Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Keeping Faith in Humanity

Two weeks ago I was really stressed out. I was trying to get a washing machine, we'd been wearing dirty clothes for two or three weeks already, and things kept going wrong. In the middle of problems and stress, though, I was helped by two wonderful men who need to be thanked by name.

The first was Eddie. I found Eddie on Craigslist, selling a washing machine and dryer. I asked him if he'd sell me just the washing machine (a wonderful family had given us their old dryer), and we made arrangements to pick it up. When we picked it up, Eddie said that he had hooked it up a couple days earlier and it ran fine, and that if for some reason it didn't work for us, he'd give us our money back. That's a rare type of promise from a Craigslist dealer, so we were sure the washing machine would be just fine.

Well, of course when we got the machine home and hooked it up, it ran water all over our floor. And of course we didn't know what box most of our towels/rags were in, and we hadn't bought a mop yet, so we used 3 rolls of paper towels to clean it up.

I texted Eddie and told him what had happened. And, amazingly enough, he held true to his word. He told us he'd give our money back.

The next day I went to a store that specialized in appliance repair but also sold used washers. That's where I met Mike.

Mike was a sweet, friendly man about my dad's age. He told me about his granddaughter, who's a toddler, and he just loved Cimorene. I explained the problem we'd had, and he was eager to help. He said it was probably a really easy fix, and that Ryan might be able to fix it himself. He told me some things to have Ryan look at, and then sold me a new cord I needed for the dryer--at a 25% discount, because my husband's in the military (I think it was partly that and partly that Cim was being super cute and giving him high-fives).

Ryan looked at the washer that night, and I called Mike the next day to tell him what we thought the problem was. He told me to have Ryan call him later and he'd walk Ryan through some more diagnostic things. He even gave me his cell-phone number, which he said would self-destruct after one use, because he doesn't normally give out that number--keep in mind, he's doing all of this without expecting to make any kind of profit.

Well, the washing machine ended up being pretty rusted out, so we decided it wasn't worth the hassle of trying to repair it, but we were able to go get a really nice used one from a store that Mike recommended. They delivered and installed it for free because my husband's in the military, and then they hauled away the old one to dump for us (they didn't even want it for parts). Oh, and Eddie gave us our money back as promised, so everything turned out really well for us.

I'm still planning to make Mike and his staff cookies. I don't know if they have any idea what their kindness and helpfulness meant to this pregnant lady who had just finished a month-long hotel stay with a teething one year old. I don't know if this situation would have seemed like a big deal for most people, but by day 3 of the scenario I was feeling pretty overwhelmed, and the fact that EVERYONE involved was so kind to me made it seem much more manageable.

I'm grateful for the bright spots in trials, the things that make you say, "yeah this situation stinks, but the world is a good place." I'm grateful for good men like Eddie and Mike, who have a sense of integrity and charity, and who help me keep my faith in humanity. There are awful people in this world, but there are also some who are wonderful, and who do little things to make people's lives easier. This is my thank-you to them.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Belated Birthday Tribute

Ryan turned 27 last month, and amidst the craziness of moving and military, his birthday sort of got lost. So here's the post that he should have gotten several weeks ago.

The other day I was listening to a song, and it struck me for the first time just how much it reminded me of my wonderful husband. Those of you who know Cooley, picture him singing this with gusto:

(I highly recommend you listen to the song as you read the lyrics.)

Big Time
by Sam Payne

Hey kid, wanna hit the big time? I pushed my glasses up
And I put down my comic book, surprised that they were approaching me.
Jumped in, they took me to her papa; told me every detail
Seems they'd taken his fair daughter, needed one outside the family
To take the briefcase full of cash to the Italian with the limp
And wait inside the car for them to slip her in.
Someone to drive her home and be presented with a check,
About the size that he might never have to work again.
Sounded like the Big Time to me.

You know what everybody says about the plans of mice and men
Well I wound up in a freezer, with the oxygen a'goin fast.
She lay beside me on the concrete
Goose egg about the size of the lump within my throat
And my life began to pass.

So I tripped the frozen tumblers with the earpiece of my glasses,
Surprised the man outside before he made a sound.
Then I went and threw my body between her and flying bullets,
Hotwired us a car and left that part of town
Headed for the Big Time.

Big check, big congratulations;
An extra zero for the freezer time, and for the inconvenience of the bullet holes.
I swear you could have heard a pin drop as I watched myself push it back across his desk
And heard myself say, "That's not how it goes.
'Cause every hour of the last few, I've spent them every one
With my body and my soul upon the line for her.
I was in it for the money, but I'll trade it if she'll have me
For a chance at fifty years with her, or fifty more."

"And I'll take more than bullets for her.
Give me a lawn to mow, give me some kids to grow.
More than bullets for her.
I'll stay on through gray mornings when we're both confused and slow."

I guess we rode into the sunset; at least it seems we did
But a million years have come and gone, and details have begun to go.
Big check torn up long ago; or I assume it was;
Perhaps there never was one in the first place.
Well, it's tough to know.

Could it be I met her back in college?
Maybe I just asked her out to Dairy Queen.
Would my life be any less upon the line for her, if that were true?
Would you still believe me if I said
I've been feeling like the Big Time?

Ever since I met her, like the Big Time.

Ryan and I have had some crazy adventures. This blog, on which we post so infrequently, tells only a tiny portion of our adventures in China, Rexburg, Utah, Pennsylvania, and now California.

But while I love knowing that my husband would "throw his body between [me] and flying bullets," the little daily things mean so much more. Things like a couple days ago when he was on his hands and knees scrubbing the kitchen floor with paper towels because it was really dirty and we didn't have a mop yet; watching him dance with Cimorene in the living room; hearing him come in from the garage singing.

While we plan to keep having adventures and singing bouncy tunes, I'm grateful for a husband who is also willing to "stay on through gray mornings when we're both confused and slow" (we seem to have had enough of these lately).

These are just some of the things that I love about him; every day I'm more grateful to be married to such a wonderful man.

Happy birthday, Ryan. You're my hero.