After Seventy Sunday

I’m not sure how your Sundays go, but mine are lovely. My cats always wake me up between 6 and 6:30 am. I’m lucky if I make it to 6:30. If you’ve never had a cat to act as an alarm, let me tell you, there is NO snooze button!!

So, this lovely fall Sunday morning, I was awakened at 6:15 am. The first item on the agenda is feeding the three starving cats clamoring around my feet. Then, my slippered feet lead me to the bathroom to clean out the cat litter. (Yeah, I never thought about the inconvenience of not having a basement to house the litter. Now there is a super large cat litter box in the utility room, which is off the spare bathroom.) This requires a constant vigil on my part, but I have digressed already.

I post on Facebook and watch for the sunrise. Some mornings it is spectacular, others a little less so, like this morning.

I head for church at 8:30 am. Sunday school with lively discussions takes place at 9:00 am, followed by church at 10:30 am.

Pastor always has those in the Narthex, gather together before service, hold hands and we pray. He did tell us he was going to do something that had never been done before in service today and to be prepared.

Let me tell you there is never a dull moment in church. Today our pastor was completely fired up and he even broke into song and dance with a song from The Police in the 80’s. I think it is called “Oh, Lord God”, but the chorus is a repetition of “Fill me Up!” Pastor sang the song, the congregation stood and clapped along. Oh, there is never a dull moment with Pastor Vaughn Cook! We were all fired up about being filled up by the Holy Spirit.

There is always a problem when Pastor forgets to follow the lineup in the bulletin. Thus he forgot to dismiss the children for Children’s church…and he forgot to kick off Operation Christmas Child Shoebox program. Not so bad, but when he forgot to tell the congregation there was a mistake in the bulletin and there was NOT going to be a potluck next Sunday, I began to panic. Especially when people began to leave after going up and placing their offerings in the plate. The band was about to launch into the last song, when I got brave and walked to the front and whispered in Pastor’s ear not to forget to announce there was no potluck next Sunday. He said he would do that.

So I watched as more people began to leave and then Pastor said, “We had two angels come to our church this week. An angel named Lee and one named Roger. They came with a truck bed filled with coldpatch. And I went out and was informed they had an extra shovel, so I helped fill all the potholes in our parking lot!”

Um, oh, no. I cringed. He had heard potholes instead of pot luck.

All the people left as he dismissed church and I was frantically wondering what we would do when people began arriving with pot luck dishes next Sunday. Only some might, because as I caught Pastor leaving the Sanctuary, I said, “Um, Pastor, I said pot luck, not pot holes.” You could read the panic in his face.

He began running through the Narthex yelling, “We are NOT having a potluck next Sunday!”

Sigh.

So I left knowing I will receive a lot of phone calls, and have a lot of explaining to do next week. Being a Pastor’s assistant is always…shall we say…interesting? And I’ll say a prayer or two that people will not just show up with food.

My afternoon was topped off by having lunch with my dear friend, Sharon, while we laughed and laughed about the service.

As I sit here on my front porch enjoying the breeze as the sun is hidden behind the clouds, I can honestly say Pastor Vaughn truly did have a service like we’d never experienced before!

Hey, that makes life very interesting when one is past seventy!

Two Old Ladies and a Futon

A futon seemed to be the best solution for a bed in my office/spare bedroom. Also, it would give me a place to be comfortable while reading or watching television until my living room furniture arrived.

So, I told my friend Sharon about my plans. “Hey, I saw a nice futon at Sam’s Club,” she said. “I can take you there. If you decide to buy it, I’ll help you put it together.”

Well, I knew it wouldn’t be as easy to put together as she thought, but I wanted to browse around and until I found the perfect futon. So, last Thursday after work, we headed out to shop.

The one at Sam’s was gorgeous. Leather (or look-alike) and big…and very heavy…and did I mention BIG? There was no way we could put that into my RAV4. Plus, I remembered how Wilbur had chewed the fake leather on my late hubby’s brand new reclining bike!

