Family life, Paleo-ish eating and Coping with Chronic Illness

Braggers Beware

Earlier this year, I was chatting with my Mom.  I remember saying some dumb thing about how I felt so energized.  I told her I was basically an ambitious person, and I just had a lot of things I was excited about doing.

You fool.

Never. And, I mean…NEVER.  Brag about yourself.  Just don’t.  Don’t do it.  Never put even the tiniest inkling of a good thought you have about yourself out there for people to hear.  Not even to your Mom.  It will always come back to hurt you.

About a week after I tried enlightening my Mom to my charms, I started getting sick.  Then, I was pregnant.  Then, I wasn’t.  You know that story.  All that took about 2 and half months to unfold.  For the first three months of this year I was feeling much less than ambitions.  During that time, the bar was set at survival.

I survived.

I am waking up again.  I do this a lot. It’s a pattern. I can’t be the only one.

I really do get excited about things.  Then, I get sidetracked with life’s stuff.  I keep telling God that I am at His service.  I mean it, God.  When things settle down, I’m there.  Count on it.  With bells on.  I’m in your corner…oops, gotta go.  I’ve got a bad cold.

It can’t be easy dealing with me.

I wonder if God can use me in my state of imperfection, in a state of grief, in a state of not knowing all the answers?  I am starting to think He can.  I’m starting to get excited to think that He can.

Gut truth, from my heart. I think I’m here on this planet, occupying this little spec of time,  to be used by God. I think we all are. I don’t really see an end to all the stuff that happens that gets in my way; just when I think I am done with the old stuff, I discover new stuff.

Am I alone here?  Can I get an Amen? C’mon, sister, tell me you got stuff.  If you don’t got stuff, you keep that crap to yourself.  I told you what happens to braggers.

No.  I’m sorry for cussin’ at you. If you have an easy life, I am happy for you.  But, seriously, keep it to yourself.

Now that I’m awake again, I’m picking back up where I left off.  The garage.

The garage is something you need ambition to tackle.  I told you this before, but just to recap I will remind you that everything in our lower level was brought up in one mad dash.    Mostly, it was brought up by the kids.  We had one weekend to empty the basement for the contractors.

Okay, you’re gonna bust me on the details again.  Yes. we knew further ahead than the day before the weekend started that we were going to remodel.  But, but, not really.  We were pecking away at things when we could. We thought we had weeks.  Suddenly, the contractors said they could come early. We didn’t want to pass up that opportunity.

Even though Scott and I weren’t home, we told the kids to grab everything they could, and throw it in the garage.  Kids are very literal.  I think our children stood 40 yards back and practiced their spiral through the garage door with just about everything we own.

Do you want to see it?  You do, don’t you.  Because you’re sick.  You need this.  You want this to make yourself feel better about your sterile and tidy garage.  Fine.  You’re a good friend. So, I’ll show you. Who wants a spotless garage, anyway?  I like mine looking lived-in, by a family of rabid raccoon.

This is what it looked like:


Everything categorized and in logical order. Just the way I like it.

I bet you think I Googled images of homes ripped up by tornadoes. I promise, I didn’t. This pictures is, unfortunately, real.

My neat freak friends and family are feeling a little light headed.  Close your eyes, my friend.  Breath in.  Breath out.  Now, feel the calm settle through your body, as you remember this isn’t your garage; you don’t have to deal with it.

I do.

Hey, you need a hammer?  No problem I think it’s right next to the baby doll, underneath the Christmas lights, between the bed sheets, by the dead squirrel.  I’ll just move this 400 pound tube TV, and I’ll get it for you.

This is why I really needed some energy.  When I was feeling terribly sick, I had one good idea for fixing this problem.  A match.  Just torch the thing.  We’ll deal with the consequences.

Scott is just really funny about arson.  He’s all like, maybe there’s something in there we want.  A fire seems kind of dangerous. I don’t know how you can work from jail. All the usual excuses.  Then, I’m like, fine.  If you’re going to freak out about the details, you think of something.

I am happy to tell you that the garage does NOT look like that any more.  I worked on it all weekend, until my fingers bled. Well, not really, but it felt like it.  I am actually sore from working so hard.  So, I am sure I have at least one internal organ bleeding from all my effort.  You just can’t see it.

I’d post a picture of how the garage looks now,  but that picture would be like a half-way-until-we-get-to-the after-picture. That’s no good. Plus, I want to keep you in suspense.  An after picture will be coming.

We are taking this opportunity to cleanse ourselves of all the junk that spoiled Americans acquire.  It is truly astonishing.  I used to say we were minimalists. Frugal. Non-materialistic.  I told bold face lies.

