Monday, April 30, 2007

More Purity Give Me (or SERENITY NOW!)

I love my husband. I do. And I have no feminist sorts of issues with division of labor. Larry keeps our family financially stable and the pine needles out of our gutters. He changes the oil in the car and builds a wood rack. He takes care of the mouse trap and the leaky faucet. I make sure we all have clean socks and can find a salad fork. I shop and I cook. I volunteer and chauffeur. He hires out pool maintenance and I hire out the cleaning of our four bathrooms. Everything gets done and we have a functioning household, generally speaking.

But then comes the Sabbath. As much as it should be a day of rest, that rarely happens before about 2pm. The problem actually begins on Saturday (which, as #3 used to sing, is a special day UNTIL we get ready for Sunday) when I decide I'd rather finish laundry or watch TV with Larry or mop the floor than do the ironing. Getting the ironing done before the Sabbath is a weekly goal. It is weekly left unaccomplished. Weekly I iron one large white shirt and one little kid white shirt on Sunday morning.

Why does that affect my feelings for my husband? Larry's health varies between not great and really awful. Sundays are especially hard on him. For three hours he can't lay down or eat a snack. For one hour he is standing and teaching Gospel Doctrine, or adult Sunday School. Occasionally he also either has a talk in Sacrament Meeting or a Priesthood lesson to teach, so make that two hours of standing. He is also the Branch Mission Leader, which means another hour of meetings every Sunday but the 1st and 5th, although those are not always attended. To save on energy Larry sleeps until about 17 minutes before he needs to walk out of the door, at which point he showers, dresses in a freshly ironed white shirt, grabs a bite of breakfast and leaves. Makes sense.

I, on the other hand, enjoy very good health, excepting this obnoxious nerve problem which I am currently working to get rid of. Sundays are not much worse on me than any busy day. I lead the music in Sacrament Meeting, and occasionally speak. Every third month I spend second hour doing Sharing Time and Music Time in Primary. The other two months, I am a lousy pianist. Third hour I teach Sunbeam class to an almost-4-year-old only child who speaks very little English, but likes me best, so I've taken it on. As Primary President I have only one early morning meeting a month.

Sunday mornings I get myself ready, monitor and try to hurry along the progress of three girls, and finally do their hair. I get a shower going for #4 and help him wash his hair. Thankfully, #2 often helps him dress in HIS freshly ironed white shirt, and he now ties his own shoes. I make sure my Sunday things are together, and that 4 kids also have theirs ready to go. And, oh yes, I iron those shirts.

While I ironing, I fill with uncharitable thoughts which sometimes spill into verbal murmurings. "I am getting 5 people out of the door and HE is only getting one. NO--I am getting 5 1/2 people out the door--he's not even ironing his shirt!" So don't iron it, you may advise. If I didn't, Larry wouldn't, which would be unacceptable to, well, me. Ironically I rarely feel worse about Larry than I do on those Sabbath mornings. Mornings I am supposed to be reconciling with the Lord, trying to make my weekly fresh start at the Sacrament tray. Makes no sense.

Friday, April 13, 2007

At the Movies

A couple of my favorite comedies are "What About Bob?" and "Planes, Trains, and Automobiles." There is something about watching a character get annoyed to near insanity that amuses me highly. I am reminded of watching my dad as a kid, but having some control and perspective as an adult, it's entertaining rather than a little scary. It makes me hope that I am not quite as bad as he, when in reality at this stage in my life I may well be worse.

Nothing is better than witnessing life imitate art.

Yesterday we went to see a movie in a desert town that we are not overly familiar with. Our first impressions were not great--folks seemed to be dressed a little too country club-ish and act a little too entitled for our taste. Nevertheless, we purchased our tickets and had just cued-up in the concession line when a casually well-dressed fellow in his late 60s turned around with an open box, displaying a thin-crusted, slightly over-cooked cheese pizza. With surprising emotion and volume he announced to all in line, "You'd better watch out--they burn the pizzas here very easily!" It seemed like a level of indignation unequal to the small amout of brown cheese. I had to turn into Larry's arm to muffle my laugh as the gentleman turned back to the counter where he spent another 4 to 5 minutes concluding his business. As he walked past us he muttered loudly to his wife, "Well, THAT was torture!" I giggled again, imagining those same words running through the mind of the poor soul who'd waited on him. In another minute we were up.

A young man behind the counter retrieved each package of candy as I ordered it. I got to "M&Ms, " and he told me that there were big bags at the bottom. When I quickly replied that we didn't need a big bag, he brusquely grabbed a small bag of peanut M&Ms. "Um, I just needed the plain ones." (Don't peanut M&Ms require specification?) At that he threw the peanut bag back, where it landed quite out of place, and snatched a plain bag, tossing it in our pile. Trying not to laugh, we paid the bill.

It was truly bizarre. Was he annoyed to be getting 5 separate candies for us? Was he paid on commission and feeling gypped out of a bigger sale? It was not the kid who had helped Mr. Burned-Pizza, so that couldn't have been the problem. Maybe he was unhappy that we didn't order popcorn or soda. All I know is that this was so ridiculous, that not even I could get annoyed.

I, in fact, was so far from annoyed after having been treated to these two vignettes, that I laughed my way into the theatre, much more ready than usual to enjoy the main attraction.