While most of my time has been spent joyfully grandmama-ing, I was feeling increasing anxiety about one thing. I am flying back to Doha to pack, and then I am flying back to Pensacola to close on the house, and wait for AdventureMan to join me, and then all our furniture and household goods that have been in storage a lifetime – twelve years – will arrive.
Oh oh. Where do we sleep until our bed arrives? We COULD invade our dear son and his sweet wife once again, but don’t you think enough is enough? Would you want your parents and in-laws living with you, week after week, with all our well-intentioned advice, and stories about our son when he was young?
No? LLOOLLL, me neither!
So yesterday, I took an afternoon to myself.
First, I had learned that the Pensacola Quilter’s Guild was having their bienniel (once every TWO years) show this weekend, Friday and Saturday. There is little that can take this adoring grandmama away from her most adorable brand-new grandson, but I will admit it – a quilt show – that is beyond temptation. I had to go, even just for an hour. I went, joined the guild, hurried through the exhibit, which was GLORIOUS! and then I went furniture shopping.
Furniture shopping is not what it used to be. I have some lovely furniture in storage, but not a huge amount of it. Some of it we sent off with Law and Order Man when he went off to law school and needed some basics. Some of it is just outdated – like televisions from the 90′s! I figured I would just look for the basics – bed, mattress and table and chair. We will have a place to sit when we are not sleeping, and we can buy the TV’s together, later, with our son’s help. We need the help of the high-tech-savvy to get us up to speed on what we will be needing, phones, TV’s, cable connections, phone plans, internet connections, oh, it is as bad as buying a new car!
When we were still in the military, we found a dining room table and chairs, gorgeous, at an auction, for $169. We found marble topped antique oak nightstands, gorgeous, at the flea market in Metz, and paid $60 for the pair. We found a gorgeous buffet/credenza in a used furniture shop in Leavenworth, KS for $50 + $10 for delivery, all these are furniture pieces we still treasure. I am telling you this so you will understand what sticker shock I get when I go to look at new furniture.
I am quick and clear about what I want and need, but the prices require me to summon all the courage I can summon when I go to write the checks. I am good at saving. Letting that money go is so HARD. It took me the entire afternoon to find pieces I knew would work for us.
It was on sale. I love it because, with the inlay, it sort of reminds me of the Middle East, of Damascus:
I also bought mattresses. It was difficult, too, because I don’t like these pillow tops. We like a good, firm bed, and I like to sleep cool, I can’t get to sleep if I am too warm, and these pillow tops are too warm. It took me a long time to find a good, firm mattress set for the bed.
Then I went looking for a table and chairs for the family room/ casual dining area. I knew what I wanted. My long-time Chinese friend told me the best table for families is the round table, no one sits at the head, everyone is equal. My sister Big Diamond (Little Diamond’s and Sporty Diamond’s Mom) has a HUGE, gorgeous round table, and I have seen how people love to gather there. So I knew I wanted a round table that would be inviting and comfortable, but not so grand as my sister’s. I have been looking online, checking out a lot of models. When I found one here in Pensacola, at a reasonable price, I was hooked. It is light teak – light in color, heavy in weight. OOps. Then she reminded me I would need chairs. Aaarrgh.
There weren’t any other customers in the shop at the time, so we took our time. As I learned from you, my Middle Eastern friends, we dickered a little, comfortably and amiably – and she gave me a discount, and free delivery.
The chairs are amazing. You would not believe wood could feel so comfortable. The table and chairs together remind me so much of all our times camping and in lodges in Africa, in Zanzibar, in Zambia, in Botswana, where the furniture is both comfortable and well made. But I almost choked, writing the check. Some things are just worth buying new; sturdy, comfortable furniture is one of them.
It has a spa tub and a walk in shower.
Last but not least, I found some farewell gifts for friends I have had in Doha for a long long time, and a bolt of muslin for a friend who knows I am coming back with suitcases almost empty. It was a long day, and a fruitful day, and I am resting easier knowing all these little details are coming together.
Today, however, my son and his wife are taking me to the kinds of places I LOVE buying furniture! The Waterfront Mission Store and Loaves and Fishes! Wooo HOOOOO!
This is from a wonderful website by by Rick Warren, who writes about the Purpose Driven Life and who sends out daily inspirational messages. I love this one.
Connect be keeping someone’s confidence
by Rick Warren
“A gossip betrays a confidence, but a trustworthy man keeps a secret.” Proverbs 11:13 (NIV)
If relationships are going to work, we have to be confidential with information.
Are you the kind of person that someone can trust with confidential information? We tend to think of gossip as one of those little sins, a misdemeanor sin. But when God talks about gossip, He puts it on a list with things like sexual immorality and murder.
Why? Because it is incredibly destructive to relationships.
What is gossip? Gossip is talking about a situation with somebody who is neither a part of the solution nor a part of the problem. And if we’re honest with ourselves, what we’re doing is making ourselves feel a little more important at somebody else’s expense. We’re talking about their hurts and their problems, but in a way that makes us feel a little bit superior to them. That’s the danger and the hurt of gossip.
There’s a story in the Old Testament about a family that struggled with gossip. Moses had a sister name Miriam who one day got caught up in gossiping about Moses amidst the rest of the people. God called them together – Moses and Miriam. He spoke with Miriam and told her what she’d done wrong and immediately He gave her leprosy.
But look at what God did next; he invited Moses to pray for Miriam’s healing – to pray for the one who gossiped against him.