We ARE materialistic.  Look at all the material evidence in that picture.  I don’t know how it happened.  How did we ever have enough money to buy all of that?  Some of those things are gifts.  But, you get the idea.

Scott and I have had this 22-year battle going over hauling stuff away.  I’m totally okay with it.  He hates it.  His frugal heart just won’t let him.  But, even he realizes we’re drowning here.  He wasn’t keen on the bon fire idea, so we compromised.  We are going to have an epic garage sale, and after that, the rest is going to charity.

Meanwhile, I’m asking myself how I ever let all that stuff in our house.  From now on, I’m playing aggressive defense.  I’ll be in my family’s faces.  When they come through the door with something in their hands, I’ll stay low, shuffle my feet,  and bat that crap right back out the door.  They won’t see me coming.

I am properly motivated.

Do not fill this house back up again.  Do not.  Or, I will kill you.  Seriously.  Is that thing you’re holding something you can take with you to heaven?  Because that’s where you’ll be taking it if you try bringing it in here.

That is all I have to say about hoarding and our garage.

The other thing I wanted to make a comment on was amazing people.  Like all the people that remember to send thank yous, cards, and send kind gifts to other people who are dealing with difficulties.  I’m always in awe of these people.

Scott’s family and cousins are people like this.  Most of them live in Iowa.  There have been times when we pulled in the driveway after going to a wedding in Iowa, and there’s a thank you note from the bride waiting for us in the mailbox.   When that happens, I look at Scott and say, “Your people sure like to show off, don’t they?”

No, I’m kidding.  Those cool folks weren’t really trying to show off.  They’re just so on top of things, they freak me out.  I’m going to have to forgive them for that.

I have a neighbor who has four children.  She just had her fourth baby.  This neighbor is so kind-hearted; I love the way she mothers and takes care of her family.  It’s wholesome.

My neighbor heard about our loss.  She brought over a delicious meal.  Remember when I said she JUST had a baby?  Yeah. So, there’s people like that.  Oh, and I didn’t tell you the part about me never bringing HER a meal when she had her baby.

It’s okay. I’m sure I’ve done something neighborly for her before.  Like, I’ve never had a giant beer party, and kept her up all night with a live band.  Plus, Scott and I have never called the cops on each other during a domestic dispute.  So she hasn’t been woken up by cop sirens and lights…thanks to us.  You’re welcome for THAT, nice neighbor.

I had my neighbor’s Tupperware to return.  The day was sunny and bright; I was in my highest mode of productivity.  I felt so good.  I killed it with the garage. I cleaned the house.  I was on top of my game.

Now, it isn’t unheard of for people to bring dishes to my house, and never see them again.  I’m sorry, but you kinda put yourself out there when you brought that lasagna over here, right?  You gotta at least admit that.  You love to play the odds. In the end, you can only blame yourself.

This time, I washed the neighbor’s Tupperware by hand, AND put that thing in the dishwasher.  I put her other clean dish inside the Tupperware, and then you know what I did?  I wrote a thank you note and put it inside the Tupperware.  I thought to myself that this is what normal people do.  My neighbor doesn’t know I’m having the best day of my life.  She should go buy a lottery ticket, because luck is on her side.

But, then I thought maybe my neighbor is like me, and she has some bad days.  This clean Tupperware thing with a thank you note is kind of showy.  I don’t want to rub it her face about how I have all clean dishes at my house, with time to spare for penning meaningful thank you notes.

So, then, I’m like maybe I should put another note in the Tupperware.  Like, an apology note for the thank-you note.  I’ll  explain that I’m just having a super good day.  I normally wouldn’t be this good, but the boys are all gone at a wrestling meet, so I have extra time, and I don’t have an infant, so I just had extra hours in the day to do this amazing thing.  I’m not really amazing at all.  In fact, usually, I’d keep your Tupperware, and add it to my collection of all my other friends’ Tupperware  in my cupboard. Friends who also thought bringing me a meal was a good idea.

I’d tell her not to let this clean dish and thank you note thing make her feel like she’s not doing a good job running your household.  She is.  She shouldn’t compare herself to me on this one fluke of a day.  This isn’t actually me being me, after all.

I decided not to include the second note.  It seemed like it might just be too much. I don’t know.  Maybe I should have.

I just dropped the Tupperware back off, hoping that my neighbor/friend was having a good day herself, and that she’d forgive me for being prompt, clean and polite.

Some people wonder when I will run out of things to blog about.  Never.  Not with amazing thank you note stories to write. I’ve got an endless supply of this stuff.


I refuse to send a thank you note that isn’t signed with my hand written calligraphy. That’s just manners 101.


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