Sunday, July 25, 2010

“Sunny, with a slight chance of T-Storms” By Gary

A few weeks ago, my wife and I were enjoying a warm weekend at Lake Tahoe.  I opened the paper to the weather section and saw the forecast: sunny and warm, with a slight chance of T-storms.  I chuckled out loud as I reread the forecast to her. “Sounds like your personality sometimes!”  The girls and I have  jokingly described her very rare outbursts as “T-Storms”, short for Teresa Storms.  We both laughed,  easy to do when it’s summertime and the livin is easy.

If I had to describe a place with a climate that represented my day to day life with Teresa, I’d look for the warmest, most tropical place on earth--Hawaii or Fiji, perhaps, and still declare it not temperate enough.
I’m the first to admit:  In the Super Pick Six Lottery of Marriage, I had all six numbers and the bonus. I have friends who remind me of this all the time. Just earlier this year, after a sensitive faculty meeting in which a particularly stylish Teresa made a couple of incredibly apt and to-the-point suggestions benefiting the entire staff, a young charismatic Social Studies teacher leaned over to me and said, “DAMN, Oefinger, you really married UP!”  He was right.

With that said, every once in a long while, amidst all the obligations, expectations, caring, counseling and doing for others, even Teresa reaches a breaking point where she proves she’s human after all.  If pushed just a bit more at this time,  she morphs into a character that my daughters know I refer to as her “Cruella De Ville” mode, the villain from “101 Dalmatians”. In the movie, Cruella acts harshly and in a state of frenzy. There is fire in her eyes as she grabs her steering wheel and zooms off looking for vengeance.  Around here, on the rare occasion when Cruella arrives, Teresa is uncharacteristically short in compassion and long in directives.  It’s not a time to look for sympathy (she once told one of our daughters to ‘get off the pity-pot’ during the T-Storm of ‘09).  Asking what’s for dinner is practically a capital offense .  These are treacherous times that try men’s souls.  These are  “T-Storms”.

A Cruella-infused T-Storm lacks all of the usual patience, kindness or logic of the normal climate.  A T-Storm can’t be reasoned with, coerced or lessened in intensity.  A T-Storm must simply be endured; after all, it was deserved.  T-Storms come when the unbelievable expectation we assume in this incredible person are momentarily unattainable as the giving well runs temporarily dry. One should be able to see a T-Storm coming, but in our self absorbed focus we don’t.  If not recognized early, our only recourse is to allow it to pass, to stay safe and out of harm’s way and to know that eventually the sun will return.  An enlightened person will learn about their own short comings and perhaps, minimize the chance of a similar T-Storm returning in the future.

Last Friday, after a day of golfing with my buddy while Teresa was home with a myriad of chores,  I averted a T-Storm.

After golf and post-round libations,  Teresa drove down and joined us at our friends for dinner and card playing. The night was quite enjoyable, as it always is with these very dear friends. By midnight, though, I was quite tired from a day that had been full of fun. My fatigue probably showed.
As we were leaving,  Teresa announced that she’d be driving home. I didn’t have a problem with that.  In the car, she questioned my ‘sportsmanship’ during the card games.  I explained that the long, full day may have contributed to my less-than-chipper demeanor near the end of the evening (not to mention the thrashing we absorbed at the hands of our competitive friends). I thought I heard the rumble of a distant cloud. Teresa then announced that we would be leaving the top down on the little miata.  Hmmmm, quite chilly.... My request to put the top up was immediately vetoed....very unusual.  I’m pretty sure I caught a glimpse of Cruella, nearby, in the shadows, and definitely noted the flash of lightening in the distance.   It was only then that I realized the possibility of a storm. I hadn’t really given much thought to what my wife’s day may have been like. But lately they’ve been long on caring for her mom, commiserating and listening to others,  short on the supposedly carefree days of summer.   While I was out seeking pars and birdies, she had been doing laundry, baking a pie, gardening, preparing for our incoming Italian guests all while giving her sister some relief by entertaining her mom for the afternoon.  She never complains, but I sensed an impending gully-washer.  I quickly calculated the approximate time it would take to get home and inventoried the clothing I had with me.  Suddenly it seemed like a right fine night for a convertible ride home.  Resolutely, I sighed, put on my golf jacket,  entwined my arms around my midsection for warmth, closed my eyes, and nestled in for the chilly ride home.  Back at home, my reward was knowing that I had, at least this time, circumvented an impending storm....a T-storm. I hope I’m enlightened enough to learn from it.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Easy Living Yellow!

Uh oh! Oops!  Think I may have blown it.  Not a huge deal, but kind of a lot of work for what might be a mistake not likely to be corrected for a while.  It’s the paint.  I love the color, bright, cheerful, and fresh.  But…. the room might just be a tad too bright.  I hope our guest will be able to sleep.

When we moved my youngest daughter into her apartment, the only furniture left in her bedroom was a pine cabinet and small end table.  With Italian guests visiting for 9 days this summer, and to inspire our daughter to come home from time to time, we bought a new bed, sheets, and bed cover.  I’m refinishing a very old, but cool end table that’s been sitting in my garage since my dad died. 

The walls were definitely in need of painting.  It took me a total of 3 minutes at the hardware store to choose the paint.  The color “called” me to it. Paint sample on wall, I made sure my husband, who is actually quite good at decorating, liked it.  Giving me the thumbs up, we zeroed in on getting the job done one week before they are to arrive. 

Day 1. Being the good painters that we are, we first primed the god awful purple walls.  (We did let our kids pick out their own paint colors as they got older.) We carefully covered any floor space with old sheets and moved the new bed to the center of the room.  Walls primed, the excitement to open the beautiful new color was palatable, but the primer needed to dry.

Day 2. What a team we were, music blasting, fan buzzing, husband meticulously feathered in the corners, and borders, careful not to get paint on ceiling and blue taped covered baseboards.  I rolled, loving every sunny stroke.  One wall down, pour more paint, two walls, pour more paint, the odd corner by the window, three and finally four walls complete.  Stepping back and admiring our work, it looked lovely.

Perhaps it was the time of day, but later on as I walked by the room, I stopped in my tracts and actually had to squint from the blinding brightness.  Into the room I went, examining the color and lighting from every angle.  Perhaps if we strategically place the bed over there away from the window, the color will be subtler. On the bed I plopped, pretending to nap.  No can do.  Too bright.  Well, when the window covering gets back on, maybe that will reduce the intensity?  But what about the sky light?

Oh dear.  Tomorrow, Day 3, we will apply coat number two.  No turning back now. 

I’ll make a point of checking it out at different times of the day and pray for the late afternoon and early morning cloud cover during their visit.  Hay, their from Italy, they’re use to intense brightness.  

Thursday, July 8, 2010

A 4 Day Visit From Two!

My children.
They come home. 
How much I love them. 
How they drain me.  As how it should be. 
How they energize me.  Always a miracle. 
How I can still after all these years vividly see their sweet, cherubic faces in my minds forever imprinted memory. 
I inhale these babies, even now, it’s hard to resist. 
My hand reaches for the back of their necks, soft, holding up a head that needs me no longer to support it. 
I instinctively reach for them, in sleep, in wakefulness, in an insatiable need to nurture these young adult women. 
They leave. 
Back to a place without me. 
I bless them. 
Pray for them.
Know I am with them.
Be safe.
Come back.