So I decided to look elsewhere, but before we left, I signed up for a card so I could shop there again. (Don’t ask me…I don’t know why. When you are over 70, you sometimes have to make spontaneous decisions. You know, to make you remember your youth. Well, that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.)

The next store we ransacked searched was Big Lots. Right in the middle of the store in full view as we entered, stood lots of furniture. My feet hurried to the center and immediately I spied the perfect futon. Well, except for the metal arms instead of wood. But one can’t always be picky. The mattress was perfect, well, the one I chose was perfect. A nice brown shade and 10 inches thick.

The clerk, a beefy young guy, said they had both pieces in stock. He assured us it would be easy to assemble. My response, “Look at me. Do you really think it will be easy?” Sharon asked if he would be willing to come along and assemble it for us. Needless to say, that humor fell on deaf ears.

After telling him we had two SUVs, the models, colors, size of wheels…no, just kidding. Only that mine was a RAV4, which he said his parents had and the futon would fit inside.

Purchase secured. Two young beefy guys loaded the futon in my SUV and the mattress in Sharon’s. Off we went to the condo for some easy assembling fun.

Did I mention this was Sharon’s idea?

We had no trouble carrying the actual futon, in it’s nice sturdy box, into the condo. (Sigh. Another box to break down and stack with the others for Monday’s trash pickup). Once we accomplished that piece, we stumbled, grunted, and lifted, slid the mattress into the condo.

I was already tired. But not Sharon. She began opening the box and pulling out all those pieces and parts, including a million screws, nuts, and bolts…and one tiny bolt wrench and two tiny allen wrenches.

Unlike most men, women go about things by following directions. We started by laying out all the parts and assuring we had the correct number of each. Then we looked at Step 1.

The problem we immediately deduced was the pictures were not at all like the parts. The assembly piece which seemed to be the one that would make the futon lay flat or fold upright was not flat like the picture showed. And it would not flatten out by our trying to manipulate it. So we made sure the spring was on the correct side and began inserting the screws and bolts.

The instructions said to use a specific wrench for the first screws, but that was incorrect. The smaller one didn’t fit at all. In fact, we never had to use the smaller one in the entire process!

I tried to put in some of the bolts/screws to give Sharon’s hand a rest, but when the wrench slipped and I only missed her eye by an inch, I noticed she took over completely while I just held things in place. Her comment afterward, “I didn’t think you’d notice that,” shows her sense of humor!


Getting down to the end, we couldn’t figure out how to raise the frame to complete the final pieces. So we decided we must have put one of the pieces on upside down. While Sharon began taking it apart, I moved to the opposite side, and…whoa! I just pushed in the right place and that side moved!


So after belly laughing and rolling on the floor, and then my making a run for the bathroom, Sharon put the piece back on…the way she had done so in the first place.

In only 2-1/2 hours of work, we’d done the impossible. The futon was complete! We did sit on it to test it out and decided even though we were now experts, we didn’t want to add this to our resume because we didn’t want to have a future in assembling futons!

Yes, we had earned a nice meal out, topped with a wonderful toffee cheesecake for dessert.

Who says you can’t teach old dogs new tricks?

And the cats approved!


 

Living Among Packing Boxes

There are packing boxes in every room, except for my office. I’m sitting here right now and looking through the window at a beautiful full moon! It’s one joy of shorter days, when one can wake up and enjoy both a clear view of the moon and the beauty of a sunrise.

Wednesday afternoon I heard the news that closing date for both the house and the new condo were set for Friday (today)! I’d been slowly packing boxes, but just things that I don’t use on a regular basis.

So now the time to get serious had arrived! I called in and scheduled time off work, bought moving boxes and spent all day yesterday filling them.

My back is sore, my rooms are filled with boxes and I forget to look down and trip over them. So glad it is cool enough weather to wear long pants!

