Sunday, March 29, 2009

That made my day

I've been thinking lately about what makes for a great day. My inspiration was from a novel -- not a literary novel, though; it was... well, Tom Clancy.

In his 1996 book, Executive Orders, an Air Force sergeant, a steward on Air Force One, had a morning encounter with her President:

..."Any smokers aboard?"

It was the way he asked it that made the Air Force steward turn. "Want one, sir?"

The answer was somewhat shameful, but--"Yes."

She handed him a Virginia Slim and lit it with a warm smile. It wasn't every day one got a chance to provide so personal a service to the Commander-in-Chief. Ryan took a puff and looked up.

"If you tell my wife, Sergeant--"

"Our secret, sir." She disappeared aft to get breakfast, her day already made.

(p. 484)
I told the lovely Carol about that passage, how I enjoyed re-reading it, and she thought it was because that's my love language. Maybe it is. The following week or so brought these thoughts:

The sky looked right

Growing up in Hawaii I can remember only one cloudless sky; it didn't last very long, either. Where I live in California, the sky is often cloudless. You would think that after living here nearly 30 years I'd be used to it by now, and mostly I am.

But whenever I look up and see clouds like these, it gives me a sense that whatever else is wrong with the world, at least the sky looks right. As it did today.

My day made at the office

There's a meeting scheduled for 7:00 tomorrow morning. I asked my boss about it

“No, I don't think you need to be there.”

Yesssss! That made my day. Thanks, Boss!

I opened the car door for the lovely Carol, and...

“There’s my phone! I see it--on the floor!”

Yep, she lost track of her phone a couple of days back. She’d thought someone else picked hers up by mistake, and it took some time to track that person down. When she finally did, today, no joy. And then, after having dinner out, we walked over to the car and... there it was.

A great way to start Saturday morning

I woke before the lovely Carol, and went to the bathroom; it was early enough that I headed back to bed, but late enough that...

She opened her eyes, turned toward me and gave me a warm smile. "I don't think I can go back to sleep. Is that what you wanted to do?"

It had been nearly a week. And so I was completely, and happily, under her powers. Need more be said?

And for today...

We got up in time to help set up at church, but before that, I scrambled some eggs with some leftover barbecued salmon. I also poured some leftover batter into the waffle-iron. Coffee, tea, and some (yes, leftover) steamed rice completed the meal. Fish and waffles? Well, it tasted better than it sounds.

We arrived a little after eight and got to work. Rod and Betty brought in an art display, and we spent a few minutes setting up the framework. It had multiple panels: five pairs of panels, each pair being a vertical stack, sort of like a capital letter H. Adjacent pairs of panels were attached together with Velcro® straps at the top and bottom, and a gasket-like thing in the middle. I couldn't reach the top, so I grabbed a folding chair. "We have the technology..." I announced. But a couple of tall guys took care of that using good old-fashioned reach.

We heard a great sermon about "freedom from hurry" (you can listen [MP3 audio] or check out the study guide [PDF]). I'll write about that too. But before the sermon, we were treated to a quote from Prof. Rueter of DePauw University:

Westerners live in the age of instaneity. We have instant coffee, instant replay, instant polls, and Instant Messaging--all in the pursuit of instant gratification.
Bloomington (Ind.) Herald-Times, August 26, 2005
Which reminded me of this really silly thing I heard: "I put instant coffee in the microwave (oven) and went back in time!" (sticker) I leaned forward and mentioned that to Steve. We enjoyed a laugh. After the service, I hung around the coffee machine; I ran some coffee drinks down to the small gym, and did the "barista" thing a few times. And I chatted with the others working there -- we talked some about the sermon as well as about coffee and logistics. One of the men told me about staying in touch with his daughters -- he sends them text messages frequently. What a great blessing! These guys are great.

We went home and thought about dinner: I'm in charge. The lovely Carol had picked up some pre-fab fajita beef -- pre-marinated, pre-cooked. Not instant, though, so I walked over to our neighborhood store and bought some bell peppers: red, yellow, and green -- to go with ¾ pound of meat. I also picked up a can of stewed tomatoes (best before March 1, 2009 -- whoa, better go back in time!) to make Spanish rice. I started slicing up the peppers.

The phone rang; it was the ex-teenager calling from across the country. We had a long talk; we got caught up, and we explored age-old questions of male-female relationships. There are no algorithms for this, but when she asked me for a number, I gave her one: 90 days. It was very sweet chatting with her.

It was time to cook. I got the "Spanish rice" going (it's not hard, but don't burn it before doing the "sizzling rice" thing), then resumed slicing up the peppers and half an onion -- next time I'll slice up the whole onion, not just stop at half. I fried up the onion in our cast-iron skillet, then added the peppers -- whoa, too much vegetables! I switched to a wok. (Yeah, right, preparing Mexican food in a wok.) But it worked great! Added the beef and kept stir-frying. The lovely Carol mashed up an avocado for guacamole. I pulled out a few tortillas (also from the neighborhood store) and heated them up in the skillet.

Dinner was served a few minutes after five. I popped open a cold one (a Bud if you must know -- in a can).

There are just a few pleasures in this life better than preparing a meal for those you love and enjoying it with them.

No comments: