Friday, May 29, 2009

Today's Gift

Today someone gave me true grace. I am thankful. I say "true" grace because often our grace is accompanied by an oh so subtle reminder to whom it was just given...that you gave it. At least this is how it often becomes tainted by yours truly. To receive true grace is usually a surprise. It's something that is often tangible only long after the gift has been given. Of course, you most likely received it fully at the time, but were cluelessly unaware. The knowledge of the gift creeps softly up behind you and taps you on the back and then you know. You sigh with relief as two emotions make their waves over you. One of joy and gratefulness. The other of shame at how little you choose to be the giver of grace. I was so struck by this today. And it occurred to me how I should be surprised by grace every day because I receive it every day, hour, and second of my life from my Lord and Savior. By Grace. He's where we get the true definition of grace. Undefiled grace. Incomprehensible grace. True grace.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Mrs. Magoo Showers

I don't know about you, but without my contacts or glasses, I'm pretty much through. I wear one of the two for the entire day with one 15 minute exception: The Shower. For the most part, showering is a mechanism of memory, but there are some things that get a little tricky for the visually challenged.

One of my biggest peeves, is shampoo and conditioner bottles that look identical. I'm sure the folks who came up with the design figured they were just killing two birds with one stone, but they were not thinking about the large percentage of the population that's practically blind while sudsing up. Rather than waiting until enough water droplets have accumulated over the identifying word to magnify it to my prescription strength, I just pick one and then have to bring it close to my face to find out if it's my lucky day to get the shampoo on the first try. All it would take would be to change the color of the bottle or the cap. A Braille label perhaps? I do have to applaud a few manufacturers, namely Suave for coming up with the clever idea to have the cap on the top of the shampoo and on the bottom of the conditioner. The guy who came up with that idea not only had his thinking cap on, but also most likely...his glasses.

Shaving is just downright hazardous. The hardest part here is that you can't see, say for instance, where you nicked yourself yesterday. You know it's around your ankle somewhere, but you just can't quite squint hard enough to figure out where. And you end up shaving over it again. I really haven't come up with any solutions on shaving other than a magnifying glass attached to your razor or prescription strength goggles. Both, I think have merit. The caveat on the goggles is that you would have to go to work with goggle outlines on your face reminiscent of 3 hours in chemistry lab. That is of course the only negative, as everyone loves to wear goggles. Kidding. :)

Oh, and heaven forbid you drop a razor or knock off the bar soap that completely blends in with the shower floor. You're blindly feeling along the floor like Mrs. Magoo, narrowly escaping cutting your finger or slipping on the Invisible-To-You Soap.

For those 20/20 visioners reading this, (i.e. Kristin who wears glasses solely for the look ;)): First, I'm jealous. Second, I am posting this so you can feel our pain. Third, if you're involved in some sort of shower product legislation for the blind, I'm making you aware of the situation.

For my visually challenged compadres, I'm just looking for an amen.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

A Slightly Sentimental Post

It's 11:30pm on Friday night. Joey is in Ruston for his brother's Bachelor Party for the Memorial Day weekend. I have put the dogs up, said goodnight to Joey over the phone, piddled around in the kitchen, watched some TV show called Bathtastic (?) to avoid scary shows like 48 Hrs Mystery, double checked the doors, brushed my teeth, washed my face, flossed, rearranged the shoes in my closet, and finally what I have been putting off...crawled into a king-sized lonely bed. Has our bed always been this huge? I thought of building a Joey out of pillows, but have dismissed it as childish and slightly creepy. I guess it's not so much the void space as it is the one who usually fills it.

What strikes me as remarkable is that I have slept alone for 26 years. You would think it would be almost like back to the basics. In fact, I remember lying in bed at 25 and single, thinking how funny it was that I slept in my queen sized bed all on one side as if someone were sleeping next to me. And I remember the following thought, one that I think most single women have, that I wonder if I will still be sleeping alone in 20 years? And then the inevitable next thought...yup, probably.

It's kind of like how people muse "How did we ever live without cell phones?". Before they existed, you went on long road trips with pay phones being your only link back to home base. Now, you drive 15 minutes away without your cell phone and you feel incredibly vulnerable. It's the same jump from singlehood to marriage. I crawled into bed every single night for 26 years alone and into bed with someone for 7 months. You would think the comfortability factor would weigh heavily on the sleeping alone side. But somehow, the last 7 months have tipped the scales of 26 years. That is a beautiful thing that only God could have created.

I don't mean to get even more sentimental than I already am right now, but it makes me think about those that have lost their spouse. What is it like when the time scales of singleness and marriage tip in the favor of wedded years? And then when that person is gone. Oh man. That hurts. Tonight I found myself setting the coffee maker for tomorrow for 6 cups of coffee as I usually do, not thinking about the fact that I should have been setting it for just mine. I bet it's the little things like that that get you. The stuff that you have taken for granted over time. If it's engrained so much at 7 months, how much more at 50 years?

Marriage just changes the way you live. There's no getting around it. Independence and singlehood are great in their seasons and are there for a purpose. I think some of us are single for longer so as to have a measuring stick with which to compare. My single years were an absolute blessing, although for the majority of the time not seen as such while in the midst of them. I look back and think of them as a gift. God's timing is all over it. To everything there is a season.

