Cash, cabinets, my primary income generator and an old Ford truck

28 09 2007

Neal has an interview with a company in Lynchburg VA tomorrow morning at 8:30 am!!!!  He interviewed with Volvo in Greensboro this morning & found out that they’re not affiliated with Ford, which is good because he doesn’t want to work for Ford.  (I mean, why sign up for extra persecution?  Really.)  So since Volvo sold their car line & only produce large (?) engines now, it’s OK for him to work for them.  That’s nice.  Greensboro was one of our top picks.
But LYNCHBURG…. I am conjuring visions of a small town nestled in the hills of Virginia with cows and streams and a big white farmhouse set aside for the clan only an hour and a half from my sister and my brother & his girl and my folks…  Neal loves what he’s heard of the company so far, and they’re looking for someone to do just exactly the kind of job he’s been wanting.
We’ve been looking all the towns up on Wikipedia to find out what the cost of living is.  Lynchburg’s housing is about 20% less expensive than Wilmington, which means that for the same amount of money we’re paying now, I could probably get a house with decent bathrooms and a working sewer connection!  Woo Hoo!!  Food is cheaper there, too.
Actually, everything is cheaper everywhere we’re looking.  In Huntsville AL, Bowling Green KY, Lynchburg VA, and even in Charlotte, Raleigh and Goldsboro.  It’s pretty expensive to live here.  Not as bad as places like New York, of course, where it costs a couple of thousand dollars to rent a three room apartment with bedrooms the size of a bathtub.  But it’s pricey compared to most of the South.  Too many Northerners buying 5 million dollar beach mansions they don’t even bother to live in and driving up the real estate prices, I guess.
Who lives in those places we drive by at the beach?  Most of the time there’s no sign of habitation.  I can’t stretch my brain far enough to imagine making enough money to build a house like that and LIVE in it!  How can they afford a mansion as a vacation home they never go to?  Where do these people work?  Do they work?  It hurts my head.
Someone told me recently that their husband ran a company that sold kitchen cabinets.  I thought, “That’s nice,” thinking about the pre-fab $38/ft cabinets Neal and I buy at Lowe’s on the rare occasions that we buy cabinets.  Then this person went on to say that the cabinet sets cost upwards of $100,000!!!!  I was so shocked I felt my blood pressure drop.
Now, not to get too graphic about our private fiscal buisiness here, but let me put it this way: if we bought them, the cabinets alone would make up about 70% of the value of our home.  And I thought I was being an irresponsible spender for buying a $1,000 bathtub!
We have Neal’s old 401-K plan from Canada rolled over into an IRA at Edward Jones. At this point it’s almost recovered from Y2K.   Recently, when he lost his job, we had to do some paperwork to move the more recent 401-K in there, too.  As part of that process, the agent wanted to calculate our net worth.  He had us put down on paper all our holdings, assets, savings, CD’s, investments, properties, and valuables.  Well, it didn’t take me long.  Let’s see… 4 kids, two banged up ancient vehicles that have a tendency to drop parts if they hit a speed bump, a little equity on our house (mortgaged and for sale- we’ll see what we get for it), and three college savings accounts full of small change.  Oh, and some money from his 401-K.  It didn’t add up to much.  The agent kept flipping through the pages saying, “Have you got a….”
“Is there any….”
“Surely you must have an emergency fund!”   Investment people are always very worried about emergency funds.
“Well, we did have, but I just spent it to buy Neal a truck.”  When I said this, Neal and I shot each other a surreptitious loving glance and steathily held hands under the edge of the desk, the purchase of said unsightly rust-bucket being something that pleased both of us very much.  It’s a 1991 F-350 crew cab with extended bed.  Like all good, well-loved trucks, you can see through part of the floor board, operating some of the controls requires pliers and it growls when you start it like a souped-up Harley.  I bought it for his birthday, and Neal loves his truck.