So, today is the day. I’ll sign all those papers and sleep in this house one more night. It has been nearly 8 weeks of inspections, appraisals, gathering paperwork, changing closing dates, and now the time has actually arrived! I think I’ll be a little sentimental when I walk out of the house for the final time. One doesn’t spend 33 years in one place and easily let go, but God has given me a lovely place to spend the rest of my earthly life and I’m ready to move those packing boxes and unload them again in a new destination.

I met the buyer yesterday by accident. They were supposed to do the final walk through at noon, but they showed up at 11:20 while I was vacuuming those stairs I’m so ready to leave behind. They came in and I could see how excited she was. Just as excited as I am about the condo! I hugged her and told her I hoped she would be as blessed in the house as I have been over the years. It made my heart happy to see how much she already loved my home.

So this morning we meet one more time over a table as we sign paperwork. It will be a bittersweet day, but one I’ve anticipated for a long time. Tomorrow my packing boxes will be loaded onto a truck and moved, along with some furniture and three cats who are wondering what is going on.

Life is an interesting journey. Especially life after 70. Talk to you soon from my new location and I’ll be sharing pictures. Until then, may God bless you and yours. Please remember to pray for those who have been and will be affected by the latest hurricanes.

Rain, Rain, Rainy Days and Surprises

Rain and rainy days are refreshing to me…usually.

Rain makes the flowers grow, cleans the air, and give the lawn that pretty green color.

After the house officially went on the market with a formal “for sale” sign in the front yard, I prepared myself for the next step. Having people walk through my house while I found someplace else to be. I worried about my three cats. Would they seek shelter under the beds, or would they come out and try to investigate the intruders, or hiss at them and scare them away?

My first showing was a no show, though they never told me. I had left every light on in the house, as suggested by my agent, so the rooms would appear bright and welcoming. When I returned home there was no calling card on the table. It had been pouring down rain, not just a little but a true downpour. More than we’d seen in a long time. Yes, I was out in that in order to meet the requirements of not being home when potential buyers came.

These, old, arthritic joints do not do well in weather like this! Life after 70 is called the “golden years”…I don’t quite understand this, unless it refers to the money paid to doctors, hospitals, and pharmacies! But I digress.

The next day there were two showings and another the afternoon after that. Things were looking up.

Neither of the first two lookers were interested. Boo. I began to feel a little down. The next afternoon another showing was scheduled and once again, God provided rain…lots of it. When it rains at the rate of an inch an hour, the street next to me, which connects with the main crossroad, floods. I know to avoid that street on those days.

Anyway, I came home from work, turned on all the lights, made sure everything looked picture perfect, and took all the paperwork regarding the new condo I was purchasing, and headed out between rain storms to have a late lunch.

While I was sitting in the restaurant, I heard another downpour with thunder rolling and lightning flashing. My first thought was that I’d come home and find the showing had been cancelled again.

Once the storm abated, I drove toward home. Streets were flooded everywhere! I avoided the bad street and turned onto mine…and saw an SUV in my driveway and two vans parked on the street in front of the house. Uh-oh. So I cruised on past and drove around the block to park on a cross street where I could see when the vehicles left. Let’s just say I sat there so long I worried someone would call the police about a suspicious, white-haired lady, in a silver SUV!

Finally a man came out and got into one of the vans. It was several minutes later when a lady emerged and climbed into the second van. No vehicles moved.

I began to get nervous. I noticed someone watching me from the windows of the house across from where I was parked, so I decided I’d better cut and run! I drove around several blocks and prepared to slowly go up my street. As I turned the corner, there were the two vans! A man was under the one the woman was driving. I stopped and rolled down my window and asked if they needed help. The man told me the woman had driven through a huge area of water and he was checking to make sure it was safe for her to drive. The woman said they were fine. She had been to look at a house for sale and were late because of the rain. She had turned on a street, not noticing it was flooded and drove through it!

Great. This was not looking good for me. I cheerfully said, the street always floods in heavy rains, but the next one over never does. She thanked me and I drove on. So did they. But the SUV was still in my drive. Sigh.

I took a different turn around the block and finally saw the driveway was vacant. Home, sweet, home.

