Monday, April 20, 2009

Co-habitation Adjustments, Part 1: “The Towels”

It has been a really hectic couple of weeks for me!
After working 30 years for the Great State of North Carolina, I have retired! My last day teaching school was April 9 – the day before Spring Break. All last week still felt like I was on break, but this morning – for the first time since 1978 – I am NOT up and out the door headed for work!

As if retiring wasn’t enough of a “lifestyle change” for me – I’ve also been in the process of moving in with David.
We’ve had a “commuter marriage” for the past two years, only sharing weekends together as I finished my 30-year hitch. He bought a neat home a few years back that we’ve been working on. Well, to be honest, HE has worked on it. I’ve thrown in some ideas here & there, but he’s done most of the work. When he bought the place, it was in foreclosure. Vandals had broken out several windows; there were some “remodeling” projects that had been stopped mid-way, leaving huge holes cut in walls. David has done a lot of work in the yard; he had the place re-wired, and replaced all the windows. The gashes in the walls have been mended, and most of the rooms sport a fresh coat of paint. (One exception: the Sponge Bob room – the smallest bedroom still has a giant Sponge Bob painted on the wall!) The house is still a “work in progress” but it is fun to plan and share in the fixing-up process! All the place needed was a little love and care -- it is turning into such a terrific home!

So, once I wrapped things up with work, we began the process of moving my belongings into David’s house. Knowing that I am a bit sentimental, David installed a stairway to the attic so that we’d have more storage space. At this point, most of my things are here, though we still need to haul a bit more of my furniture here. I’ve been cleaning out the lovely home I’ve rented one room at the time, packing my things in big plastic tubs for the move to South Carolina.

We’ve both been sorting through things, tossing out some stuff, and we had a good yard sale this past Saturday. We have two of a lot of things, like microwaves, cookware, vacuum cleaners – you get the picture! So we choose which we want to keep, and put the other in the sale stash! All of our proceeds are being donated to the kids at Jerusalem Gates Academy in Ghana – so far we netted enough to “adopt” 4 kids! (Want to know more about how YOU can help? Check out our website: www.weministry.com)

So at last, we are co-habitating on a long-term basis. Now up to this point we’ve sort of been “guests” in each other’s homes and we’ve realized that actually living together would take some adjustments. So we are trying really hard to cut each other some slack, and laugh at some things (rather than get all torqued off at one another). We are both giving a little and taking a little – and that way our adjustments don’t get ruined by anger. A great deal of my belongings are still in tubs as we sort of figure out how to merge them in with David’s things. I'm sure it helps that we both are fairly easy-going folks who prefer harmony to stress!

Among the items we brought with us last week were my bath towels. Now I’m a big, fluffy girl and I like my big, fluffy bath towels! Towels that have become thin enough to read the newspaper through become dustrags at my house! AND I like colors! The bathroom at my previous home was very colorful, with a beach/tropical look – and I have sets of towels in pink, lavender, deep red, blue. As I sorted before packing, I’d already tagged the “single” towels for the yard sale stash, but I brought my big fluffy sets to use here! So there sat my laundry basket, full of towels. I thought, “Well, that should be one easy chore. I’ll just add my towels to the ones on his bathroom shelf.” And I proceeded to do just that, folding them and stacking them neatly, sorted by color. I stepped back and admired my handiwork. Ahhhh!!! Beautiful! Satisfied with my efforts, I busied myself in another room.

Now I dont think David would mind if I share a little something about him. After 8 years in the USMC, and then several years living on his own, there are some things that he is just a bit particular about. Perhaps he’s a bit OCD – but he just likes everything in its place, turned the right direction. Order and discipline if you get my drift! So a little while after I’d put my towels on the shelf, he ventured into the bathroom. He emerged a few moments later, laughing a bit nervously. He had definitely noticed the addition of my brightly colored towels with his yellow and white ones. And he appreciated that they were sorted by color. BUT they were not all turned the same way. He related to me that he stared at them for a moment, then told himself, “Look AWAY, David!!! Just look AWAY before it drives you nuts!”

Ahhh the adventures of a free spirit!

We both laughed a bit – but later I slipped into the bathroom and re-stacked the towels, very carefully making sure they were all turned the same way. What did it cost me? Maybe 10 minutes of time. I left him a little love note, too. ;) He smiled, later when he noticed I’d made the effort. And I have to admit – they do look better, all turned the same way!

So, we laugh at our attempts to understand/tolerate/accept/appreciate/reciprocate each other. And we realize that it is all part of learning to live together. We are so grateful for the fact that God has given us to each other as partners for The Journey, we can overlook the small things. Like towels that don’t exactly “match” or are turned the wrong way.

May your day be blessed with people who can overlook your “differences.” May you learn to be a bit more tolerant of people who enter your world. May we all learn to “coexist” on this planet in harmony and peace. And who knows, we might all just learn a little something from one another!
That’s a Silver Lining, for sure!

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