The financial agent was not impressed.  “Just let me check on something.  You do have a will, don’t you?”
“Ummmm….. yeah.”  Well, we had a will KIT that I bought four years ago with the intention of filling it out.  There’s just so much to do: kids to feed, diapers to change, trucks to buy, jobs to find, houses to sell…  Somehow the idea of a will doesn’t seem so important when you don’t have anything worth inheriting.  “Sort of,” I amended.  He sighed and gave me the business card of an attorney.
“How about life insurance?  What will become of your children if, beg your pardon sir, something happens to your primary income generator?”
I looked at the man doubtfully.  I had never considered my husband as a “primary income generator.”  I felt vaguely guilty, like I had forgotten to oil him or something.
The conversation went on, waxing frothy with words like “risk aversion” and “joint account beneficiaries” that make me feel bubble-headed.  It’s difficult to understand why we need listed beneficiaries to open a joint account that doesn’t actually contain any money, but only might possibly contain money if we so choose to create such accounts at some point in the future.  Plus, I have to admit, that I STILL, despite having it explained multiple times, STILL don’t understand what the heck a mutual fund is.
He wanted to know what our plans for the future were.  He asked for a copy of the family budget for 2007.  He wanted to see our taxes for the last two years and the interest rate on our mortgage.  He was talking very fast with something of a northern accent.  He kept trying to smile reassuringly at me and bobbing his head like he wanted me to nod or something.  I leaned forward looking at the charts and diagrams and trying to appear sensible, educated and frugal.  All I could think about was the glass dish of tiny candy bars in the lobby and wondering how many I could take on our way out without looking rude.
When we finally escaped out to the parking lot with our ears ringing, Neal slid his arm around me and gave me a squeeze.  “Why did you keep glaring at that poor man?” he asked me, “Were you upset about something he was saying?”
“Was I glaring?” I asked.
“Very much so.  I think you were making him nervous.”  He hauled open the truck door and handed me up.  A fine dusting of rust sifted down to the ashphalt when he slammed the door.  Thoughtfully, I unwrapped a miniature Mr. Goodbar and popped it in my mouth.  When Neal slid in the driver’s door, I answered, “I don’t know.  He was talking so fast.  He reminded me of a used car salesman.  I don’t trust people who talk that much.  I didn’t want  him to think he was pulling anything over on us.”
Neal turned the key and the engine roared to life, sounding very much like a diesel tank.  “He’s just a northerner,” he said.  He took a pair of pliers off the dash and popped the emergency brake.
There was a time after we moved to Spartanburg when I was eight that I proudly claimed my northern roots.  I constantly drew a distinguishing line between myself and my classmates.  I would never talk like that.  I would never act ignorant like that.  If I’ve told myself once, I’ve told myself half a hundred times: “I’m a northerner!  When did I EVER contribute to racial tensions? My family didn’t keep slaves- they were ignorant Scotch-Irish hillbillies starving to death on tiny farms in the hills of Ohio and West Virginia.  The whole mess has nothing to do with me… I’m NORTHERN.”   I told myself I missed snow, I hated heat, I longed for the mountains, I didn’t like the beach, I despised tea (sweet or not) and refused to eat grits or greens…
It was with sudden, dawning comprehension that I exclaimed, “Gosh, we’re rednecks!”
Neal eased the truck out of the parking space and turned for the highway.  “Born and bred, baby, born and bred!” he said with a grin.  “I’m an Alabama boy, you know.”  We rode home with the windows open and my hair blowing all around my face feeling very red-necky indeed in our great white unairconditioned whale of a truck.
Still, I don’t care if I am a sucessfully transplanted Southerner, I ain’t NEVER putting one of those crazy orange flags on the back of one of our cars.  Heritage, my fanny.  I am going to get Neal a Promise Keeper’s sticker, though.  One that says, “I love my wife!”
You can’t be too careful driving a Ford these days.


