August 31, 2017

***This Doodle is dedicated to Lois Bender, my son-in-law’s grandmother who was buried today, and my sister, Barbara Violett, who has been gone 2 1/2 years. They were my biggest Doodle fans and encouragers. I hope this makes them laugh at my goofy self in heaven tonight.***

Last month you wondrous Doodleheads were given a look into my goals for retirement within the structure of that ancient poetic form known as an acrostic. Only it didn’t come out in the actual form, because my tech skills, even with written instructions provided by my son-in-law, are pathetic. This should have been a clue to you, as well as to me, that perhaps my grand list of goals might go a bit awry. Well, they have, sort of, or maybe it’s just taking a while to get myself organized. My first month of retirement revolved around my leg lameness. Then we had a busy July with our grandson coming for a big boy visit for a few days, then starting a home improvement project (transforming the middle daughter’s room into a library), then a visit from my brother and his wife, then a trip to Arkansas at the beginning of August. More work on the library commenced as soon as we arrived home, as well as helping a friend move.

At last, a week ago, my friend was all moved in, my husband finally went back to teaching, the room wasn’t finished, but the main parts were, so I could finally sit down and work out a daily schedule to get my new life started! Except first I needed to go see my peeps in Wilmore, and as it turned out my daughter needed me to stay a couple of nights, since her husband was going out of town to see his dying grandmother. That was fine, and it took me back to the days of the witching hour of supper time when little ones go haywire and stay that way until they eventually go to sleep. Boy howdy, my sweet daughter has her hands full! Anyway, I arrived back home on Friday afternoon with laundry to do, a filthy house that hadn’t been touched in weeks, behind in my daily devotions/Bible reading, and a brilliant new meal plan in mind that I needed to put into practice as soon as I could sit down and do the planning and then go shopping.

By Sunday I was ready to begin my new life, just as soon as I managed to get some food cooked and frozen into single serving containers. Since my husband and I could both stand to lose some weight in an effort to continue living long enough to see our grandchildren grow up, I decided we needed to eat our main meal midday to have more time to burn off those calories, and keep the evening meals light with salads and soups or whatever. Great idea, right? Well, I chopped my fingers raw on Sunday evening, then started in on Monday morning, after SWEATING AND PANTING through my new exercise routine, with a crockpot stew, an oven casserole, a couple of vegetables for freezing, and a stir-fry for that evening to get us going. And I hired a cleaning lady to get the filth out of my house, since I couldn’t stand it anymore, and I couldn’t cook all day and clean at the same time. After dishing up about twenty little containers of food and labeling them all, I put them all in the freezer thinking, “This will never work. None of my great cooking plans ever work for very long. I’m a dingbat to be doing this,” and I went to bed with plans to take my freshly moved friend out for her birthday the next afternoon.

So Tuesday morning, after more sweating and panting, I started another crockpot for more freezing, since we need to have a nice variety to choose from for our lunches, and I had a couple of loads of laundry to do AGAIN! Where does all this laundry come from for only two people? Oh yeah, we have a very slobbery, dirty dog with her own sheets, towels and toys to be washed. I also loaded up a huge amount of recycling into my car to drop off downtown on my way to pick up my friend, but as it turned out she had some things come up and we had to meet a little later to eat and go to a movie, so I didn’t get to the recycling center. That was no biggie. Once I returned home, I had more little containers to fill out of the crock pot and some devotions to read. I thought about writing this month’s Doodle, but it was only the 29th. I still had two days left! And no idea what to say anyhow.

Wednesday began with more sweating and panting, which I do first thing, before I’m completely awake and cognizant of what’s happening. That way I can be halfway through before I start groaning and wishing I were reading instead. After my shower I decided to breathe and try to relax, as the last few days had reminded me too much of my former work days, trying to get as much as possible squished into the time available. Only I really needed to catch up on my Bible readings, and by that I mean read ahead so I wouldn’t actually get behind, and I had tomatoes to pick and try to give away, because we have a bumper crop this year and my dearly beloved doesn’t like them much, so I have to eat them all by myself if I can’t find a tomato-loving neighbor, and everything needed watering outside because the dear one was back at school and couldn’t keep up with it, and I needed to change the sheets and try to write the Doodle. That was yesterday and I don’t even remember what all I did, but I was pooped at the end of it and still didn’t write a word. But I had a whole day left before my self-imposed Doodle deadline. Writing something every day as per my retirement goal, would have to wait until I could organize a schedule!

