I Am What Happens to Your Stuff

I called my brother the other day and reached his voicemail. He must have still been at the burial site and couldn’t pick up. I was waiting at the country club trying to find out how soon everyone would arrive from the cemetery so I could let the chef know when to bring out the food. The sooner the better, I had a five year old to pick up at a bowling themed birthday party at 1:30.

It was Saturday and I was working. I had three children with me because there was a minimum of 35 for food and we were crossing our fingers to get 25 at the funeral and lunch. I figured somebody has to eat all those stuffed shells and beef tips, it may as well be us. When you reach 94, you’ve outlived most of the warm butts who would normally attend your services. It happens.

This is what I do. Everything and anything, from funeral luncheon arrangements to disposing of storagebelongings, including but not limited to, clothing, food, china, furniture, vintage Pfaff sewing machines, decorative plates and mid-century blaupunkt radio turntable liquor cabinets that everybody and their brother’s grandparents once had displayed prominently next to their chenille sofas. And jewelry. Jewelry is nice.

I search for hidden cash in ancient Tupperware containers and in envelopes taped under dresser drawers. The treasure hunt makes up for the times I must empty disgusting fridges and clean up other people’s bathrooms. They don’t make rubber gloves large enough for that.

Over the years I’ve found money and cut gems, massive amounts of vintage jewelry and enough bows to top Christmas presents for the rest of my life. I don’t get to keep anything, except the bows, and the dryer sheets and loads of tissue boxes. But, all in all, it’s not such a bad way to make a buck.

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Longing for the Apocalypse

It’s no secret that I love a good Zombie flick. Maybe they resonate with me because I consider myself a survivor, so much so, that I would never consider participating in a “Zombie Run” or the like because,

A. I would never want to “be” the zombie (I’m a Survivor of course.)

B. I have no desire to run from zombies – if you can’t kill them, what’s the point?

Since we are coming into that zombie time of year (October and the return of The Walking Dead) I decided to research Zombie origins to satisfy my curiosity. I am in no way an expert and my “sources” have been gathered exclusively from the wonderful world of The Internet, and my own brain.

Zombies can be classified into two categories:

Category A: Zombies: Corpses raised from the dead by magic or witchcraft as by Haitian voodoo.

Category B: Zombies: Fictional undead creatures originally found in mythical literature, such as that age old classic, the ancient Mesopotamian Epic Poem – Gilgamesh, where we are told “the dead will go up and eat the living.” Or, in more recent centuries, Shelley’s Frankenstein or the novelette’s of H.P Lovecraft. These undead creatures appeared in fictional written and oral traditions until the 20th century when the zombie genre expanded to include film and TV (i.e. 1968 Romero classic, Night of the Living Dead.)

The Zombies that fascinate me are the second category, fictional creatures. I believe voodoo, witchcraft and satanic forces exist in this world. Demons are real. I have first-hand knowledge. They are not funny. They are not cool. I do not choose to derive pleasure from anything satanic, nor will I ever. But that is a topic for another post.

When I refer to zombies, it is the creature who, usually by the introduction of some sort of infection or virus has killed the host (i.e. – the human is dead) and the zombie virus now inhabits the body. There is nothing satanic or demonic at work, but rather a super nasty, and deadly, disease that utilizes a corpse.

So what is it exactly that fascinates me (and literally millions around the world) about the zombie genre.

Could it be the Fear of death?  Does our fear of death present in such a way that not only do we fear our own deaths, but we take it a step further and fear those things that are dead? Possible.

Yet, I do not fear death. On the other hand, I definitely do not want to get eaten alive. That would be horrible. Zombie or shark or remote jungle cannibal – really, who doesn’t fear getting eaten alive?

As I considered my fascination with the zombie genre a little longer I realized that it was not so much the zombies themselves that fascinate me but rather, the idea of Apocalypse that I find most often goes hand in hand with modern zombie stories.

If I were to ask a stranger on the street, to define “apocalypse” I believe most would define this word to mean a specific catastrophic event in which the world as we know it is destroyed and the ensuing struggle for survival in the aftermath of the event (i.e. zombie virus, Biblical prophecy, world-wide death due to flu virus, world war/bombs, collapse of the internet/electricity, etc…) Truthfully, this has become the modern definition of the word.

However, the original meaning of the Greek word, apokalypsis (apocalypse) according to Strong’s concordance is:

def 

The NAS New Testament Greek Lexicon describes apocalypse to mean:

  1. laying bear, making naked
  2. a disclosure of truth, instruction
  3. concerning things before unknown
  4. used of events by which things or states or persons hitherto withdrawn from view are made visible to all
  5. manifestation, appearance

It seems to me, the essence of apokalypsis (apocalypse) is the action of something that was once hidden and is now being revealed.

