Friday, May 30, 2008

A Strange--But True--Story

It all started with Tony Gungy. I'd gotten back into audio books and was looking for something I could listen to in the car that was okay for the boys to listen to, too. Quiet Strength it was.

I checked it out a few weeks ago. I'd had it in the car for a week or so, the case beside me on the passenger seat so I could switch out CDs with ease. One day I took a sharp turn, and the case slipped off the seat and landed--I was pretty sure--in between the seat and the door.

I never saw it again.

I'm so lazy, it was a couple of days before I even bothered to look. It was gone. I looked under the seats, in the glove compartment, in the back and the way back. I even looked in the floorboard storage space, thinking maybe Will had hidden it there as a joke. Nope. Not there.

I figured it had fallen out of the car, and now I was going to have to pay for it. Fabulous.

Two days later, getting ready for a trip to the library, I realized I couldn't find one of Will's books, Nate the Great and the Stolen Base. I looked for it in the car (knowing it wouldn't be there, since I'd searched the car several times for Quiet Strength and would have seen Nate the Great). I looked in the mud room and in the bag of coloring books and crayons we carry to Tae Kwon Do so that Will has something to do during Jack's lesson. Not there.

I felt weird about losing everything. I felt irritated that all my spending money was going to be spent on replacing library books. I felt a kind of general anxiety, the way I do when I'm worried about stuff that's out of my control.

So I took a little piece of paper and wrote "Tony Dungy and Nate the Great," and I put the paper in a box.

At Christmas, my mother-in-law gave me a set of nesting boxes, and recently I decided to use the smallest ones for prayers. That is is, I write down stuff that's bothering me or feels out of control and I put it in the box. And the funny thing is, once I've written something down and put it in the box, I stop worrying about it. I don't assume that my prayers will be answered to my liking--it's not a wish box--but I believe that whatever I'm worrying about will be resolved.

Fast forward a week. I get another audio book out of the library--Elizabeth Edwards' Saving Graces. This is on a Tuesday (May 20th, to be precise). I listen to it in the car on Tuesday and Wednesday, listen to something else on Thursday. On Friday, as we're getting in the car to go to Tae Kwon Do, I think I'll listen to Saving Graces while we drive. I get in the car. Look for the case in the passenger seat.

It's not there.

Have I mentioned that the only place I don't lock my car doors is in my own driveway? Every place else, I lock. But when I get home, never.

Somebody has been stealing from my car. Someone has walked up my long, dark, gravel driveway in the middle of the night to rummage through my car for stuff to steal. What else can explain not one, but three missing items?

This is upsetting, but what can you do (except lock your car, which I immediately make a habit of)? I'm not happy that someone is robbing my car, but I'm not particularly worried they'll start robbing my house, which is securely alarmed.

And at least now I know that the stuff is gone for good. The situation has been resolved, right?

And then last Tuesday, the phone rings. It's the library. When I turned in Quiet Strength last Friday, May 23rd, a few of the CDs were missing. Could I bring them the next time I come in?

Only thing is, I didn't go to the library last Friday. I volunteered at Field Day at Jack's school. I took Jack to Tae Kwon Do. The one thing I didn't do was go to the library.

Two minutes later, the phone rings again. Library. When I turned in Saving Graces last Friday, one of the CDs was missing. Could I bring it the next time I come in?

I have no idea how those audio books got back to the library--to the correct branch of the library, no less. The only guess I'd care to hazard is that they got stolen from my car, and when the thief realized they had no resale value because of the missing CDs, he (or she) dumped them, and some good Samaritan found them and returned them to the library.

Or else my husband did it, in hopes of teaching me a lesson about not locking my car at night. Except my husband isn't the lesson-teacher type. He's more the type just to get irritated with you straight out. And he says he didn't do it.

Oh, by the way, Nate the Great showed up a couple of days later, stuffed in the dark, messy recesses of Will's book case.

You could argue that all this stuff turning back up had nothing to do with me writing down my little prayer and putting it in the box. And maybe it didn't. Surely God has better things to do with His time than returning library books. But I can't help but wondering: What if I hadn't put that note in the box?

Ah, sweet mysteries of life ...

Thursday, May 29, 2008

What I'm Up Against, Part 3

'Nuff said.

What I'm Up Against, Part 2

My lovely screened porch, always a wreck. Please note the shoes on the table and the World Market box behind the table, which contains a chair I've been meaning to put together now for three weeks.

When we built the screened porch last fall, it never occurred to me it would be one more room to clean ...

What I'm Up Against, Part 1

Will's room.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

I'm Back, and This Time I Mean It

This morning, I checked in with Delikat, a blog I'd been enjoying last fall, but hadn't seen activity on since January. Lo and behold, there was a new post in which we learn that Crafty Fox hasn't been posting because she's five months pregnant and has been feeling lousy. Now there's an excuse for falling behind on your blogging.

In a way, I feel like I've been an expectant mom all spring, too. Now I'm proud to report that the baby has arrived--the new book is done! Well, at least a cruddy first draft of the new book is done, but, honey, that's all I was shooting for. Never aim for perfection on a first draft. It will make you crazy.

Usually I take a big break between books, catch up with my life, scrub the tub, that sort of thing. But after I'd finished the final draft of The Kind of Friends We Used to Be (out in 2009) in January, I had a lot of momentum going. I'd done a little work on Book No. 2 already ... AND I wanted to have the summer off. So I kept writing and writing and writing.

Now I'm done writing. I am officially on vacation. As officially on vacation as a mom with two boys and a puppy at home can be, anyway.

For me, the beginning of summer is like New Year's. There's the temptation to come up with a long list of resolutions, mostly involving doing lots of educational and edifying activity with the boys. But this summer, I'm trying to be realistic. Here's what my summer looks like: One week at the beach, two weeks of camp for Jack, and day after sunscreened day at the pool.

I'm not going to try to fight it. I'm not going to invest in books about Amazing Activities to Improve Your Children in Three Short Months. I'm going with the flow.

I do plan to sew some curtains and knit some socks. And write a poem or two. And post about my trials and tribulations on this Blog in a regular fashion as well as get inspired by other blogs, which I've been neglecting to do as of late.

But that's it. I'm on vacation. You heard it here first.