Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Trick or Treat?

Happy Halloween!

My life has been stressful lately, as if you couldn’t tell. I feel like I’m living in fast forward, and I know this is not how the Lord wants me to live. All the days pass by in a blur. If I didn’t keep a blog, I’d probably forget half of the things that happen in a month. I’ve been overwhelmed and trying to do this all on my own. This has led me to recently surrender to God daily all my fears, struggles and worries before the day even begins. There are just some things I can’t control.

I had been looking forward all day Friday to coming home from work and relaxing. Instead, when I stepped in the door I was greeted by chaos. There were boxes piled in the living room and all along the hallway, and interestingly a different baby gate was now up between the living room & kitchen.

I inquired about the gate first. Gregg told me that when he came home that afternoon, there was confetti all over the place. In her distress at having Gregg hardly pay any attention to her that morning or the night before, Tess chewed up two paperback books we had on the coffee table. One of them is our Sacred Marriage book for small group, so we’ll have to replace it. Good thing we’re having a fondue night this Tuesday instead of our regular discussion. Gregg said he gave her the whooping of a lifetime when he found the mess. He filled an entire plastic bag with the shredded pieces of paper, then went back to Wal Mart to exchange the baby gate we got for a wider one so we could confine her to the kitchen from now on.

And the boxes? Somewhere in between paddling the dog, cleaning up the mess and running back and forth to the store, Gregg got the brilliant idea to start reorganizing the storage room (our extra second bedroom). He figured it needed to be done sooner or later with his folks and grandpa coming for Christmas, because we need to fit a bed in there. I started to unravel. After a busy day at work, THE LAST THING I wanted to do was hear about more problems with the dog and deal with a project that was going to take several hours.

I put down my stuff on the couch, kissed Gregg, and shut myself up in the bathroom- and prayed. There was no way I could relax in the house now with junk everywhere, so we went to Sam’s Club to do our monthly grocery run and had dinner at their little food court. You can’t beat a slice of pizza, a hot dog, two sodas and a pretzel for under 6 bucks!

As we shopped, we went down the pet aisle and looked at the doggie beds. Since Tess will be spending the majority of her day in the kitchen, we figured she ought to have something comfortable to sleep on instead of just the hard tile floor. We both said how much we want her to be good, because we don’t want to give her back, but were hesitant to drop $30 on a stupid dog bed. We decided that if we had money left over in our grocery budget at the end of the shopping trip, we’d buy it. It turns out we did have the money left, so I stayed with the cart while Gregg went back to get the bed. The things we do for a dog. I think we just should have gotten a hamster instead. When we got home, we put it on the floor and she climbed right in it. Mission accomplished.

Saturday morning I enjoyed sleeping in ‘til almost 8, while Gregg worked on getting that room organized some more. Then I got up and made us breakfast, and he made the coffee. We ate out on the back porch and I told Gregg it was like being on vacation since it was late October and 70something degrees. Yeah, fall didn’t last that long. After cleaning up, we got ready and went out to run a few errands. We stopped at Steak ‘N Shake for lunch first and took our time eating and talking, in a big comfy booth. Then we went over to Bed Bath & Beyond in the same shopping plaza and used the last of the $ on our gift card to buy a new shower curtain liner and hair catcher for the bathtub. Such exciting stuff.

While we were there, Gregg got a call from Russ on his cell phone and passed it to me so I could talk to Beth. I congratulated her on the new baby which is due in December and asked about some of our friends back in New Jersey. There were six of us who got married within the span of a year and a half, and they have all already either had babies just recently or are due to soon. Crazy. If we had stayed up there, I’d be feeling completely out of the loop and it would be even harder for me knowing Gregg & I aren’t on the same timetable as the rest of them.

