You know the old saying, “You never appreciate what you have until it’s gone?” Well, I got a little taste this week, when my washing machine broke. Now I will admit that doing laundry is right up there on my list of the ten most things I hate to do. So I try to remind myself every time I am faced with an avalanche of dirty clothes to wash that I am blessed to have a washer and dryer instead of a flat rock in the river.
I was proud of myself for piling everything into the washer the evening before and setting the timer for the washer to come on in the middle of the night when the rates drop for electricity use. Good steward and all that. The next morning, when I went to transfer items to the dryer, I was dismayed to find everything sopping wet and full of soap. I did the only reasonable thing I could – I told my husband. Being a man, he took things apart, which released a flood of dirty water all over the laundry room. (Not once, but twice!) Now every towel we owned was pressed into service. After cleaning out a ton of sand from the drain hose, along with a few Legos and two nails, we were optimistic that we had solved the problem. Alas, no such luck.
So, off we schlepped to the laundromat with baskets full of wet items. I was feeling quite annoyed at being so inconvenienced until I reminded myself I was blessed to have a laundromat within a few miles of my house. An hour and a half and eleven dollars in quarters later, we returned with clean, dry clothes – then we realized we had forgotten to empty the clothes from the washing machine and had only managed to grab all the soggy towels and a few things out of the hamper.
Meanwhile, my husband called a real repairman, who came out the next day (bless him) and pronounced that our pump (also full of Legos) had gone bad. Unfortunately, we have to wait for parts until our washer (still sitting full of wet clothes) can be fixed.
I am once again reminded of how much we take things for granted. Never again will I complain about doing laundry as I stuff clothes into my EC extra large capacity Kenmore washing machine. (Okay, that’s probably not true. I’ll most likely still complain.) But it sure beats the laundromat and the flat rock in the river. And the good news is that I can’t do laundry this weekend!
We just finished up with another week of Vacation Bible School (VBS) at Rosemont Baptist Church. VBS is one of our biggest outreach ministries and in bringing in both children and adults from the surrounding areas, we hope to plant the seeds of the Gospel that will someday bear fruit for God’s Kingdom in the form of their decision to accept Jesus as their Savior. VBS is a vitally important church activity and I wholeheartedly support it.
That being said, however, I must admit that where VBS is concerned, I am a big toe in the body of Christ attempting to function as a nose. I just don’t “smell” right. (Square peg in round hole.) Being a preschool teacher has never been in the top 5 of my spiritual gifts (or in the top fifty, for that matter). Nor has coming up with decorating ideas to fit the “theme” of every year’s VBS. And while I’m off the subject, I want to point out that I managed to make it through VBS in the dark ages without “themes,” decorations, music videos, and with cheap, store-bought cookies and kool-aid for snacks. Never-the-less, I want to be a team player, so I dutifully study the lessons, arrange activities to attempt to occupy preschoolers for more than five minutes (which inevitably involve thirty minutes of planning for each and $20.00 to prepare for), and reconcile myself to the fact that every night from 6:00-8:30, I will be surrounded by little people picking their noses, spilling their drinks, squabbling over which chair to sit in, and having to go “potty.” This is after finishing a full day at work, praying I will get out of there by five, rushing to get from Fort Walton to home, letting my poor dogs out who don’t understand why I am leaving them again when I just got home, scarfing down something to eat in the hopefully five minutes I have left, and making it to church before six. But even though I’m old, I can do anything for one week, knowing there is an end in sight. “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” (Phillipians 4:13).
So, it was with a sense of relief when Saturday finally rolled around, and I sat down to leisurely peruse the newspaper with my breakfast. And there, in the “faith” section was a column written by a pastor advocating that churches should do TWO WEEK LONG VBS! I almost choked on my cheerios! Now I highly doubt that said pastor has ever spent two and a half hours every night with preschoolers after a long grueling day at work. Nor, I’ll bet, has he struggled to come up with decorations to fit the “theme” of VBS. I wanted to censor his column before he put ideas into the heads of avid VBS enthusiasts all over town (such as the parents of the children who get a break every night while other people watch their kids.) But it was too late. The damage was already done. I was thinking of sending him hate mail or even threatening to turn preschoolers loose in his study after consuming huge amounts of sugar, but decided that probably wasn’t very Christian-like. So I will just leave matters at this – if his suggestion catches on, he had better be willing to step into all the places of VBS workers everywhere during the second week of VBS next year, or risk the consequences of hundreds of crazed VBS workers self medicating with massive quantities of chocolate!
Sometimes I think to myself what a unique career I have. In what other job can a person ask you what happened at work today and you can say, “I got bit by a penguin?” I love going to work every day not knowing what will cross my path that day. I may have to do pediatrics, internal medicine, anesthesiology, dentistry, radiography, obstetrics, surgery, cardiology, dermatology, gastroenterology, respiratory, oncology, and neurology all in one day, in a variety of patients ranging from 20 ounce canaries to 200 pound Great Danes. As I’ve always said, REAL doctors treat more than one species. And what challenge is it to examine and treat patients who aren’t trying to bite, scratch, kick, run (or fly) away, squirm, knock you down, release anal sacs, pee or poop on you, or otherwise kill you, all while trying to keep the patient and the owner from getting hurt? Where’s the fun in that? Not to mention fleas in the surgery field, but I won’t go there.
I know there’s a common misconception among people outside the veterinary field who believe all we do is play with puppies and kittens all day. And yes, the joy of getting a wet kiss from a patient with “puppy breath” is a huge perk in this profession. Plus, I can enjoy playing with the puppy for a few minutes and then send it home with the owner to housebreak and deal with chewing. Alas, however, this is usually only a small part of my day.
In spite of the sometimes trying situations at work, I still say I have the best job in the world, penguin bites and all.
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It’s been a long time since I’ve been to the gym and lately I’ve had a little voice in my head telling me I really need to start exercising again and get in better shape. I can usually shut that little voice up with chocolate and lie down until the urge to exercise goes away. However, my twelve year old son, Darion, has been bugging me to take him to the gym so he can build up his muscles for football. So, I finally gave in and succumbed this week. We started out on the ellipticals. After about five minutes, Darion said he was done. He’d done his twenty miles. I looked over at his machine and informed him the distance read 0.2 miles. After doing my mile in a record time of 18 minutes, I was rather proud of myself and decided to try the stair stepper. Everything was going great until I tripped on my own feet and fell down the moving steps, banging both my shins. So now I have big black and blue lumps on both legs. But you know what they say, “No pain, no gain.”
Do you ever wonder, like I do, what furniture and mattress sales have to do with Memorial Day? Sometimes my heart hurts for the complete disregard this generation seems to have for those who have given the ultimate price for the freedoms we enjoy. Memorial Day becomes just another day off to enjoy at the beach or a barbecue—or another excuse to make a buck. I think about the sacrifices that were made and are still being made for this nation, and wonder if our founding fathers are turning over in their graves at what this country has become. To quote Ronald Reagan, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same.”
Today take a moment to remember those who have gone before us in order that we may still appreciate the benefits of living in the greatest nation in the world. Thank our active duty military and our veterans for their service.