Monday, July 30, 2012

The Certain Gift of a Pink House

This life of mine has doled out its fair share of heart-scratchers lately. It wears me down with scary regularity.

I keep crying Uncle, you know? And sometimes, when I cry it loud enough, I'm given a reprieve.

Last weekend was Reprieve. Capital R. So indulge me, and I'll tell you all about it.

First, Friday. Back at Christmas we were given a gift certificate to a fancy-pants tapas-style restaurant. If it tells you anything, the gift certificate was in the amount of one hundred dollars. I know, right? (Cory hates it when people say that. Hi, Honey!)

So I curled my hair and spackled my lips and off we went, though not after making stops at both Ace Hardware and Lowes, because we still have a house to build, people.

Here's what we ordered:
Pomegranate Martini (moi)
House cocktail (rum and fresh lime) (cory)
Heirloom tomato bruschetta
Guacamole with fried wonton chips
Corn and clam chowder (for Cory)
Pan-fried, pepper-crusted sirloin with shitaake mushroom sauce
Fancy French fries in a fancy paper cone with fancy paprika dipping sauce
Sauteed local sweet corn
Three berry Napoleon with lemon curd

Our bill came to $92 buckaroos. Can you even imagine? But holy cow, the food. It made my chicken taco look like it straight-up rolled out of the corner Speedway.

I spent most of the meal yammering about all kinds of ridiculosity and people-watching, though I had to squint a little because it was so fancy-dim. I wondered, who takes kids to a place like that on a random Friday? What is it like to live that life? 

I'm not gonna lie, I felt kind of blingy and luxurious. It was fun to be extravagant (on someone else's dime.)

But you know what was even more fun? Coming home, tucking kids into bed, yanking off any/all constricting garments, donning my ugliest socks, and hunkering down for some Netflix with my feet pressed up against Cory.

That right there is the best of everything. It's my go-to, slow-down, find-some-center routine and it's more delicious than local corn or shitaake anything.

Saturday we drove up to South Haven and spent the night in a rental house with Cory's brother and his wife. I knew it was a good sign when we drove up and the house was pink.

So, we did what you do. We hit the beach, slow-poked around, stayed up way too late watching TV on the screened-in porch with salsa bowls in our laps. We puttered and ate greasy burgers and ice cream cones. We shopped just a little. Talked an awful lot. Grilled steaks. Read our books.

It was perfection. All of it.

Over and over I thought, this weekend was just what I needed.

We drove home last night all sandy and pink, exhaustion wrapped around us like a hug.

Five minutes after walking through the door, Silas chucked all over the carpet. And then again in the bathroom sink. (You read that right. shudder) We got him tucked in just in time for the waterworks to begin across the hall, in suite 2. Both Biggers were in hysterics over topics ranging from, "But I miiiiiisssss the big waaaaaaaaves!" to "What will happen to me if both of you die?"

Silas ended up in bed with us and kicked me in the ribs all the live-long night.

Then we woke up today only to discover that every last one of us was grumpy and gripey, so we called some friends and met up at the walking path to blow off some steam.

Sitting there in the gazebo with my friend, things felt better again. Life is about every single moment, all of them, twisted together in a knot. You can't decide that you're only taking the fair or gilded strands. The thought was so tangible, there in the shade. This is real life, and all of it's beautiful. Every part gives meaning and perspective to the next. Just when I was ready to jump up and pluck that invisible string, really make it sing, we heard some distant screaming.

It sounded so wild and uncivilized that I chalked it up to one of those uninhibited, joyful kid screams. Only it kept getting louder and it got even crazier and then we realized that the kids weren't running toward us in crazy-summer-fun mode, they were all-out nutso-terrified-tormented screaming.

We ran to them and all the while I'm scanning every visible inch of all five little bodies, looking for a missing hand or excessive blood - any blood - because that's just how hysterical they were, and by "they", I mostly mean my kids and by "my kids", I mostly mean Ruby. I've never seen anything like it. It was traumatic.

Turns out they had been attacked by a swarm of angry bees. Like that scene in Tom and Jerry. The bees were still chasing them hundreds of yards from where they first met. Calvin was stung once on the ear but was screaming exponentially louder than his buddy, who had been stung about fifteen times, or Silas, who had a rogue bee still trapped inside his shirt.

It was revealed hours later that even poor Charles had suffered multiple stings.

We got them all de-stingered, Benadryled and showered. I thanked Jesus over and over that none of the kids are allergic. I put all of my people in jammies and made them Pizzadillas for lunch. Sarah dropped by with surprise dessert in the middle of a Monday.

This. Real life. Good. Bad. Beautiful.

The afternoon was slow and steady, all of us reveling in the quiet truth that we had good reason to mope around a little. I made Zucchini cupcakes and Spanish rice for Bible Study.

Of course, the Spanish rice was still a crunchy, soupy mess when it was time to go, so I showed up with just dessert and now I have ten servings of Spanish rice to plow through over the next several days. Of course.

All of this is the gift I've been given. And the orange-glazed cake could never be bad, but it sure as heck wouldn't have been as good had it not come on the heels of a hundred ticked-off bees.