Sunday, November 13, 2011

November 13th

We did not go up to Indiana this weekend after all; it turns out we couldn't take Keith's mom down with us or visit her very often. But she is doing better and we plan to go up there for Thanksgiving.

Ok, so, yesterday I had the house to myself while Keith worked on Max. I was very much enjoying my nice long and quiet afternoon in the middle of a hectic four day weekend.

I was settled comfortably and deeply into the couch, my bare feet up on the dusty coffee table, watching Shadowlands. I'd seen it before, but I'd forgotten how good it was.

A pot of tea had been brewed and beside me was an opened bag of chips and in my lap was a small bowl of sour cream.

I was all set to completely blow my diet in a luxurious splurge of fatty foods while movie watching when my phone rang.

It was Keith calling, informing me that the work on Max was much more difficult than he'd anticipated, even with three guys helping, and he'd invited all of them, plus their families, over for dinner in a few hours.

He wanted me to pick up four ready made pizzas from Walmart and have them and the house ready for guests.

It was about three in the afternoon, the house was in a state of general and wide spread neglect and I was wearing a shirt with a hole in it. I hadn't brushed my hair or showered yet that day.

My head was like a broken Rolodex; constantly flipping and never stopping long enough to impart actual information. Sensing my impaired state of mind, Keith said that he would pick up the pizzas himself, then he had to ring off to get back to work.

"I love you," he said.

I did not say it back. I put the phone back in my pocket and kept taking a step in one direction and then stopping and taking a step in another, constantly beset by the multitude of things I had to get done. Grimly, I set my teeth.

"I'm going to be hospitable!" I goaded myself. "It's in the Bible. It must be done. It will be done. Go, do it! Clean the bathroom!"

"But my movie!' I wailed. "My chips! I have time... I can finish the movie, surely..."

"The bathrooms!" I told myself, implacably. "The floors. The counters. The bedroom. Turn the movie off. And be glad about it! Jesus is watching you right this minute! Stop having such a bad attitude about the whole thing. This is a chance to serve. Do it and be happy about it, damn it."

Heaving a sigh, I tried to wrestle myself into a happier state of mind while trying to find the remote. But fortunately for me, Jesus was watching and right there. You are angry, He reminded me. This reminder came with absolutely no sense of guilt, merely freedom.

So, feeling a little like Richard Gere in Pretty Woman, I said with careful deliberation: "I am very angry at Keith."

The girls perked their ears up and looked at me. I looked down at them.

"I am very angry at Daddy," I told them, with more force.

Then I roared at the ceiling in a huge outburst of massive anger and frustration and then I laughed, shook my shoulders free of it, turned off the TV and put my snacks away.

While listening to Dire Straits, Tom Petty, Pink Floyd and U2 streaming at very loud volume from Pandora, I vacuumed, dusted, Windexed, bleached, polished and rearranged almost everything in the house. I even picked up the pizzas myself.

By the time Keith got home with the guests, the house gleamed with polish and candles and smelled of pumpkin cookies. The pizzas were in the oven and I was wearing a presentable shirt and my hair was brushed.

When Keith got in the door, the pride on his face was almost palpable. He took a quick shower to wash off the grease and grime and then found me in the kitchen. He pulled me into his arms.

"You are beautiful and the house is beautiful and I love you," he whispered into my ear.

This time I said it back. And then I went and was hospitable.