Raw Chicken Wrestling & other culinary topics

25 09 2007

      I hate cooking chicken.
      Why?  The list goes on and on: pimply skin, greasy white fat, tendons, tiny bones, gristle, knuckles you have to pull apart with a snap, skin so tough I have to saw at it with my knife, and worst of all salmonella germs getting all over everything I touch as I wrestle with the nasty stuff.
       I prefer beef.  It comes in a nice slab of MEAT.  You CUT the meat, you COOK the meat, you EAT the meat.  It cuts very politely when half frozen and thaws nicely under running water.  Chicken never cuts nicely, hanging on to its unpleasant bits like a greedy relative hanging on to a half-promised inheritance.  It freezes like a rock, and even after sitting on the counter all afternoon is stubbornly frozen in the middle.  If microwaved it stinks and turns a greasy, greyish white.
       I like beef.  Steak is good, hamburgers are good, it makes a nice teriyaki shish-kabob, and does all kinds of pleasant things when combined with mushrooms.  I even like the smell of raw meat- a sort of blood-tinged-carnivorish-outdoor-barbeque-cooking kind of smell. 
       Chicken smells peculiar raw.  Possibly because chickens are the stupidest animal on earth and will cheerfully track their poop all over their food and then fight over who gets to gobble it up.  Cows, on the other hand, won’t eat anywhere near their own poop.  They leave little circles of uneaten grass around the cow pies.    
       Pigs smell unspeakably foul when alive, and I don’t much like pork either.  Bacon grease always snaps and burns me.  Pork chop bones are gritty, and you have to fry them so carefully.  Cutting up pork is a gritty, nasty slimy buisiness.  Plus you constantly have to worry about parisites, so you have to cook chops and roasts in “moist heat.”  I have two questions about this: what the heck does “moist heat”do, and if you cook it “thoroughly” like the directions say, doesn’t that just mean you get to eat thoroughly cooked DEAD parasites?  Am I the only one who thinks that’s gross?  When my family eats ham, I eat fried eggs.  
        Bologna and hot dogs contain the left-over bits of pigs and chickens that looked too gross to sell as raw meat.  I will occasionally eat a Gvaltney chicken hotdog, but I try not to think too much while I’m doing it and I bury it in relish.  That way if something crunches, I can assume it was a pickle.  I only eat BEEF kielbasa.
        Of course, it’s getting harder and harder to get good beef.  I bought hamburger from Wal-mart recently and even the HAMBURGER was soaked in a 15% solution of preservatives and “beef juice.”  Whatever that is.  I put it in a skillet to brown it and it sweated so much water I spooned out two cup fulls from one pound of hamburger.  It wouldn’t brown at all- it boiled and turned grey.  What’s the use of that, I ask you?  Have you ever read a hamburger recipe that didn’t begin with the words “Brown the Ground Beef?”
       Food Lion recently switched meat providers and now all their pork products are soaked in 12% solution.  So you can’t fry your pork chops anymore without making pork chop soup.  (Moist heat?)  When I complained to their customer service number the person who answered the phone told me this was for my own good.  “It makes the meat more tender and last longer in your fridge.”  Unfortunately, I wanted CRISPY pork chops, not soggy tender ones.  And what it really means is that they get to soak the meat in preservatives so the germs are afraid to rot it and it keeps over a month in their meat case at the store.  Just what I wanted: month-old parisite-ridden dead animal that even the microbes won’t eat.  Mmmm….
       When I lived alone, before I had small people who think chicken nuggets deserve their own food group, I ate a lot of fruit.  I ate sweet potatos with butter and salt, beets plain out of the can, cherries, apples, cheese, cereal and organic milk, and peanut butter sandwiches.  Sometimes I made vegetable soup with a little MEAT (read: beef) in it.  I weighed 135 pounds and I looked good in size eight jeans.
       But now I’m married to a man.  Men love meat, and my particular man loves chicken.  He likes chicken in any form that’s not moving.  His very best favorite is home made chicken pot pie.  Sigh.
        I’ve already wrestled with the frozen chicken.  I managed to pry it off that little juice-soaking pad they put at the bottom of the foam tray.  It shredded, of course, spewing salmonella germs all over my sink and counter.  It had to be microwaved before it would fit in the pot (despite sitting on the counter all afternoon).  While it was microwaving, the turntable rubbed a raw chicken leg all over the inside of my microwave.  More germs.  I had to wash my hands multiple times while putting it in and taking it out and trying to rip the pad off it, so now there are germs all over my hand soap container and the faucet handles, too.  By the time I get through cooking chicken, I always feel like I need to decontaminate my whole kitchen and take a bath.
       So now, the chicken is cooked.  I have to fish it out of boiling water, let it cool, get impatient & try to pick it off the bones, burn my fingers, fuss & holler, let it cool some more & repeat.  Finally, I put it in gravy & onions, slap a crust on and put it in the oven for another 45 minutes.  Somehow the whole process just doesn’t seem worth it.  I could have baked a sweet potato in twenty minutes and been perfectly happy.
        But for Neal, the man who would do anything for me, who scratches my back and makes me purr happily, who slays spiders and adjusts the attitude of my pre-teen, I will cook chicken.
        Anyone else has to put up with pot roast. 

