Monthly Archives: June 2013

The Only Way to Look is Up

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Recent discovery: the only way to look is up.  Apparently.

Busy times, folks.  Moving is hard work.  At least three times harder than I remember from our last move.  Of course, then we only had two little girls and our life fit inside a two-bedroom apartment.  Apparently we are goldfish, and we grow to accommodate our space… or grossly exceed it, actually.  The main moving day was quite a sight.  Many hands make light work, and those of you who helped us that day were swift and steady, my friends.  But then came the work of unpacking, a job which I feel will be in progress for months to come… and figuring out where things should go- an art at which I am terrible. I still think the piano needs to be on a different wall… maybe… yes… no… I dunno…

Poor Jeff.

I haven’t even begun to hang pictures, and honestly, I really only know where three of them are anyways… We currently have zero curtain rods and I think only ONE set of curtains we had in the old house will work in this house.  People, I don’t even know how many windows we have in this house – maybe we’ll have them all dressed by the time we get the mortgage paid off.

To tell you the truth, these things have been the least of my concerns.

Of greater concern:

We spent the first three weeks in our new home with no hot water.  A first-world problem for sure, but hey – trust me, you want the Hazleton clan to bathe.  And to spare all of you who know us in person, we did make ourselves at home in a few friends’ showers at least twice a week.  For all our other hot water needs – a huge pot found a semi permanent place on our new stovetop.  Getting this issue resolved was no small feat.  Suffice it to say I spent hours on the phone each day for about two weeks.

That literally sapped every bit of my mental and physical energy most days.  (Some of you know how I feel about the phone.)

Exactly one week after we had the hot water heater replaced, the upstairs AC unit quit cooling, and when the temperature upstairs was over 80 degrees at 10pm, I gave up squirting my sweating kids with a water spray bottle and we moved everyone downstairs to sleep on the floor in the guest room.  Two days later, it was repaired, and two days after that it was out again.  And now it’s fixed.  Again.  Our AC guy is super nice, but for all our sakes, I hope we don’t see that tall, bearded man again – at least not under these circumstances.

All our mattresses are still on the floor.  Just- don’t ask.  It’s too complicated.

We went a few weeks with too few clothing rods in closets, so most of our clothes were in stacks in big moving boxes and on the floor and draped over chairs.  Okay, maybe most of them are still that way.  Getting ready for church on Sundays is awesome.  Except, not.

A few days after Jeff installed new closet rods, one of our children – who shall remain nameless and wears cute glasses –  pulled an entire rod full of clothes down on herself.  {I may or may not have a memory of doing the same exact thing at her age when I was pretending to be Mary Lou Retton on the uneven bars. But let’s keep that between us, shall we?}

We don’t have a pantry.

Let me re-state that: We don’t have a pantry! And one side of our kitchen has no cabinets or counters – nothing. Blank wall.  (Where we have temporarily pulled in a big, heavy work table). To make matters even trickier, there are only two upper cabinets on the other side of the kitchen, and they are so high up I can only reach the second shelf, even if I’m standing on a step ladder.  You other cabinets way up there above the sink, you’re useless. You’re dead to me.  In fact, there could be a dead body hidden up there and I’d never know.  I mean, sure, if we bring in the 8-foot ladder I can stash a thousand rolls of paper towels if I ever find them for like 4 cents a roll or something – but otherwise?  Useless.  So I’ve really had to improvise and get creative with very limited cabinet and countertop and zero pantry – cooking for a family of eight.  Yeah.

Carson pulled a dresser down – crashed completely to the floor – when he was trying to get clean socks.  And miraculously it did not fall on him or anyone else.  Disclaimer: He is now not allowed to touch the dresser until it gets secured to the wall.

We found out how fast Olivia can climb the stairs.

We found out how easily Carson can climb the outside of the stair rail.

Amidst the chaos, we’re getting to know our new home and all its quirks.  I now know, for instance, which doors in the house have the old glass doorknobs, and which ones have been replaced with newer hardware… I know which doors stick and which ones don’t latch just right… I know that the third stair from the bottom creaks when I’m trying to carry a sleeping toddler up to bed… or quietly walk up to catch who’s being naughty at bedtime.

What? You thought my kids weren’t naughty?  I fall on the floor laughing.

I recognize the noises of the ice maker and no longer think someone is trying to break in the back door.  Not that I freaked out or anything.  Moving on.

I notice the low, barely audible hum when one of the really big boats is coming through the channel and I can tell all the kids to watch out the window.  Truly, I don’t think seeing the boats go by will ever get old.

Our new home is an awesome blessing, make no mistake.  But ya’ll I am ready to be settled.  This mama is tiiiiired.  There is still so much to do and my brain just can’t compute.  It’s on summer vacay.  I look around and don’t know where to even begin.  So I let the kids dig in boxes and find treasures… let Olivia sit on the floor and entertain herself by tearing up newspaper… I stand in the middle of the kitchen and stare into nothing  while I dive into a bag of chocolate chips… until three of the kids hear me crinkle the bag, and in 2 milliseconds their little noses are all up in my business.

There have been days when I’ve thought: Really?  Can’t this one go easy?  When life is in an unsettled season and  so many inconvenient things add up, even the smallest task becomes wearisome.  I seriously was just complaining – out loud – two days ago when I was peeling a dozen eggs at the sink… and peeling boiled eggs is like the lottery, you know?  Sometimes they peel so easily you want to sing Zipity Do Da… “there’s a blue bird on my shoulder…”  But this time every single egg was stubborn and the shell stuck to the egg and came off only in little tiny sharp bits… and then you have peeled a whole dozen stinking eggs and what you end up with is a mass of egg carnage in the sink and a bunch of mangled-looking reject eggs in the bowl.  Good thing I was making egg salad instead of pretty little deviled eggs.  And yes, I’ve tried the trick about putting baking soda in the water – twice – and it didn’t work, people!

Apparently, you can’t believe everything you see on Pinterest.

{And while I’m on that subject, you people who are pinning Christmas ideas right now?  It’s June!  You are wearing me out. Settle down – you know who you are!}

And it’s while I’m standing there, chained to those stubborn boiled eggs, that I think about the one thing about this house that I noticed first of all.  The one thing that I didn’t like from the beginning – the feature that made me write off this house for half a year before I even considered looking at it – was this: Except for the ones in the dining room and living room – all the other windows in our home are high up on the wall.  I stood there at the sink, muttering my complaints and looked up out the window – all I can see out most of the windows in my house is the sky, the clouds, the treetops.

Looking Up3

In This House

I want to look out and see my territory, my surroundings, my people.  But the only way to look is up. And in looking up I cannot be distracted, I can only see the Heavens.  And in only looking at the Heavens, I cannot see what surrounds me.

I cannot see what surrounds me.

The one feature of our home that I would have changed is changing my perspective. 

And for the first time in my life, I have a real, tangible idea of what it feels like to “keep your eyes on things above.”

And I make egg salad sandwiches for supper while the AC repairman carries his ladder back out to his van.  I walk on the dining room floor that’s only three-fourths of the way completed – carrying the tray of sandwiches – and sit down at the table with my family.  We eat our simple meal. We munch on little golden tomatoes and chunks of pineapple.  The kids – completely unaware of my wrestling with the eggs – gobble down the sandwiches.  The boats go by and in the midst of this chaotic season, we sit in a peaceful moment.

For now we can’t see all the things that clutter and clang for our attention.  For now, if only for a moment – I can grasp it.  That the only way to look is up.

“I will lift up my eyes to the hills… where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of Heaven and earth.”
Psalm 121:1