So here I am. I think I will try to get some sleep. Still missing the person who filled both the void in my heart and the other side of the bed.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Shop Cart Lifting

My weekly shopping routine consists of ordering my shopping list by the sections of the store. In all honesty, I don't need the list as it's pretty routine, but I keep one anyway. This is my pattern. It keeps me focused. Joey is aware of the pattern. For instance, when due to unexpected construction he asked if we could go to Kroger, I went into a panic. "The list is not made for Kroger. It's made for HEB." Perfectly logical, right? I'm not sure he recognizes the method to my madness, but he at least recognizes it as madness and as such, proceeds with caution. He waited
the extra traffic minutes to get to HEB, aka, my sanity.

This past week while Joey was off at the meat section (manly, right?), I had just finished with the fruits/veggies, always the most work, when I realized I left one thing out that was at the front of the store. The produce section was extremely busy so I thought I would minimize the congestion by leaving my cart and going out on foot. I navigated between carts and toddlers and picked up the missing item. Just as I'm thinking "produce section - check!", I go back to get my cart. Small problem. It's wasn't there. Someone must have pushed it aside. So I start looking around the area. No lone carts here. Oh no. I bet one of the workers thought it was driverless and is undoing all my work as the minutes tick by. But no worker with my cart.

At this point, I was at a loss. I could see myself on America's Most Wanted holding up a small photo of my missing cart giving a description "Metal, red plastic seat, contains produce, with a squeaky wheel" all the while saying "I just turned my back for one second and it was gone." And then I spotted it. The organic sweet potatoes gave it away.

A guy in his late 50s was driving my cart! He's a cart thief! I bet he doesn't even come with a list. He just cruises by and spots a cartful of groceries that he thinks might be his style and presto, his shopping is done. So I started following him. After a sharp turn at the potatoes, I thought I'd lost him, but I caught up to him paused in confusion at the onions. I said "Sir, unhand my cart!". No I didn't. I'm being dramatic. It was more like "Ummm....excuse me, sir? I think you might have my cart by mistake?" And I had my cart back.

Lesson learned: never leave your cart unsupervised.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Choose Your Spice Wisely

Eating my oatmeal in the morning with bananas and cinnamon is a valuable jumpstarting part of my day. There is just something comforting about it to me. I'm rushed to get out the door in the morning, but my oatmeal kind of has a calming effect on me. Maybe it's the routine itself or the delicious taste of bananas and cinnamon. Today my routine was sideswiped due to a crucial blunder. Mistaking paprika for cinnamon on the spice rack. Let's just say it gives oatmeal the kick of its life.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

What's in a name?

It feels so much better to be all under one identity! I am feeling pretty comfortable in my new name and felt like my blog should reflect that as well. Name changes are a funny thing. I have been Jenny Hanks for 26 full years and suddenly, poof, I have a totally new name. As young girls we write out the signature of our first name with our latest crushs' last name and it's all dreamy and way out in the future. But when it really happens, it's kind of weird and takes a little getting used to. You find yourself explaining the evolution of your name to strangers examining your inconsistent IDs at Blockbuster. It is a wonderful identity crisis. Here are some interesting things about my new name that I have come upon:

- I now have a name that no one is sure how to pronounce. The new possibilities are now Parrot like the bird, Pee-row, Perro like the Mexican dog, Perot as in Ross, and my favorite, Pee-rot. Now mind you, my feelings are not hurt at all if you can't pronounce the name. It wasn't that long ago that I was in the same boat you are now. So here you go in case you were wondering: Pay-row

- I could never go by my initials before, JH. It just didn't have a ring to it. My new one sticks. J.P. I have people that call me this already as there are three Jennifers in my department at work. It has a nice J.P. the Auto-mechanic or Neighborhood Bully ring to it. A tough guy's initials, yeah, that's it, yeah.

- Are you related to Ross Perot? This is the standard question from all whitehaired gentlemen.

- My name and Joey's name are scary alike. The first time I saw an email from myself, I thought it was from Joey. We sound like a set of twins.

But, the best thing about my new name is that I share it with my favorite person in the entire world: Joey.

Jenny Perot

Monday, May 4, 2009

The Custom Workout

Today I started a new workout regimen. Joey's friend owns a gym and designs custom workouts. He did one for Joey as he trained for the MS 150 and now he has fixed one up for me for I guess my intense walking the dog events and the occasional softball game or maybe just life. I'm really not sure what the occasion is. Tonight's workout consisted of chest and shoulder and a little interval training.

The Custom Workout was hidden inside the elastic of my shorts for easy cheating. Between exercises I would review my Custom Workout Post-It to get my next assignment. All of the exercises are in Trainerese and must be deciphered using a tedious process. Between every exercise I ask Joey what the heck is meant by upright rows or incline flys. Now, all this must be done while maintaining the look of "I know my way around the gym". This is not easy. I casually glance at my Custom Workout Post-It and try to memorize the new term. Then I locate Joey. I come up to him just like I'm shooting the breeze with a fellow power lifter and then I break it to him under my breath - "I have no idea what this is. Just give me the verbal in a whisper, slow, repeat, and absolutely no motions." Then hopefully all goes well when I actually try to put it into practice. If clarification is necessary then I move on to the next exercise and add that one to the Requires Sample Motions List. I'll get it on the next Joey Pass.

I'm not sure how long the veneer will last. The tremble as I lift my weights may give it away. Or maybe the way I clumsily clink the dumbells together for lack of control. Or the way I can barely open the door out of the gym due to Jelly Arms.

I may just have to give it up and be a newbie. Then maybe at least I'll get some sympathy and possibly even a few tips.