Monday, July 16, 2012

Long Story Is Not Short

Gack! I've been trying all weekend to find the right time to sit down and finally blog annnnd now I'm all fuzzy on the details of what I wanted to relate.
But here goes.

Saturday was a whirlwind of awesome. The hubby and I got up early (ahem, like 8:30) and headed over to Half-Off Saturday at Goodwill. Niftily enough, they just opened a new one seriously no more than a minute drive away from our house. It's maybe 20 yards on University and then BAM. You're there. Sweeeeet.
We walk in and suddenly Mark looks at me with a blank look in his eyes and asks,
"Wait....what are we even here for? What do we need to buy?"
Simply, I wanted Christmas things. I was stupid and didn't go around after the jolly season when I was engaged and knew we'd be needing things the next year in our newlywed poverty. Buuuut I was lazy. I guess. Or something.
So we dug through the grand total of about 8 shelves that had red and green tinted items on them and as I about knocked over a stocking-weight Santa figurine I noticed a hanging sign that said,
"Seasonal item do not count toward Sales or Discounts."

Well, boo on you, Goodwill. Frowny face stamp on your forehead, then. So we put back some of the sillier items that we could live without because in my mind, there's still no cheaper place I'm going to be getting Christmas decorations and novelty items from. We ended up with a very charming potted fake plant arrangement thing....oh, bah. Here's a picture.

2, 3-piece sets of tea candles in little red and gold-tinted glasses.
One snowman cookie platter and another super fancy platter that I don't know what I'll use it for but it'll be super fancy.
Some red disco-ish ornament balls.
A snowflakey tree topper.
Looots of cookie cutters (yaaaay!)
And, my favorite, a mega-cute reindeer flour jar but I'll just use it for packs of hot cocoa powder.

Ironically enough, only the reindeer was actually marked as seasonal so all the other things we got were still half-off. No complaints here! If you have any name suggestions for our little fellah, I'm all ears :)
We wandered around through the furniture section and laughed at the tiny, toddler size motor-bike. I don't think it actually had a motor, but it just looked like one. Mark wanted to look for any DVD's that could be salvaged but unfortunately for him those are also located with the books and I got stuck scrupulously digging through every shelf to see what treasures were in store. It takes forever, considering that Goodwill's organizational process isn't exactly library standard. But we ended up with 12 more books on top of what I got at Half-Price Books from my last post and YES, I'm gonna let you all in one what our personal library has gained...
Some classics such as The Inferno by Dante Alighieri and The Jungle Books by Rudyard Kipling ("complete and unabridged" apparently, so woohoo to that!) as well as an "Anthology of American Stories". Including but not limited to, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Edgar Allan Poe (really excited about those), Mark Twain, Jack London, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, and J.D. Salinger. Quite a few Mary Higgens Clark considering I've loved her mystery novels since I began scarfing them down in junior high to ease and abate my social ineptitude; We'll Meet Again, Remember Me, Two Little Girls in Blue, and Silent Night. Mark's obsession with all things Oriental won over and he put in his addition to the growing literary pile; The Oriental World, covering India, China, Korea and Japan from earliest manifestations of art more than 3-thousand years ago up to the 20th century. It's a big book and has lots of pictures (228, to be exact). And Finally, after I scoured the same shelves Mark had just been over I found a cluster of Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events books and snatched them up real quick. I've been keeping a desperate eye out for them and am glad to now own numbers 6, 7, 11 and 12. 
PS, I just really love books.

Our entire purchase was around $30. 
We then took a couple coupons on down to Arby's and ate fast food again for the first time in about a month and a half. But we were in a hurry because I had another funeral to drag my harp to and unbeknownst to me at the time (a little after 11) the church was out on Arizona Ave and Ray and it would take almost half and hour to drive there. 
So we took the food home and I gulped it down, stripping off my clothes to get into the shower faster. Once I was clean (heck yeah 5 minute shower) and Mark had cleared out the back of the truck to make room for the harp, we went in to begin packing up said harp and lo and behold two strings were popped clean off. 
Which is no bueno, btw.
We stared at it for a minute and then I shrugged,
"Well, I guess I'd better call and let them know I'll be playing piano instead."
I would have felt really bad if I was actually getting paid for the event.
It's not that broken strings on a harp is so much of a travesty that I could not play it, there just wasn't time to fix it. When you understand the mechanics of a harp, it's a wonder that the soundboards can even withstand as much tension as 40 wound and tight strings puts on it. And when one, let alone two, pop it's very stressful on the wood as well as the other strings around it because that tension has now been lost. So the tuning goes very awry when you have strings break.
Stupid monsoon season. Not to mention our swamp cooler and the humidity that creates can't be too great for it either. Whoops.
So that eased up my time crunch quite a bit and I had plenty of time to semi blow-dry my hair and straighten my unruly bangs into place and actually put on make-up! Unheard of.

So eventually, I got in the truck (because after my previous flustered state there was no way my nerves could handle driving stick. See any of the "sticks and shifts" series). I headed out with GPS leading the way and made decent time. I was worried about getting in enough prelude music and hoping that the family of the deceased would not harbor any ill-will against my not getting there early enough.
I got to where my phone led me and there were about 5 different buildings scattered about a very large lot and they all looked the same and there weren't signs or people to help me decide where to try. So I wandered. And luckily, the second building I tried was the correct one. I got in and......they were playing Fleetwood Mac and The Beatles as prelude music. Turns out I wasn't actually needed for that. Huh.
The funeral was lovely and the urn was one of the least creepy I've seen. Although there was a small window looking thing that bewildered me but I never got close enough to really inspect it.
In the end, the only musical responsibility I had was to accompany the duet singers. I left wondering what they had ever had in mind for me to play on the harp and feeling quite glad that the strings had snapped, giving me the exact excuse I needed to not have to bring it. 