Sweating to Death- notes from The Cliffs of Neuse

24 09 2007

       Mistake #1- Letting the kids plan the campout.
       Mistake #2- Planning on swimming to escape the muggy afternoon heat without finding out if the swimming & boating concession stayed open after labor day.
       Mistake #3- Not checking the campsite for poison ivy.
       Mistake #4- Not checking the stream for snakes before letting the children wade.
       Mistake #5- Leaving the tent fly rolled back so I could fall asleep counting stars.
       Mistake #6- Only bringing six clean outfits for the baby.
       Mistake #7- Walking out in the mud of the Neuse river edge while wearing my watch, clean clothes, and tennis shoes.
       Mistake #8- Letting the baby stand next to the hot iron grill while the hamburgers were cooking.
       Mistake #9- Not bringing any pain medication strong enough to deal with a migraine.
      Mistake #10- Trying to wash my 4-year-old’s pooped-in underwear out in the camp toilet.
      Mistake #11- Trying to hike with my unpredictable bad knee.
      Mistake #12- Arming Mike with a marshmallow toasting fork and failing to duck.
      Mistake #13- Not warning Brenna to pull the marshmallow OFF the fork with her fingers, rather than putting the red-hot metal in her mouth.
       Mistake #14- Paying for two nights at the campsite in advance.

 I can only think of three good things to say about the whole weekend: 1) there were no mosquitos.  2) I fell asleep praying & listening to the owl’s melancholy hymnmaking in the pine forest.  3) None of the spiders crawled on me while I was taking a shower after my little “dip” in the river.

Other amusing things: There were tree frogs living in the sink of the bathhouse.  When you’d lean down to spit out your toothpaste, a little head with gleaming eyes would pop out of the drain hole.  It kind of freaked me out the first couple of times.
        The Cliffs of the Neuse state park is famous for the high mud cliff carved out by a river bend.  They sort of neglect to mention on the website that you can’t see the cliffs from the overlook trail.  The top is completely overgrown with trees.  You can barely see the river, well enough the cliff itself.  The steps to the bottom of the cliff have collapsed and are barricaded off.  If you go past the cliffs down a steep hill (leaning on your son’s shoulder because you’re in great pain from a bad knee) you can get to the river’s edge.  You cannot, however, walk back up the river to the cliff because of the big snag where the steps have collapsed.  If your gung-ho enthusiastic husband proposes that you try to wade or swim past the snag assuring you that snapping turtles are not dangerous predators and there are no alligators around, and you try to check the depth of the water to see if the children could possibly make it, you will find out that it drops off very suddenly and get rather slimy and wet.

