My Hope is Built

Sometimes I wake up really hopeful about the upcoming day. I lay there in the quiet darkness, those few moments after the alarm goes off and think about all that I know I will accomplish today. Like today, for example. I have never been so excited to paint. I used to think I hated painting but that was before I became a painter. It is my identity now. I do it for a living. Or for life, anyway. Plus, I learned the secret to using quality brushes instead of stupid blue tape and it has changed my life for the better. Plus, I picked colors that I am really excited about and I can’t wait to get them on the walls. Plus, I have been extremely diligent this week about getting done all of those million things that really need to be done so that I can feel good about spending the day painting.

And now here I am, on this Friday, the last day of this week. The half hour or so after I got up tried hard to dash all of my waking hopefulness against the rocks, but my hope is not easily dashed. I signed report cards, talked about what I was signing (quite a feat in itself – talking before eight a.m.), made a protein shake for the daughter who has realized that milk hurts her stomach too much to have cereal for breakfast, explained to same daughter that I can’t get chocolate stains out of a shirt that has been sitting for two weeks and wash it and dry it in the twenty minutes we have left before school starts, all the while being serenaded on the recorder by other daughter, while she experiments humming the same notes she’s playing (which drives Togo crazy), reassured still yet other daughter that it probably won’t rain on their field trip today even though the sky is totally black and the trees are whipping around (just wear your hat and remember to get your inhaler from the nurse, honey) and watched those women in prairie dresses on the news crying about their babies being taken from them.

And now, they’re gone. The textured wall calls. Just one thing left to do before I begin – and it is an enjoyable thing. Must finish editing pictures of Mr. Fatty Fat Cheeks. I love him so much. Soon he’ll have report cards to sign and clothes he wants to wear for school, and recorders he’ll play loudly while people are trying to talk and field trips to go on in his “College-bound” t-shirt, but for now he just does stuff like this:


and this:


Oh yeah, and his brother’s kind of cute too:


Texting 101

(As taught by Professor Linebarger)

No, not the cell phone kind. The kind that applies texture over the top of primer over the top of blue-flowered wallpaper.

1. Go to your local Lowe’s and walk up and down the paint aisles, avoiding eye contact with anyone who works there in case they might try to help you. Haphazardly grab things that look they might make texting funner because fun is the ultimate goal here. Fun looking, odd-shaped sponges, tools that look like they should be in the gardening section (you’ve always wanted to be a gardener), the biggest container of smooth texture you can find (because smooth just sounds like more fun than sand or rough – you can move and you can groove when you’re applying something smooth).

2. Go home and get the tallest ladder out of the back yard because those are some seriously high vaulted ceilings in there. Place the ladder with one leg a little out of whack with the rest so that when you climb to the top, with the heavy container of texture on your head, the ladder will wobble precariously. Wobbling is always fun.

3. Apply texture with fun-looking sponges. Remember, texture is very goopy. It will fly everywhere as you’re rolling. The best thing to do here is remember to act goofy, since it is only one letter off from goopy. Do things like balancing on one leg at the top of the ladder so you can reach that almost-out-of-reach spot. Hang on to the ceiling to balance yourself, but occasionally let go just to see what it feels like.

4. Take that gardening tool thingy and put it flat against the wet, newly textured walls. Then have fun going swish, swoosh, swash. First one way and then another. If it helps to think of a ballerina, then I suggest you do just that. Voila! When you’re done with all the swishing, your walls will look just like the walls at Olive Garden.

5. Last and most definitely not least: Totally ignore those big capital letters on the back of the texture can that say “DO NOT USE OVER WALLPAPER.” Just tell yourself that people who write on the back of texture cans don’t know squat. And even if they did, you wouldn’t listen to them because you are really, really stubborn.

Some people call you stubbornado.

Which rhymes with turbinado.

Which is the kind of sugar that you used to like to put in your coffee every day, along with its friend, cream.

But now you just drink your coffee black.

Oh, how your life is changing. First the switch to black coffee, now the blue-flowered wallpaper has disappeared out of your life forever.

