayer.  She also said we should talk some more because her kids weren’t anywhere near my boys’ ages and she too had days where she felt like pitching them overboard.  I did pray in the bathroom before heading into the worship part of the ceremony.  The songs chosen convicted me and I could sing with reality the words, “A thousand times I’ve failed, still your mercy remains and though I stumble again, I’m caught in your grace…”

I’m volunteering at church as a storyteller for the three to five year old group.  I look at these cute little ones and realize that these kids will soon be learning to read.  I want them to read the Bible and know its truths.  Not all of them come from families with strong Christian backgrounds.  Many of them come from homes where Christianity is something their parents are just starting to explore.  Even some of the leaders and helpers have had to sheepishly admit to me that they don’t know the Bible stories very well.  They didn’t grow up with them.  A few of them have said how wonderful it is that their kids can be exposed at such a young age.  They hope their kids will follow a better path than they did.  I hope that for these children too.  I grew up with the Bible and it kept me from a lot of wrong.  I’m thankful for that now.  I have fewer regrets in life than a lot of people because faithful people took the time to teach me God’s ways using His book.  I want to be one of those faithful people for my own children and for others.  I don’t want to be one of those ordinary people that merely fill a seat in a service.  I want to be someone who makes a difference to someone and if it means dressing up as a fisherman and constructing homemade giant fish so be it.  I don’t want to just tell a story.  I want the story to come alive and be meaningful.  I want to do all I can to impress on little ones that the Bible is a book worth looking into.

I think of Jesus.  He went out of His way to be where people were.  All sorts of people.  He spoke everyday language to them and used examples and stories they could relate to.  I imagine He must have been a bit theatrical because the crowds loved to listen to Him.  He wasn’t like the teachers they were used to.  I imagine that what made Him different was that He actually cared about His audience.  He wasn’t taken up with what people might think of Him.  I don’t think he was overly concerned about His hair or outfit.  What mattered to Him was communicating effectively God’s message to the people God loved.  He didn’t strive to be ordinary or extraordinary.  His focus was not on Himself; it was on God’s will.  It didn’t matter to Him if the disciples approved or disapproved His approach.  He looked away to see His heavenly father smiling at Him.

This is where I need to learn from Jesus.  It DID matter to me very much this morning that my “followers” disapproved of me.  I was upset with them.  I thought seriously about being like all the “ordinary parents” in the service.  Most of them don’t know what I do so they do often look at me funnily when I come in to worship in costume.  I need to look away to my heavenly Father.  He knows what I’m doing.  He knows why I’m doing it.  It’s His approval that ought to matter to me.  Maybe the bottom line is that the one telling the stories has as much or more to learn from them as her audience.  Jonah didn’t care too much about doing what God wanted.  Maybe obeying was too much work or maybe it would embarrass him or his family.  I don’t know.  What I do know is that today’s story ended with me sitting inside my giant boxy fish.  Jonah needed to learn to obey God and lay aside his own thoughts on God’s plan and God had an interesting way to teach him that lesson.  God’s a bit theatrical I’d say.  It’s quite the story.

I’m disappointed with my boys and their attitude about my service.  I wish that they were on board with me doing their utmost to help others discover Jesus.  They seem quite content to strive for ordinariness – to look and sound as much like all the other boys their age.  I must look away to God.  He knew how to work with Jonah.  He knows how to work with the WaumbaLand storyteller and her legion of issues.  He can be counted on to be faithful to work in their young hearts too.  Sitting inside a real fish for three days was a turning point in Jonah’s life.  Sitting inside my poorly constructed replica today made me realize that, despite my son’s reactions to my theatrical flair, I was on the right track.  Who knows how God will reach them?  One only has to read the Bible to see how creative He can be.

I was so proud of myself.  I didn’t have to get up early this morning because the delivery truck on Friday is always late but I did anyways.  I thought I’d try to get a load of laundry done.  Laundry has been trying as of late because our barely two year old front end loader seems to be having problems draining.  We aren’t sure why.  We’ve tried snaking pipes and finally resorted to hauling in the garbage can and redirecting the washer hose to flow into it so we could monitor what was happening.  Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn’t.  It’s so frustrating to keep getting the “F-21” code and not knowing why.