14 09 2007


Gold in the morning sun

14 09 2007

     I went out to lunch with two lovely ladies this week.  It was a nice atmosphere- they kept trying to grate stuff on my food and the waiter did that little wrist thing when presenting the plates.  Not quite as nice as the place where I almost socked the waiter because he spread my napkin in my lap for me, but almost.  (Why is it considered high hat to have your napkin spread for you?  Are rich people too worn out by their money to unfold their own napkin?  Suprised they don’t have someone assigned to cut their meat for them, which involves actual work.  They would never do that in certain red-neck establishments, as waiter might draw back a bloody stump instead of a hand.)
       During lunch I remembered something about myself.  I forget when I haven’t been with people in a while, because they tell me that they’re amused by my writing.  I begin to think that I personally am amusing!  Since I have always had a secret longing to be a stand-up comedienne, this pleases me, and I get overconfident.  But at lunch as I tried bravely to swim with a conversation about local music, fashion, current TV shows, eccentric office personalities and such, I realized the dire truth once again:
       I am really a horribly boring person.
       Why is it, I ask you, that the same meandering, complaining, vaguely snide stuff that people enjoy when I write makes their eyes glaze in person?  To my horror, at one point, I found that I was delivering a lecture on neurotransmitters and how they affect our REM sleep.  Realized I sounded just like my six-year-old son, who once delivered a lecture on hormones and the placental barrier to a standing room only crowd in the ladies’ restroom.  (I was helpless to prevent him as I was suffering acutely from morning sickness in the background- exhibit A for the lecture, I guess.)
      Another question: why is my hair and clothes always wrong?  Dressed up for the luncheon thinking that I would look out of place in my customary worn-out jeans and t-shirt.  Realized immediately upon entering the car that t-shirt was appropriate attire.  Went to all the trouble to put on jewlery, wore pearl earrings when should have worn hoops, that sort of thing.  I have five bijillion pictures of me with groups of friends in high school and college.  You can always tell who I am, because I’m the one in the white suit when everyone else is wearing flowered dresses, or the one with short hair when everyone else has shoulder-length curly hair.  Is there some internet site that tells people how to dress for different occasions that I simply haven’t found yet? 
       I hear that being out of step is it’s own fashion statment.  Perhaps I should just make myself a couple of red-velvet skirts to go with my black t-shirts and GO for it.  Somehow it’s worse to be unfashionable in a quiet way.  You end up looking like you shopped the grandma section of Wal-Mart (which, in truth, I did).  Wheras if you wear something really flamboyantly odd-looking people assume that’s the kind of stuff they’re wearing around Picadilly this year, or something. 
        Of course, things were quite different at the meeting of homeschoolers I attended the night before.  Had very little trouble joining a conversation about the best way to keep up with the laundry for a family of six.  Had many amusing things to say about the perils of breast-feeding the fourth child.  Told my anecdote about co-sleeping with my toddler when he had the stomach flu and was the hit of the room. 
       Perhaps at lunch at Romanelli’s I was simply out of my genre.   I’m always much more comfortable wearing jeans and sitting on a picnic table eating barbeque with my fingers.  I like the sort of occasion where the small children and the dogs all crawl under the table and fall asleep on each other while the men talk about football and the women clear the table and gossip until they’re laughing so hard you can hardly hear the TV.
       It’s just the plain truth that I am not a classy person.  I enjoy talking to people who don’t have all their teeth and natter on forever about something that happened in 1964.  I like listening to the female version of war stories where all the women in the room interrupt each other telling all the intimate phisiological details about their worst birth experience.  I don’t have a clue what a podcast is, and I haven’t the faintest idea what they’re showing on network TV these days.  If I drank a cocktail I would probably fall asleep or throw up.  I have never “text”ed anything, (What is the past tense of that verb, anyway?) and I don’t know what is the proper kind of wedding present to buy.  My phone doesn’t take pictures and lives it’s life hooked to the wall beside my computer. 
         In some ways I feel like I’ve actively fought against being “cool.”  I guess I’ve always known I couldn’t compete.  I never had the money for the clothes or the toys other kids had.  I was never allowed to watch the TV shows, videos, or games they did.   I don’t know the right stores to shop in, and couldn’t afford them anyway. 
        Paul said that the secret to being content was to be happy with what you could have.  I know what I can have.  I can have made from scratch gingersnaps, wet sticky baby kisses, long evening walks with my husband, fresh tomatoes in season, K-Love on the radio, badminton in the backyard, handfulls of dandelions, long hot baths, books from the library, dresses from Goodwill, homemade afghans, bread rising on my counter and holding hands with my family around the dinner table every night in prayer.
       One of my favorite musicians, a country singer named Don Williams sings a song I love.  The refrain goes like this:

        “I’m just a country boy,
         Money have I none.
         But I’ve got silver in the stars,
         gold in the morning sun…
         gold in the morning sun.”

His and Hers

11 09 2007

       At cross purposes with my husband again.  Not that he’s doing anything wrong- he isn’t.  He’s trying to be helpful and virtuous and everything a good man should be. 

