Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Exercises in Futility

Here are some of mine from today:

--Explaining to a four year old why he can't go swimming.

Reasons like, "It's raining." and "It's time for dinner" and "It is lightning outside" simply don't cut it. Nate's response to all these? "But I don't mind!" I finally talked him out of it by letting him take a bubble bath with food coloring in the water. (Insert cliche about desperate times here.)

--Trying to finish all the laundry at once. I am certain that this will never actually happen. There is a story in the Bible about a widow who was nearly out of oil and flour to make bread. She decided to make one more loaf of bread, knowing that after it was gone that she would starve. Then, the prophet Elijah comes and stays at her home and miraculously, there is always a little more oil and a little more flour left in the jars. I seem to have the same thing happening in my laundry room. Perhaps Elijah is buried in there somewhere, hidden under the pile of damp towels or Nate's mismatched socks.

--Trying to figure out what someone wants or thinks when they won't just tell you. This is actually an issue in a few areas of my life right now! One in particular is another mom at the school. She is from another country and I have tried to befriend her. Her communication style, though, is so stilted and abrupt that I can't ever really tell what she wants: if she wants her daughter to come play at our house, if she's inviting me for coffee because it's expected or because she wants me to come over, if she's saying no to my offer of something to eat at my house because she's not hungry or if I'm supposed to ask a few more times before she'll say yes. I'm usually pretty good at this whole relational, cross-cultural kind of thing, but man! This woman is wearing me out. She called three times during the chaos of Ava's birthday party to sort of kind of but not really ask if I would bring her daughter home from the party. I didn't mind doing that, which I told her. However, we ended one conversation with her saying she would come get her daughter. Ok, I said, with 15 screaming girls in the background. Then she called back an hour later and asked if I could bring her home. Yes, fine, no problem! Then she called again to make sure it was okay and that she could come if I needed her to. I'm exhausted all over again just recounting it! This surface-level casual relationship is requiring more maintenance than my marriage. I think she and I should agree to see other people.

--Playing Jenga with previously mentioned four year old.Let's just say that the finesse required to ease out those little blocks from the bottom of the stack isn't one of Nate's many talents. Though I admire Jason for trying. However, Nate is much more interested in "accidentally" bumping the tower. It was fun to watch, though!

--Trying to figure out why your baby is crying. I mean, when there are no obvious reasons. Is she overtired? Is she not tired enough? Is she hot? Is she cold? Is it the Chicken Pad Thai I had for lunch? (I hope not, cause I was kinda wanting to have it again for dinner.) I have been known to construct elaborate theories around these types of baby-related issues. And they usually turn out wrong. Some things are just mysteries, I guess. Like Stonehenge. And crop circles. Grace crying for an hour and a half tonight after I put her to bed is up there with Easter Island.

Any futile efforts in your life lately?


  1. I'm having the same issue with my laundry. No. Scratch that. With my house! Every time I think I have it clean, I turn around to admire it and hey! It's messy again. At least it's just messy and not dirty though.

    That woman at school sounds hard to deal with. I don't think I could handle it. Brava to you for trying!

  2. Are you sure you weren't talking about me? :) I did come to Ava's party though, so it can't be me:)
    Glad that you are venturing out into Asian food!:) Soon you'll be drinking those drinks you mentioned on one of your earlier posts.... and enjoying my spicy curries:)

  3. Oh and I meant to say that I read some wise words before we had Rebekah - that when you have kids you need to learn to live with a bit of chaos - or something to that effect - this has helped me tremendously in the futility of trying to keep up with housework - kids are always a good excuse for the mess aren't they:)

  4. My issue that I keep trying to avoid-and failing miserably-is keeping the floors clean. It is futile ! But we keep plugging away at it, don't we ? Love your picture of Nate.With that little face, I think I'd probably cave in and give him what he wants.