Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Fabulous Forty

You're going to have to twist your neck to look at this one. Paul has the bad habit (always has) of holding the camera at an angle. I'm wanting to frame this in a frame Sara gave me for Christmas; I have a fuzzy feeling I'll be filling in part of the fill space with black cardstock. Oh well.

Well, I am 40 years old now and so far, I'm loving it! No, I have long anticipated hitting this milestone, even if it is the traditional start of middle age and the descent into elderly-hood. I still have not reached an age where I dread turning the next number or am tempted to lie and say I'm younger. And then, also, when Julie died last year I promised myself that I would never disparage birthdays. Birthdays mean you're still alive.

And, in my case, birthdays mean an opportunity for others to show how much they love me.

My actual day was Friday. It was a quiet day. Paul didn't have to work and he mentioned that morning that Nathanael, who is Will's 18 yr old homeschooled church friend and the son of good friends of ours, was coming over to help with the work on the house. Paul has really been hitting that hard for the past few weeks. Last week, especially, he worked so hard. Every single night he was up way past midnight. Since the work is on the other side of our bedroom and Paul has made a walkway between our bedroom and what will be the new office, I had a hard time sleeping. I was a little perturbed that Paul hadn't told me Nathanael was coming. I certainly didn't mind - he is a stellar young man - but I would have liked some advance notice so I could get some meals planned and the house cleaned up! Paul said that was why he didn't tell me. I had just had surgery and he knew I would rush around getting things ready. Nice thought, but I will kill him if he ever does that again.

So, I spent the morning, rushing around, throwing together a meal for lunch and picking up, all the while muttering under my breath. But I got things done. I spent rest of the day doing mundane things like paying bills and making a grocery list. We decided to go to the Machine Shed for supper and Paul says, "Oh, by the way, Nathanael is spending the night." Well, that was a little odd (to have a non-family member with us for a b-day celebration) but that was fine. So, we did that and then afterwards, Paul stopped by Walmart and picked up a little ice cream cake. And we went home and I opened my cards. Paul had put $40 cash in the card from him and also in the card from the boys.

I got quite a bit of cash for my birthday - lots of $40 gifts. I am giving serious thought to buying a used treadmill. Also, Menards has some antique-looking fan backed chairs that I have long admired. So I may pick up a couple of those for the deck.

I had plans for Saturday. A few weeks ago my friend Debbie from church had suggested that she and I, plus another friend from church, Danielle, all go out the day after my birthday for lunch and some shopping since all 3 of us have March birthdays. I had been looking forward to that ever since. I made lunch for all the guys in the morning and got some of my Sun. meal ready. Paul, Will and Nathanael were working full-bore on the house. At one point, Paul asked me, "Where is it you're going again?" I reminded him and he said, "Oh yeah - I remember you now saying something about that." He's good.

So, I met Debbie and Danielle in Des Moines. While I was waiting for them I got really, really dizzy and had a minor mini stroke. But it didn't bother me too much. I'm still having a bit of trouble with my eye, but that's all. We had a nice time. We went to Olive Garden and then picked up my new sunglasses in W. Des Moines and then did some shopping at Valley West Mall. It was just a nice, nice time. Paul called me while I was gone and asked me to pick up some nails for him at Menards. That's not unusual. But by the time I got done with that, I was so tired. My thinking was that I'd get home, take a short nap, and then finish making Sunday's meal.

So, I drove home and rather than going in the front door as I normally do, I walked around the back because I wanted to see how much work the guys had gotten done putting the siding on the new addition. I stepped into the mudroom and was shocked to see that it had all been cleaned up and vacuumed. Wow! That was a big job. Then I stepped into the back room and into the dark kitchen and was met with shouts of...

"SURPRISE!!!!" Half my Sunday School class was crowded into our kitchen. I could not believe it! Paul had totally pulled off the surprise of my life! He had supper ready, there were two cakes on the table, and everyone brought me presents. It was such a wonderful night! You know, we live a half hour from our church and most of the people there live right in Indianola. But yet, they were willing to drive out to Swan to celebrate with us. One couple actually lives quite a ways south of church and had an hour drive from our house. I was just so touched by everyone's care for me.

And Paul - boy, did he impress me! He had been planning this for a year, he said. Not only has he been up to his eyeballs in house work, but he's had this to do, too. He had given out invitations a few weeks ago. He and Debbie cooked up the scheme of getting me out of the house. The whole thing with Nathanael coming over was so that he could things ready. I guess as soon as I left, he and the boys quickly laid down the new linoleum in the office and bathroom and then Paul took off to Walmart to pick up all the food and cakes. And then they all cleaned the house, top to bottom. I will never understand why that man loves me so much and is willing to do so much for me.

One thing that struck me was this: I've always been reluctant to invite people to our home because it's just an old farmhouse and it's been a construction zone since we moved in. I have been to the homes of my friends from church and they all have very nice ones. But it occurred to me the other night when everyone was crowded into my house - they didn't care. They were there for me and for Paul and they like us, old house and all. What a wonderful feeling!

Today, my pastor's wife Facebooked me to apologize for not making it Sat. She's been sick for 6 weeks now and is just having a difficult time. I told her not to worry about it and commented to her that I still am feeling "warm and fuzzy" from Sat. night. I really am.

If my fortieth birthday is any indication of what this decade of life will be, then it's going to be a WONDERFUL time!

1 comment:

  1. Paul treats you so wonderfully, because of sweetheart YOU ARE wonderful. Part of your wonder is your humility:) You work hard, have helped God create and raise 4 fine boys. Go through all of your health difficulities without a whimper- in fact with humor & grace. Hum.. wonder why you are so loved:) Besides that your are very WISE! and loving and share with all you are able. Never taking things for granted. Many times I am in awe of you!