This morning seemed to be one of those rarer moments when the washing machine was working.  I was happy to see the water draining into the garbage can and decided it was O.K. to head off to work.  Only trouble was I couldn’t find my keys anywhere.  I quietly crept around trying not to wake anyone when I had the sinking feeling that I had left my keys in the capris I had worn yesterday while delivering, the same capris that were now in the washer that was actually working properly for a change.  There were only ten minutes left on the timer.  I thought I could wait ten minutes.  When the timer got down to one minute I just sat there and watched my van keys go round and round.  When three minutes had elapsed and the keys and laundry were still going round and round I had to laugh.  Above the timer it reads “Estimated time remaining”.  Seems my washer isn’t very good at estimating.  P joined me and I filled him in on what was happening.  We watched the keys go round and round for another 15 minutes all the while the estimated time remaining was 1 minute.  Do you have any idea how long 18 minutes can seem when you are watching laundry go round and round and thinking it will finish any time soon?  I do!

I finally shut the washer down, retrieved my keys and went my merry way to deliver papers.  Poor hubby spent the rest of the afternoon trying to coax the washer to please drain and spin and give us some clothing to dry.  You know there’s something wrong when the timer estimates one minute remaining and eighteen minutes later it’s still spinning and rinsing.  The longest minute ever tells me I need to get this looked at.  Either that or I have to start taking the laundry bar down to the lake and find me a big rock.  (That was hubby’s solution!)

When I’m not out delivering papers (I’m up to six days a week now) or being totally absorbed in the Suzanne Collins book “The Hunger Games” the boys are reading for the Teen Survivor contest at the library, I’m trying to take pictures for the upcoming fair in Bracebridge.  One of the categories is sunflowers.  I’m not sure if we’ve had enough sun this summer for sunflowers to flourish around here.  I walk a lot of neighbourhoods delivering papers and I haven’t seen even one.  And I have been looking.  I finally resorted to buying a bouquet with a sunflower in it to try and get some pics of this gorgeous fleur.

I can’t decide which one I like best.  Here are the options.  Please do tell me if one stands out as fairer than the rest to you.

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The smudges are driving me crazy on most of these but I just couldn’t crop them out or angle my camera differently so you wouldn’t see them.  For most of these shots I was holding the sunflower up as high as I could with my left hand and trying to snap it with the camera in my right hand.  It took a lot of effort to just get flower and sky.  The pesky trees all around my property kept getting in the shot even though I didn’t want them to.  It would have been helpful if I had one of those go-go gadget arms and could have held this sunflower up about half a foot higher.  Maybe I just need to enlist the help of an accomplice on a chair.  Hmmm…

Scene 1:  The man is sitting outside on the front steps reading.

Him:  What are you doing?

Me:  Don’t move.  Just look natural.  I’m taking some pictures.

Him:  Why?

Me:  If I want to get better I have to practice.

Him:  Can’t you find something more interesting to practice on?

Me:  What could be more interesting than you babe?

Him:  (laughing, eyes rolling.  Now he’s sitting up straighter, sucking in his gut, and glancing furtively out of the corners of his eyes as I hover around him snapping precisely six pictures before he’s had enough.)

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The man has beautiful hands.

Scene 2:  The man is lounging in front of the T.V. (after he cooked us all a wonderful dinner)

Him:  My feet?

Me:  You have beautiful feet.

D & P:  (laughing at Him)

Me:  (turning camera towards D & P)

D & P:  (going into duck and hide mode)

Me:  (focused on the man’s beautiful feet)

Him:  (groaning and rolling eyes but cooperating for about another five pictures)

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This is life as I know it.  I want to take pictures and the people I care most about are camera phobic.  Whoever said life isn’t fair was right.

Ecclesiastes 3:11

He (God) has made everything beautiful in its time.