I got home a little after 2 and all Mark and I had left to do was wait till 5 when it would be our ward's monthly Temple Night. I was super stoked about this because I've gone to a couple myself but this was the first that would allow for Mark to attend with me as well. It would have been the first time we'd been back together since we got sealed. Would have been...
We watched a couple HIMYM episodes and then turned once again with begrudging moans to the book we're trying desperately to finish. I'll have to dedicate a whole 'nother post to that. I was reading aloud, trying to not smirk and giggle at the cheesily written drab drivel when from the backyard we could hear many pelting "ting!"s and splattering drops of rain. I paused and said to Mark,
"I guess it's finally storming."
And we jumped out of bed like Christmas had come early and sprang to the curtained sliding door.
We looked out and were shocked to see hailstones the size of gobstoppers pummeling down on all the junk that litters our backyard. With that kind of hail though, there were things that needed to be put away and suddenly our house was a warzone; mankind vs. mother nature. 
Mark went dashing outside to pull the vehicles into the carport and when he came back, a total of maybe 8 seconds spent under the actual rain it looked as if he'd been washed over by a tidal wave. He came in the door cursing the painful hailstones and teasing me,
"Honey! Come give me a huuug!" dripping arms outstretched.
But I was busy blocking the hole in the southern wall of our house. The AC unit was broke so we removed it to get it fixed but nobody ever got around to it so we blocked it with cardboard. That didn't stand up so well to the sleeting rain and gusts of wind. I was also still in my sunday clothing from the funeral so straddling the couch armchair and holding up a now soggy, heavy towel was getting very difficult and I yelled for his help. There weren't too many other options so Mark just grabbed the empty garbage can from under his desk and handed it to me to make a more sturdy support for the crumbling cardboard. Using grocery bags I stuffed the remaining open slits around the box and can and it worked well enough. 
I then changed out of my skirt into b-ball shorts and went out back to help Mark. As I came outside, over the pounding, roaring storm I could hear Mark's utterly bewildered cries of,
"What the beep?!, what the heck??!"
Worried something was wrong I skipped as quickly as I could through the river of mud flowing through our back yard, in and around the cars and appliances that littered the small area. I came around the back corner of our apartment and stopped midstride at the sight of a large metal ladder stretching from the wall surrounding our yard to the wall of our house.....about 10 feet up in the air. We still have NO clue where that ladder started from or how it managed to get there. Already I was soaked through to the skin and we needed to get back to the driveway again to check on things up there. I suggested we just change into swimming suits.
It was a good idea.
We went up front where Mark's brother, Robert, was fixing things up and tying stuff down and making sure fences were fortified. We stood around and marveled at the river that was the road out in front of the triplex and scoffed at the little cars that tried so hard to wade through the mucky, stick-ridden waters. Without warning an intense gust of wind raged through and blew away recycling cans out into the road. Never had I witnessed the rumored "horizontal rain" but the sight was indeed something else. It looked more like swirling mist in fast forward than rain. 
Mark took off at a jog heading once again for the backyard to make sure nothing was going to fly around and break our windows. I had a small relapse from when I was a child and absolutely, terrifyingly phobic of wind. I leaned against the wall, preparing myself to dart around the corner into the onslaught of rain and felt my heart wish to beat a panicked rhythm but shoved it down because I'd been long over that fear and forced myself to revel in the excitement rather than the frightening concept of weather's complete power.
Walking against the storm was really difficult! The wind pushed against you and the rain struck your face in tiny pinpricks, running down into your eyes until it was more like walking along the bottom of a pool rather than along your own sidewalk. Luckily the hail was gone, though. 
Once there were no more possible flying objects of mass destruction and all the electronics were powered down we stood out in the rain and decided we should get in the truck and go on an adventure.
It was quite wonderful.
The retention basins were more like a series of ponds and we honestly swam through them, water up to Mark's chest at times. That's like, 3-4 feet. 

Unfortunately, the rainstorm also meant no Temple Night for us. It was quite a let down to realize that, but I got over it pretty quick playing in the mud.
When we got home we washed off the dirt and leaves and sticks and bugs that had been coursing through the water we played in. It felt very nice to be clean again.
I then made chowder and biscuits for dinner and we watched some more HIMYM. We prepared to read some more and I started making hot cocoa and Mark was acting suspicious. He wouldn't let me go in the bedroom and actually shut the door on me.
When I came in with the cocoa in hand, matching Disney mugs from when I worked in the parks (when I say matching, they're not the same mug but they're both Disney and they were a Christmas present from me to him last year) I was met with candles set up all over the room and the sweet smell of fresh rainfall through the door. It was really a very sweet gesture for him to try and surprise me like that and so we read by candlelight with our hot cocoa and listening to the rain.

It was a saturday full of surprises and moments that couldn't be planned and a simple happiness that makes me so very grateful for the life I have and the best friend I get to share it all with.

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