Road trips, dinner parties, and spoons

I never did give a proper thank-you to my dear friend who shared the story about spoon theory with me, but she definitely deserves it.  Thank you, sweetie!!!  (And to anyone else tuned in, be sure to stop by her shop on etsy and check out the awesome stuff she makes.  I have from her a necklace and several of the skin care products, and they are all WONDERFUL.)

Friday afternoon, I drove home from my eight-hour day at work, did some minor housecleaning (ack!  dinner party for folks from church in 49 hours!), packed an overnight bag, and then hit the road with my fiance for Baltimore.  Why were we going to Baltimore, you ask?  Well, it was to pick up this.

You might not be able to tell from the picture, but it is a harpsichord that my fiance found for sale from an online friend.  This was the move from the church basement to the back of my car, and now the harpsichord is set up in all its glory in our music studio.  Each time my beloved has walked past – or even caught a glimpse of it out of the corner of his eye – he’s had to play a tune or two on it, and he tells me I’m lucky it won’t fit in a suitcase, or it would fly back to Canada with him next month!  The fun part is that a harpsichord is basically a tend-to-it-yourself instrument, so my love will be learning how to tune it, replace its strings, and do other general repairs.  He’s a little intimidated by this, but I know he’ll do great.  He doesn’t know it yet (Hi, love!), but I’ll bet that the postal service drops off a couple of books of great harpsichord music for him within the week.  🙂

So we spent Friday night in a hotel southwest of Baltimore – using my accumulated Holiday Inn Priority Club points to get a free stay (Woohoo!) – and then Saturday morning explored Ft. McHenry for a little while before braving downtown Bawlmer to visit the church and purchase the instrument.

We had lunch with the organist who was selling the harpsichord and then took some photos before hitting the road to head home.  Once we got back home and unloaded the harpsichord – with help from my parents – they took us out for dinner at a great Greek restaurant where we had what might be the best pizza I’ve ever had, and where we definitely experienced the best service I’ve ever had from a server from a restaurant.  When we got back home, we were absolutely exhausted.  I’d planned to hit the supermarket for the supplies we needed for Sunday night’s dinner party, but neither of us had the energy.

Sunday morning, we got up early and headed to church, where I was on the schedule to serve as a healing prayer minister for the early service.  At my parish, the clergy and lay ministers serving at the mass all gather in the sacristy about fifteen minutes before the service time to check in, make sure everyone’s there, give any last-minute instructions, and share a prayer before worship.  And at this check-in, we found that one of the two chalice-bearers had not arrived, and it was one minute before service time.  I offered to vest after the prayer and slip into the sanctuary at an opportune time, given that there were a couple other healing prayer ministers who could pinch-hit for me in the congregation.  (We seem to have fewer healing prayer ministers than any of the other lay ministers in the parish, so that is the role that I most often get asked to pinch-hit in.  It’s also probably the easiest to pinch-hit in.)  So after our prayer, I dashed over to the office building, into the choir room… and found the vestment closet locked.  Frack.  I dashed back around to the rear of the nave, climbed the stairs to the choir loft, and asked the organist if I could borrow his key, then ran back to the office building, into the choir room, and into the vestment closet.  Given our middling heat and absolutely miserable humidity on this Virginia summer morning, I was already sweating before I put on my cassock and cotta.  Then I walked briskly – no more dashing now – back to the sacristy to listen to where they were in the service and figure out when to get in there, while hoping the other chalice-bearer hadn’t shown up in the meantime.

Meanwhile, my poor fiance was sitting in the pew as the service began, wondering why all the ministers except me had emerged from the sacristy, and wondering whether he should send out a search party.  I went out into the nave near the end of the second reading – catching my love’s eye to be sure he’d seen me – and then coordinated with the lector so that we both reverenced the altar at the same time so that it looked like this had been the plan all along.  I made my way to my seat, and took a deep breath.  At our early service, we don’t schedule an acolyte to light and extinguish candles and to help set the table for the eucharist, and I was sitting on the side of the altar where the credence table is located… so these would be my jobs.  Now, I served as an acolyte for many years, so this didn’t particularly scare me, but I had wanted to be able to closely observe an early service before my first time serving at that service as a chalice-bearer with these responsibilities.  But it all went smoothly, and it’s nice to have that first time out of the way.

Straight from church, we hit the supermarket, then headed home to prepare for the dinner party.  Eighteen pounds of pork roast went into the smoker, zucchini and summer squash went into marinade before being grilled, and ingredients went into the crock pot to become baked beans.  Then we had bathrooms to clean, rugs and floors to vacuum, a bird cage to clean, garbage to take out, and plenty of horizontal surfaces to de-clutter.  My co-host for the dinner came over shortly after noon, and became my hero and possibly my bestest most favoritest friend in the entire universe.  My love and I were getting tired already, and she came in and finished the vacuuming… including moving all the chairs in the dining room, moving the table and chairs in the kitchen, and pulling out my couch and recliner and all the tables in the family room to vacuum under, around, and behind them.  I hadn’t done this since moving in, and everything looked absolutely fabulous when she finished.  I was even able to nap before the later preparations (setting out salsa and chips and cheese and crackers, lighting wax burners and candles so the house would smell nice, running the dishwasher).

The dinner party went wonderfully.  We had nine people total, and we ended up gathered in the family room to share food and fellowship.  The menu was cheese (Dublin cheddar, a colby-jack, cream Havarti, and a port wine cheese ball) and crackers (Kashi Mediterranean Bruschetta and sesame and buttercrisp rounds), tortilla chips with salsa (a sweet corn and black bean salsa, and a medium-hot salsa verde), smoked pork barbecue, homemade baked beans, cole slaw (a sweeter version and a more vinegary version), buns for those who wished, four kinds of barbecue sauce, grilled zucchini marinated in caesar vinaigrette dressing, red wine, four kinds of beer, iced tea and lemonade, and to finish up, vanilla bean and triple chocolate cheesecakes.  Mmmmmmmmm!  Folks hung out until about 9pm, and we had great conversation.  My co-host stayed to wash all the dishes – my most beloved hero!!! – and after she left, my fiance and I took our evening meds and hit the sack.

This morning, I woke up in great pain in every part of my body.  I was supposed to go in to the office for work, but realized fairly quickly that this would not be possible… and that I wasn’t sure I’d be able to get my stiff-as-a-board body folded into the car behind the steering wheel.  I realized that over the weekend, I’d used up all my spoons as well as borrowing from Monday and possibly Tuesday as well.  I emailed my bosses to say I’m working from home, took my morning meds, and then took my place on the reclining section of my couch with laptop and ice pack to begin to work.  After about an hour, I found myself nodding off, so I took a nap before getting back to work again.  I’m still incredibly stiff and sore, and I know I’m not going to get a full workday in today, despite being at home.  My fiance and I had leftovers from last night for lunch, and it was still quite good again today.  The heat coming off of my back is incredible, and I’m about ready for my midday muscle relaxant and another couple hours with the cryo-pack.

So… that’s what’s been going on for the last few days.  It’s been so wonderful to have my love here for a whole month.  He has wished before that he didn’t have to be so far away when I’m having a bad pain day, so now he’s getting that wish.  He’s been amazingly helpful and tender and supportive and loving, and I feel so blessed to have him in my life, so that we can take care of each other.

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One thought on “Road trips, dinner parties, and spoons

  1. Yay spoons! And thank you, hun. It’s such a great way to explain it all, isn’t it?

    And yay for last-minute improv stuff in church! I remember it well from my days of acolyting.. Got pretty good at ‘we meant to do that’.

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