I made my rounds to turn off all the lights, and when I went downstairs, I felt the sogginess under my feet! The carpet was soaked! I opened the basement door to water running from under the outside door straight across to the hallway. Oh, no!

Sure enough, the rain had come down so hard and the wind blew so strong that leaves, big leaves, from the neighbor’s sycamore tree had settled at the bottom of the stairs and over the drain at the outside entrance to the basement. I cleared them off and the water receded outside. But inside I had to sweep the water to the center drain. It took quite a while, but soon all the water was gone. I had to use my shampooer to suck the water from the carpeting. Then I started the dehumidifier to dry up the basement and the carpet.

Now I knew I had to call my agent and tell her the bad news. The house I swore never had water, now had…right when a potential buyer was viewing. I explained what happened and she said she could probably handle it if they said anything in their report.

No report came. The next evening I had made plans to visit my long-time best friend for dinner. She lives in a city about 40 minutes away. I alsof packed items to store in her basement until I moved. On the way to the restaurant where we were headed, I looked at the sky and said, “Doesn’t that cloud look like a tornado?” She agreed. Not two minutes later, the tornado siren went off! We continued to the restaurant to find staff standing outside videoing the tornado!

Yikes. We went inside and prayed for safety. Even tornadoes do not stop cooks and waiting staff in this restaurant! We enjoyed our comfort food and chatted long enough for the threat to be over before we left.

The following day was my day off, so I asked another friend to join me for lunch and to drive by the condo to see if there had been any flooding there. I had heard the road was closed due to high water! As we departed, I received a phone call. The person who had viewed my house during the basement flooding event offered to purchase the house at the full asking price! God can turn any dark situation into something beautiful! (And the condo and surrounding area was just fine!)

We had a bit of negotiating to do on some of the closing costs, but three days later, I had a signed contract. And I also signed a contract on the condo!

And now, the waiting began.

 

It’s Amazing How Much Clutter People Can Collect in 33 Years!

Clutter! It’s amazing how much my husband and I collected in the 33 years we spent in our house. He was a saver of all things which might be of use one day. Electric cords, cancelled checks from 1986, and even a rubber chicken.

He once saved egg cartons because he was going to paint them and turn them into a swag lamp! I’m serious.

He made me wall lamps out of the ends of butcher paper rolls he saved for several years. They were unique and if I hadn’t given them to the Salvation Army to bless someone else’s house, I would show you a picture.

When it came time to rent a dumpster so I could “downsize” and get the house ready to sell, I ordered the 14 cubic foot size. It took up my entire driveway!

Thanks to my son-in-law being a school teacher and thus not working this summer, he and three of my grandchildren helped clear out the clutter. I was truly amazed at how many things we tossed.

The rule I used was simple: If I hadn’t touched it in two years, it was fair game for the dumpster. I didn’t think twice. Well, maybe I did think twice about some things. But I remembered a dear friend’s advice: The joy of a gift is received at the time the gift is given. So those little knick knacks which friends and family gave me over the years had to follow the two year rule as well.

I shouldn’t just blame my late hubby. I collected hardback books. I began in the mid sixties and stopped when I bought my first Kindle (mainly because hubby said, either you stop buying books or I’m going to have to find a place to live because there won’t be room for me any longer)! We boxed up around 600 books for the Salvation Army. I could never bear to throw away a book!

I will have to invest in at least ONE new bookcase for my condo. I have writing craft books to display for easy access.

Anyway, we completely filled that dumpster to the top. I threw away everything that wasn’t up to recycling, but the basement is clutter free, the 12 X 12 shed is clutter free, all the closets are clutter free, and there is so much room in the house now! Honestly, it sure did look good by the time we put that For Sale sign in the yard.

And then began the process of showing the house. That took some preparation, too, which I’ll talk about in a later blog.

I can honestly say being over 70 takes a lot of stamina and fortitude!

‘Til next time, take time to enjoy life. Every moment is a gift from God!