That brings us to today. When I got up to exercise, it was raining, with a forecast for rain most of the day, so I brought the dog in, after wiping her down, to watch me. I need someone to verify that I’m actually doing this. It’s crazy that the one thing on my list of goals for retirement that I hate the most is the one thing I’m actually doing with regularity. If only I could do everything before I’m fully awake, I could be so productive! Anyway, after my shower I was ready to think about the Doodle. But wait! I kind of agreed to clean up the mess in the “room in transition.” After removing the carpet to install the new wood flooring, we (and by that I mean my husband–I haven’t done much to help with the transformation other than think it all up and stand on wood planks as Bret pounds them into place, since I tend to be a sloppy painter (according to someone I shan’t name) and I have no clue how to cut planks to size and pound them) discovered the floor had bulges in some of the underlying floor, so we (he) had to plane them down, which caused an unbelievable amount of sawdust to fly about and land on everything including the ceiling and walls. So I put on some music, let the dog out, and started in. Only I couldn’t hear the music over the vacuum, so I turned it off and spent a couple of hours sucking sawdust off the walls and furniture in there.

By then it was time for lunch, but I didn’t feel like eating my frozen meal yet, so I let the dog in again after wiping her down, turned on some music and snacked on some cookies, trying to figure out what I should write for this Doodle. Suddenly I was aware that the sun was shining! What? I should go to the store and get groceries, because tomorrow is supposed to be stormy and I hate carting groceries through even the rain that I thought would be happening all day today, much less storms tomorrow. My list was getting longer by the minute from my brilliant meal planning, so if I waited until Saturday I would be there forever and I hate to waste a good Saturday on grocery shopping. And I would have to drop off the recycling on the way so I would have room in the back of the car for groceries. Wait! What time is it? Aaack! Two o’clock and I had to change my clothes and put on some make-up for public consumption! There’s nothing like an old retired slovenly woman to scare innocent babies in the store! Oh dear, I had to hurry or I would end up smack dab in the middle of after-school traffic! I could make it if I hurried. First I put the dog outside again. Then into the bathroom to slip on a different top and slap on some make-up. But oh no! I slapped too fast and got a smear of mascara in my Sun-In blonde hair! Swipe, swipe, swipe with a wet Kleenex and nothing comes off. Well, the oily make-up remover would surely do something! Yes, it did something–it left a brownish oil spot in my hair, but it was 2:15 and school traffic would soon be a morass of maniacal moms racing to clog up every artery in Corbin! I dashed out of the house, then dashed back in for my grocery list (Praise Jesus!) and away I went in my former maniacal nanny mode to beat the crazies on the way to their precious children! Yes!!! I made it to the recycling center where I used my fully awake, souped-up muscles to yank that trash out of the back of my car, then squealed out of that place just in time to get ahead of two busses headed toward the middle school! Success! Now it was simply a matter of using my well-honed grocery shopping finesse to spend just long enough in there for the first round of K-8 traffic to clear out a bit before the hideous high school traffic began. I could do it! And I did! I pulled out of the Kroger parking lot just as the long line of high school traffic was backing up at the light! Woohoo! I still had it! Take that, retirement!

After putting the groceries away and letting the dog back in, I decided I was sick of salads (after two nights) so I would change it up a bit and roast some veggies that I had conveniently bought already chopped just an hour earlier. And hey! I still had a few hours before midnight! I could still write a Doodle on deadline! And lookie here, I’ve done it even after nodding off a bit right after stuffing myself with vegetables and mixed nuts, which seemed like a rather appropriate dessert after all that.

Now how to make this spiritual? Hmmm. Maybe Ecclesiastes 9:10–“Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might, for in the realm of the dead, where you are going, there is neither working nor planning nor knowledge nor wisdom.” Nah, Solomon was a bit depressed when he wrote that, I think. Here’s a better one–Colossians 3:23-24 “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” And then there’s 1 Corinthians 9:24 “Do you not know that in a race all the runners run but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.” Yep, that’s it! In the realm of after-school traffic, that I don’t even have to contend with that much anymore, I won the prize today!! And TaDa! It is only 10:45 p.m. on the last day of the month and this rather lengthy Doodle is in the can! Score!