In our extended family, every holiday and birthday is an excuse for large gatherings. Although my four siblings live throughout the western United States, my husband’s family is all clustered nearby in central Arizona. When local relatives converge for celebrations, my mother-in-law, sister-in-law and I take turns as hostess and party planner.
At the end of each gathering, we often sit around chatting and planning the next.
The weeks and days before the last one of these gatherings was anything but “normal” for me. It was my turn, and the date we selected to celebrate three birthdays, including my husband’s and everyone’s schedules were set for the event. However, simultaneously we all had a little chaos going on in our domestic lives. In my little corner of the world, my lupus was mildly flaring from an ounce of stress.
My brother-in-law’s dad was unexpectedly hospitalized and had surgery on the morning of the party.
My own house experienced double-trouble chaos! Some minor construction repairs were underway and our daughter and son-in-law were preparing to move out.
My living room was a wreck! A major pluming repair was completed inside the wall between my kitchen and living room, and now a contractor was repairing and resurfacing a large part of the living room wall.
To keep costs down, we decided we would do the painting ourselves, and selected a nice rich color to transform the repaired living room wall into a dramatic accent wall. My husband and I started the work on that last weekend, and pushed to get all the layers of primer and paint on in time to put our house back together for the party.
My furniture and nearby rooms were dusted with white powder from the plaster sanding.
Our dining room was piled high with stacks of empty packing boxes waiting to be filled.
The disorder and chaos of misplaced household items confused my aging dog, who decided to target random things, adding his unwelcome contribution to the mess. (Yuck!)
This was also the week for the city’s quarterly rubbish pick up, and the week for a Goodwill donation pick up. The landscapers came and repaired sprinkler system plumbing and cut down a pine tree. I had two doctor appointments and one for lab work, all in between working my normal 10:00 to 7:00 job. In our spare time, we also bought my husband a new truck and coordinated with our insurance agent to re-write our auto and house policy coverage.
Somehow my, husband and I were successful in our goals to clean up, shop for the dinner, and set up the patio for an outdoor dinner for 12. We cornered our household disorder in a neatly stacked array in our office, and shut and posted a “no peeking” sign on the door. The rest of the house was mopped, dusted, cleaned and shined.
As the last touch, our dog got a bath and was being towel dried by my husband just as the family began to arrive. Meanwhile, I was in the kitchen starting to get the food out. Whew!
The day after the party, we spent a full day at church, with morning and evening services and a choir practice in the middle. For a church pianist and his wife, these are essential weekly schedule items. For most people involved heavily in their church’s ministries, Sundays are not really the “day of rest” generally associated with the idea of a “sabbath.” While not exactly a day of ease, my Sundays are “dedicated unto God” as we spending a day each week away from normal weekly activities for worship and musical ministry.
On Monday, it almost seemed like going back to work was rest!