What’s next, I wonder?

All the Excitingness This World Can Handle

Welcome to the world’s most boring blog. The author of the blog is not boring, just the blog itself. The blog just sits here, day after day. The author of the blog is so busy, she can’t find time or words or thoughts to blog. Busyness could be called boringness to some people. One’s person’s treasure is another person’s trash and all that. But at the risk of being boring, the author herself is going to make a rare appearance here and let you know what she’s doing.

Ta Tum!

Here I am now. It’s me.

Yesterday I bought material for my kitchen curtains, shared lunch at Chipotle with a friend, wrote some emails, played Scramble, Scrabulous and Texas Hold’ em on Facebook, did some work for the mission, went to the grocery store, returned Grace’s shoes that didn’t fit, made shepherd’s pie for dinner, washed, dried, folded and put away seven loads of laundry, filled in holes in the living room walls with putty, provided emotional support to an overworked, overschooled, overchurched man who didn’t know how he was going to finish his paper by midnight (Here’s how I provided that support: “You can do it, honey! I know you can!”), wed, fed and watered the lawn, laughed hysterically with my sissie-in-law on the phone and was in bed by ten out of sheer exhaustion. Oh yeah, somewhere in there I talked to my kids too and ran them to school and home and got them to do chores, homework and play. And actually succeeded at getting them to come in for dinner and get ready for bed. Success is all relative these days.

Today I am going to do the most exciting thing I have ever done. It involves one of my favorite verbs.

Are you ready?

I am going to primer the blue-flowered wallpaper in the living room. This is not a joke. I’m in my paint clothes even now. I know, I’ve been stringing you all along for years now and I know you’ve all been sitting on the edges of your seat, putting your lives on hold while you wait, not even allowing yourselves to breathe fully until this task is accomplished. Today, the accomplishing shall happen. Today, we put all other things aside. Today, we primer.

I know some of you have become emotionally attached to that wallpaper (ahem….Wilmar) so consider this fair warning. Yes, we know lots of beautiful things have happened in front of that wallpaper: Thanksgiving dinners, birthday celebrations, farewell parties and hello showers, musical performances, pillow fights, dances, lots and lots of LNDs *,Settlers, Puerto Rico and Poker games. Once there was even a royal flush in front of that wallpaper. But I’m here to tell you people, it wasn’t the wallpaper. Even after it’s primered and textured and painted, these things will still go on. We don’t know what color these things will go on in front of, which I will admit is kind of weird. But they will go on. Most people choose colors before they paint. But this person’s been trying to choose a color for four years now and just can’t so she’s decided to move right along anyway. Eventually a color will be chosen. Then we’ll invite you over for one of the above-mentioned activities so you can see it.




(*Late Night Discussions)

A Graceful Day

My baby turned eight today. Heart, don’t fail me now. An eight-year-old birthday at the mall with the Linebargers goes something like this: Drive to the mall. Giggle the whole way. While walking from the car to the mall, bump hips with one another and giggle. Go to the Build-A-Bear Workshop. Watch Grace pick a bear, pick a heart, put part of her own heart into the bear’s heart, and stitch it up tightly. Feel yet another part of my own heart go flying into that of my little girl’s as she sincerely and tenderly gives everything she has for the moment to the bear-building process. Wonder just how many parts of a heart a mom can give up before her heart is no longer self-sustaining. Go upstairs with Grandma and Grandpa and order ice cream, making sure to stop at every stoppable place along the way to dance, sing, pose like statues and giggle. Stay completely unaware that anybody else is in the mall other than us. Eat ice cream in the outside courtyard with the sun beating down on us and sweat while Grace opens presents. While leaving the mall, put arms around one another’s shoulders and sing “We are the champions, my friends…..” loudly and with wide, sweeping arm movements. Be thankful for every moment. Every fleeting moment. Because the next day will likely find more than half the family coughing their brains out, with fevers and strep throat. It sure is a life, isn’t it? Oh, my heart.