On our way back from BB&B, we stopped at the Ebay store and picked up some cash for a few items Gregg had dropped off. We decided to use it at Lowe’s to buy paint for a few more rooms in the house. We went with the colors we had originally picked out in April, and I was really hoping they wouldn’t come out too dark. Since yesterday was Gregg’s day off, he started painting the kitchen and will finish the bathroom a little later in the week before my mom & stepdad come and stay for the weekend.

Oh, he painted the kitchen alright. It was like being transported back in time to the 1970s. Gregg kept saying the color would look better once all the paint had dried. I’m sure that he really wanted to believe this more than anything, after having spent the entire day painting, but that wouldn’t make it so. When all was said and done, our kitchen looked like a hideous green sea monster had thrown up all over it.

Gregg stood in the middle of the room, once all the appliances had been moved back, observing the color from different angles. He kept making this icky face and finally said, “I hate it.” I confessed that I didn’t like it either. He said there was no way we could leave it up on the walls, so that means repainting the entire stinkin’ kitchen. I felt so bad. My husband had spent his whole day off trying to make our house beautiful, and the results were yuck and double yuck. Now we have to fork over more money for new paint and he has to spend more time on a project that should have been finished last night. He also hurt his back working on it and I’m worried he’ll do even more damage by continuing.

We spent about an hour debating what the new color should be. After the debacle, I didn’t want to go anywhere near the darker hues. We went back and forth, and finally selected Belgian Waffle, a bright creamy color that looks (ha!) like it will compliment the room very nicely. If Mom & Art weren’t coming into town this Saturday, I’d say we can just live with the green monster for a while until Gregg is feeling better. We picked the absolute worst week to start this, I realize that now. And there’s still the bathroom to paint!

Sunday morning we were rushing around as usual, trying to get ready. Service was pretty somber, in light of last week’s startling announcement. The church had invited a former associate pastor to come preach for the next two weeks, and his message was about our utter dependence on God. I was convicted about how much I rely on myself and try to control every situation. I was also struck by how I need to be a better wife. By obsessing over things that are out of my hands and or over stuff which isn’t really that important, I put myself above Gregg and become critical of him. Who cares if the house is spotless when I’ve neglected to spend time with my husband and meet his needs?

I need to stop being the roadrunner and just be still. Maybe then I can hear God’s voice. I have this little day-by-day verse calendar at work and ironically for October 30, it said “We are always wanting to be doing, to be giving, to be planning for the future, to be mapping out all our life; instead of resting and receiving day by day, leaving tomorrow to God”.

So yea, though I walk through the valley of the disobedient dog and ugly retro paint, I will fear not. Or something like that.


Erin said...

Marisa, thank you for sharing your weekend and this post. It is exactly what I needed.

I appreciate your faith and insights about what the Lord reveals to you so much and it encourages me often.

I did get a chuckle out of the kitchen paint story, but hope that it all turns out well in the long run!! The new color sounds like it will be fantastic!


Kim said...

I'm sorry you have issues with the dog. I think what you need is a crate/cage. I know everyone thinks they are cruel but you will be doing both of you a favor. Tess needs to be controlled better for now. Start with the crate and let her out when you are there. Then as she matures you can let her into larger and larger areas, like the kitchen, then the kitchen and living room, and so on until she can be trusted. Puppies are all like this and it took mine about 1 and 1/2 to be left alone all day. He chewed everything. Make sure you have enough bones around for her. Also I would not recommend hitting your dog when you get home for something she might have done 8 hours ago. Dogs have a very short memory and she has no idea why she is being punished. You can say no when you catch her doing it but after that it is too late. Punishing her later will only make her an aggressive or timid dog that will snap. Start with the crate and she will get better. You need to bring her back in control. It is not punishment, most dogs love their crates, just make sure to get one big enough for her to turn around. I don't want to sound like I am preaching, but I don't want to see you so frustrated with her either. I did research in college in Animal Behavior, and I believe you can get her to behave when you aren't there. The key is to restrict her access to the house until she is trustworthy, and she will get there. Good luck.