Some of you have been deeply hurt by gossip. The story of Moses and Miriam suggests God would say to you, “Pray for that person’s healing, the one who gossiped against you. That way you can be released from the hurt that’s come into your life.”
Perhaps you’re the one whose been gossiping. You’ve been the one talking about other people. This story is in the Old Testament to remind us how serious gossip is, how hurtful it can be to people no matter what side of the situation you’re on.
The truth is, when you keep confidences it makes your relationships healthier. It enables you to keep connecting with others in positive and genuine way.
What is so interesting to me is that Islam has the same prohibitions against gossip, called back-biting, and puts a high level of prohibition against it. The prophet Mohammed warned against it repeatedly.
I love it that Rick Warren puts it into context by warning that it destroys relationships.
There is a woman in Pensacola who has studied how to photograph babies. The photos she did of our grandbaby made tears come to my eyes:
She takes wonderful, joyous photographs of babies and families. She welcomes your visits and comments to her blog:
Wishing all my Kuwait friends all the blessings of liberty, and independence.
I always remember February in Kuwait as being one of the nicest months of the year – so how is it this year? My friends in Doha tell me they are having a heat wave!
You know me and water. I love the sun coming up over water. I love the sun going down over water.
On the Bayou, when the sun starts going down, the air gets all pink. I can’t even capture it with the camera. I see it, but the camera does not see it.
It has to do with a magical quality of light; I will probably be trying to capture it to my dying day.
Sometimes when my daughter in law is nursing, she gets very hungry. So while she is feeding the baby, I spoon or fork-feed her. It is a wonderful time for me, to be able to nurture and nourish this dear woman who loves our son and bears and nurtures his child. This morning, it was Pain Perdu with little slices of cantaloupe. (I had to look up ‘cantaloupe’ twice. I had no idea spelling cantaloupe was so difficult!)
Thanks, Mom. Bread and Eggs was a big hit. (I also notice that the majority of entries under Pain Perdu look more like what we call French Toast than bread and eggs.)
When I was little, we always loved it when our Dad went away on a trip because he hated eggs, and when he left, Mom would make Bread and Eggs, something they used to make in her family to use up bread which may have gone stale and hard.
It is delicious, but you would not want to eat it often. You start by melting butter – I used about half a stick of butter – and sautéing small bread cubes at a moderately high temperature. Throw in some fresh chopped parsley, or cilantro, keep stirring until the bread cubes are browned. It will smell delicious!
Meanwhile, mix four eggs with a little non-fat half and half, and when the cubes are browned, turn down the heat to moderately low and pour in the eggs. Let them cook for a good minute before you stir things around, and I even use a pancake flipper to flip entire portions while the top is still liquid, so the bread cubes get entirely encased.
Serve when fully cooked.
When we were planning this trip, it all sounded so simple . . . greet the grandbaby, buy a house, quick, fly to Seattle, fly back to Pensacola, kiss the grandbaby and fly to Doha to pack.
Not quite the way it turned out. When we got here, the grandbaby was 11 days overdue. We got to be here for the birth. While our son and his wife labored, we went out with the world’s most wonderful real estate lady and actually, we did find a house.
Three years ago, we found a house. When I talked with the mortgage people, I said “We just finished paying off a mortgage with you; isn’t there some kind of short-cut you could do with me?” and they did something called “fast track” with me, and it was so easy I can’t even remember the paperwork; I think I filled it out on my computer – online – and that was it. My son handled the closing. It was so easy.
Things have really changed. This will be our third mortgage with the same company, but you would think we are potential deadbeats. We have high credit scores, an impeccable payment record – I would think they would want to have us as customers! It’s like pulling teeth. Papers don’t get to us. Additional verifications are required. Appraisers actually enter the house and verify square footage.
Between chasing paper and soothing the newborn, my life has been very full. It doesn’t sound very exciting, when I tell you about it, but here is the truth – I know I am exactly where I am supposed to be right now. It’s an amazing feeling.
Today, I spent a lot of time with the baby. At some point, I realized I wasn’t going to make it to Seattle this trip, and it’s OK. I can go to Seattle later. For right now, I have enough on my plate.
I had forgotten, too, how chaotic life with a newborn can be. His needs take precedence, and sometimes we all run around trying to guess what those needs might be, simple as they are . . . clean diaper? swaddling / soothing to sleep? Mother’s milk? Today was a really good day, where he took the diaper changes with grace, dropped right off to sleep after every meal, and was keenly alert for maybe a half hour after feeding before napping. He loves patterns and fabrics. I am having SO MUCH FUN!
A part of our life is ending, the nomadic part. AdventureMan and I have had a lot of fun, once our son got through college and law school, we were on our own again, living in Europe, living in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar – we have had a great adventure. We travelled to Botswana, Namibia, Zambia (several times), South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania and spent a wonderful week on Mnemba Island off the coast of Zanzibar. We have wonderful friends, mostly from churches and interest groups. I would think, knowing us, that we would be sad leaving all this, but instead, we are racing toward our new future, being more settled, being near our son and his family, and his wife’s great big family.
For one thing, the world has changed. With e-mail and VOIP phones and people who jump on a plane at the drop of a hat, we expect to stay in touch with those we love and treasure. We expect they will come see us. It’s kind of fun settling in a place with white sandy beaches that everyone wants to come visit. Cooler than Kuwait and Qatar in the summer time, too! Nice warm winters, well, not this winter, brrrrrrrrrrrr!
Thought you might want to see a photo of my little darling grandson: