Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Coffee, and Mr. Comments-On-My-Feet

Before I begin, am I the only one who thinks the music selection in Starbucks is often just short of awful?

As you may have gathered, I'm at Starbucks right now, enjoying the alone time that my husband gives me every Monday and Tuesday night that we don't have Bible study. I was working on my novel, but I'm currently inserting a pivotal chapter with plot points that didn't used to exist (don't ask me how that works - this is my first novel, after all), and it's proving arduous. Therefore, I am taking a blogging break. 

I have a certain chair that I like to sit in - it's located as far from the main seating area as possible. In fact, it's in a corner beside the restrooms, just across from the dessert display case (which, on a side note, means I salivate like a Pavlovian dog the entire time I'm sitting there). 

A youngish man with a head of thick black curls, carrying a battered brown book (a Bible? a novel?) has occupied said chair, however. He is accompanied by a man of similar years, tall and athletically built. The Athlete's obvious nervousness around Curly-Hair looks downright humorous on his person. I wonder what their relationship is. Is Curly-Hair a new tutor or mentor? Is he an employer? Regardless, he and The Athlete are in my chair, so I'm left sitting beside the man who keeps commenting on my feet.

Yes, my feet. I suppose my first mistake was proffering a friendly smile as I sat down beside him.

"Can I put this here?" I asked, gesturing my purse at a spot on the table between us.

He pushed his glasses up on greying sideburns and smiled back. "Sure. Do whatever you want." A pause. "Cute boots."

"Thanks," I replied, feeling a bit self-conscious. Quickly, I unfolded my laptop and began to type, not wanting to leave the conversation open while I waited for my iced mocha.

Minutes passed without event. I retrieved my drink when it was called and continued tapping away on the computer.

A fly landed on the top of my screen, creeping across it like a high-wire. I shooed it away irritably. All of a sudden, the man beside me let out a guffaw. I sensed him looking at me, so I turned to him, baffled at why he was laughing.

His belly bounced as he laughed and pointed at my boots. "It's funny that your feet don't touch the ground."


I'm used to such comments. I'm sure - hopeful, anyway - that my grin was good-humored rather than longsuffering. "Yeah, it's always like this for me, so I don't even notice anymore. I'm much more surprised when my feet do touch the ground."

The green plaid across his bulk continued to heave as he laughed. Lips compressed, I turned back to my writing, wondering what he'd say next.

He didn't say anything else, but he did attempt to catch a fly that landed on his arm with an exaggerated sigh. When I looked over to see if he had caught the fly, he noticed me looking, and rubbed his hand together over the floor as if to drop the fly's remains. Only, nothing fell out.

In retrospect, perhaps I should've taken the fly opening to make a comment on his feet.


Update: I think Mr. Comments-On-My-Feet actually did get the fly! As I got up to leave I saw a dead fly on the ground right beside him!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Welcome to Our Neighborhood.

I'm a tad burnt out on writing serious posts, so here's an introduction to where we live for those of you who have never visited the Krycho apartment.

Our apartment complex is a strange place - its convenient location a few minutes from OU would suggest that it would be filled with college students, but it is instead filled with a mixture of cute families and seedy groups of dubious relations. Despite the speed bumps, it is also a prime place for cars to speed through, often blaring the sweet strains of rap music. 

I don't understand the speeding, especially given the number of children who play right in front of their doorstep where the cars are parked. Though right now, it seems most of the kids have flocked to one of the two swimming pools located on the premises. The swimming pools are a veritable smorgasbord of people-watching pleasure. That is, if you can tolerate the awkward PDA of late-twenties couples who don't seem to be bothered by the fact that there is a maelstrom of six- to ten-year-olds playing Marco Polo beside them. I often see characters at the pool that I don't see anywhere but the pool, and I make it my business to observe as many different people in the complex as possible. 

However, you can be certain you'll see a few particular people on most days. Our very friendly upstairs neighbor walks by our window at least five times a day and is nearly always shirtless. I often wonder if that's his convenient way of not accumulating laundry. This is the same fellow that very kindly let me shoot off a full-sized firework on the Fourth of July, which was great fun. What was not fun is when he shot off another one at 3 in the morning the next day. My first thought on bolting awake was, "Rockets!", my second, "Hope the apartment doesn't catch on fire." I also hoped the baby didn't wake up. She didn't, and neither did my husband.

Another noise you might hear at dark o' clock is a very profane domestic disturbance. These have not occurred so much, as of late, but maybe that's because neighbors, myself included, have had to call 9-1-1 a few too many times. 

The police recently spent three full days hanging out outside my particular apartment building, going in and out of one of our neighbor's apartments. That was interesting. I really wanted to ask them what was going on, knowing the worst they could tell me was, "I can't tell you," but I didn't think that would be very politic - therefore, I refrained. 

See? I have some control over my curiosity. :)

In all of this, I must remember that the neighbors also have to put up with Chris and me. I can't imagine what they must think on hearing Chris sing about munchkins on fire, or about penguins eating my mom's toenails. I also occasionally do strange things, like look out my window until someone walks by who looks like they can help me with a jar of sun-dried tomatoes that I can't get open for the life of me. In this instance it happened to be my brand-new military neighbor. He was in his camo when I darted outside to ask him if he'd open the jar, which he probably thought was the reason I decided he was an ideal candidate to perform this feat of strength. That might've been a little awkward for him, I guess, since I had never introduced myself before, and didn't then. But I'm telling you - that jar was stuck. Maybe only someone military could've opened it. That's what I like to tell myself.

All in all, we live in a neighborhood of fascinating and weird neighbors, but I suppose you don't have to be a normal neighbor to be a good one.

Friday, July 13, 2012

incurvatus in se

I had a few ideas for this post that slowly morphed and/or degraded into what it is now. The truth is, I wanted to write about pride. Then I realized that I was feeling prideful about the fact I was dealing with my pride. Then I decided that I wasn't going to write. Then I wrote in my journal. All that to say, what I want to say is now in my journal, but I have re-written it for you here.


Who knew that motherhood would be such a battle with pride? Ellie is already so beautiful and smart, I find myself feeling vanity on her behalf, as it were. My weak and wayward heart!

In addition, I've noticed that I feel as if I can be a godly mom without anyone else's help. Like, I'm already there, I just falter from time to time. The reality is that I'm totally incapable of being godly, or teaching Ellie to be godly, without a daily outpouring of grace, the Spirit's guidance and humble brokenness over my sin.

I feel brokenness now...I see my dirty self with an appalled loathing that drives me to find solace in the gospel.

Oh, that I would come to the cross and the empty tomb before ever I reach this point!