      Have you ever read the 5 Love Languages books?  They say there are five ways people express and recieve love.  Everyone has favorites both to give and recieve.  My favorite is “Special Times.”  I love dates, planned activities, playing cards together, going on walks together, reading books together… even mowing the grass together, for heaven’s sake!  It doesn’t seem like a hard love language to me.  How hard is it to take someone out to lunch or invite them to watch a movie on the couch with you?  How hard is it to make someone feel special?
      Well, apparently, it’s impossible.
      Being together day in and day out tends to heighten my expectations.  After all, he’s HERE.  He has nothing better to DO (being unemployed!)  Surely now all the excuses are gone, and he’ll have time to plan to spend a little time with me.  Instead, we work all day and I go to sleep at night wondering where he is and what he’s doing.  (In his defense, he’s had poison ivy pretty bad and hasn’t wanted to keep me up all night because he’s been scratching a lot.)
        You see, the love language Neal operates in most of the time is “Acts of Service,”  better known as “helping out.”  He “helps” me by watching the kids, by cleaning the house, by looking for work, by fixing the roof, by cleaning my car, by watering the flower beds every morning before I get up!  He gets up at night with the kids, he fixes breakfast, he does the laundry, he replaces ductwork in the crawlspace!  He’s Super Husband!  He would kill himself to please me, and yet, the harder he works, the unhappier I am.
       We get twisted around each other in some kind of Gordian knot.  He knows I’m unhappy, so he works harder to please me.  And as hard as I try to thank him for all the things he does, I’m like a starving person at a feast.  There is all this love spread around me but I can’t get any nourishment from it!  Because, you see, I don’t need to feel “helped,” I need to feel “special.”  I don’t want him to fix my car.  I want him to hold my hand and tell me I’m beautiful.  I want him to pull me into his arms and slow dance around the living room.  He wants to wash the supper dishes and load the dishwasher for me.
       In my own personal twisted psychology, it is my job as helpmate to help him!  I want to serve my husband.  I want to please him.  I want to load the dishwasher myself, for crying out loud!  But he’s so busy trying to please me, it is very difficult.  We’re both trying to earn a pat on the back, and nobody is patting.  
        So we’re frustrated and tense.  We’re getting on each other’s nerves, as usual.  And, as often as we’ve talked about the problem, we just can’t solve it.  He seems to be constitutionally unable to plan a date.  And, try as I might, I can’t seem to accept housework as the passionate outpouring of his masculine heart.  (I know a lot of women are reading this and thinking, “She’s crazy!  I would LOVE it if my husband would help around the house!”)
      What makes it even worse is that Neal feels loved when I pet and hug and snuggle on him.  And I am not a really touchy-feely kind of person.  I don’t like people in my space, you know?  It took me a couple years, but I am now used to the “Church Hug.”  It still gives me finger-nail-down-the-blackboard chills, though, when someone pecks me on the cheek.  Especially if they have whisker stubble, and even if the whisker-stubbly kiss comes from my beloved and devastatingly handsome husband. 
       It sort of makes you wonder how we managed to get together long enough to HAVE four kids.
      I bought us a kit from the Salt Shaker called Simply Romantic Nights.  I thought it would be great.  It has twelve date nights for the man, all planned out, and twelve (ahem) encounters for the ladies to do at home.  The ideas were a lot of fun.  We’ve done all of mine.  Some of them were kind of crazy, but we’ve been married ten years now, and a new idea now and then couldn’t hurt.  The idea is that in return, I am supposed to recieve twelve meticulously planned, utterly romantic nights on the town gazing into my husband’s deep brown eyes and having my hand held until it’s sweaty.  Instead, he sort of scrambled through two of them, then said his assignments are too much trouble.
       It figures. 

The pursuit of happiness- an excerpt

8 09 2007

This is a bit by my favorite author, D.E. Stevenson.  It’s from her book, “Mrs. Tim Gets a Job:”

     She asks me if I am really happy, and if so, why… I enquire why Mrs. Wilbur thinks happiness is so important.
      She looks at me in amazement and says the pursuit of happiness is one of the chief aims set forth in the Declaration of Independance.
      This silences me completely, but Mrs. Wilbur insists that I must explain my views on the subject.  She presses me so hard that at last I am forced to admit that I think the pursuit of happiness an ignoble aim and a selfish aim and, as selfish people are never happy, a foolish aim.
       Mrs. Wilbur exclaims, “Happiness foolish?  Not to this chicken!” and looks so shattered that I feel I may have hurt her.  However she soon recovers and to my surprise comes back for more, assuring me that she can take it.
       I continue by saying that in my humble opinion happiness is a priviledge, not a right.  It comes, not to those who pursue it for themselves, but to those who try to give it to others.  The more you pursue happiness the more it eludes you… and those who grasp at happiness attain despair.

Quite so!  As I have been trying to explain to my sulky eldest son for a month now, it is more blessed to give than recieve, and those who chase pleasure will end up with a fist full of discontent.  To wit: get up off the couch and go do something for someone!  
      It is more worthwhile to pursue joy, peace, and a quiet concience.  Pleasure is fleeting, but the satisfaction of duty well done lasts a while, and love sown abroad brings it’s own return.
       If only I could add to the discipline of doing my duty the blessing of doing it with a good temper!  Afraid I do most of my work in a rather resentful frame of mind.  Absolutely positive it is impossible to do housework “as unto the Lord” as I can’t imagine Jesus stomping pieces of cheese stick into the rug or wiping printer ink on the garage floor. “What Would Jesus Do?” also a fruitless question as the bible only shows Jesus patting the little children on the head and blessing them.  Very little guidance on what he might do when the little darlings persist in putting their feet on each other and screaming “He’s/She’s touching me!” in the car.  Although I am sure that, were he faced with such a situation, he would not do what I did about it.