As in: Jesus revealed God to man.

“Jesus said to him, ‘Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, “Show us the Father?”’” John 14:9

If this is the essence of apocalypse, no wonder millions are fascinated with it. What is more deliciously frightening than the unknown?

I believe we have deceived ourselves into believing that what we know is all there is, and what we do not yet know is simply, undiscovered – yet, discover-able by us. However, on some level, the thought of an unknown, the revelation of that which we have never known before, or ever could know on our own, terrifies, exhilarates and ultimately utterly fascinates us.

We search for truth in that which is not true (like zombies taking over the earth) because there is something inside of us that knows there is a veil over our eyes, that there is more than we could ever come to know on our own short of a some sort of miraculous unveiling.

I suppose my fascination with the zombie apocalypse genre is more than just your everyday, common fascination with creepy stuff; I believe it is a longing for the revelation to, at last, be revealed. A crying out of my flesh and my spirit, in my own unique way, for the restoration of how things were meant to be. It is a longing for an end of this temporary existence and a stepping into the eternal existence with God, through Jesus, that has been The Creator’s intention since the beginning of time.

Call me crazy, you won’t be the first, but it won’t curb my longing for the apocalypse.

 

These are my thoughts, I proclaim freely that I am no expert, just a simple soul who loves Zombie stuff and longs for the day when the veil will be removed and all will be revealed.  I welcome discussion and corrections!

I am no Greek or Biblical scholar, but until today, I did not realize that the Greek word for apocalypse was used in the Bible. (Rom 16:25, 2 Cor. 12:7, Gal. 1:12, Eph. 3:3, Rev. 1:1 to cite just a few locations.)

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Me & You: Friend

There is something utterly sad about someone without a friend. My dad told us yesterday that the reason my neighbor Bill’s family (father & daughter) did not have a service for him after he passed away a few weeks ago was because they could not think of a single person to invite.

I cannot find a word to express how sad that is.

However, I am a FIRM believer that to have a friend, you have to be a friend. You have to put yourself out there and make it happen.

Initiate a conversation

Invite someone over or out to eat

Follow up with what you said you would do (like get together some time)

I am blessed to have a BFFF. (Best Friend for Freakin’ Forever, pardon my French)

When I was broken and alone, she pursued a relationship with me. She made it happen. Had me over. Opened up her life and her heart to me. I’m so glad she did.

396475_2976783378238_1857914490_n

She also goes with me to the tattoo parlor, takes me in when my heart is broken (twice), celebrates random holidays with me so we won’t be alone, remembers all those special events that no one else does, the list goes on…

Nothing Beats a Best Friend.

5minutefriday

This post was written for 5 minute Fridays. Find link here.

Making It Happen – HOME

HOME

Fact: Not being married negatively affects the state of my house.

This is a  follow-up/weekly post  where YOU my blog audience “come home” with me to see if having you here helps me get home improvement projects done. For previous post go here.

Premise (same as last week – if read previously – skip down to Projects.)

I find being unattached affects the status of my home improvement projects in two ways.

 

1. The fact that there is someone coming home kind of gives me a kick in the pants to get stuff done. Clean up, pick up, make improvements.

There is no one coming home.

2. I am so much more motivated to do home improvements when someone else is doing it with me.

I’ve lived in this apartment for the last three years and it’s really only been over the past six months that I’ve started to feel like this is my home. (I briefly wrote about this in my post, Dwelling.)

Then, a recent post where I discussed my cleaning habits got me thinking that maybe what I need is motivation. Since no one is coming home to motivate me, dear readers, YOU have become my motivation. I plan to post two small home improvement projects that I would like to work on during the next week and then follow up with you next Wednesday to see if this kind of accountability works for me.

Projects:

Gardening. Thank you for all the wonderful suggestions last week! I did get out and clean up and made some decisions for the planting. STARTED!

seeds

 

I’ll also plant tomatoes. Planting for the Northeast is May-June – so I have a few weeks until these go in the ground.

My 5 year old, P, chose the sunflowers. They’re my favorites, so she didn’t have to convince me. 🙂

Garden 2

I’ve decided to take this plot out and put in a glider or picnic table. Bye bye.

lilac

 

My beloved lilac tree is blooming. ❤ P and I mulched the front of the house this week – squirrels are already digging it up. Furry Monsters.

Earlier this week I wrote about my neighbor dying (here) and how that affects my Making it HAPPEN posts. Home improvement projects are on a short hiatus until we can move into the other half of the apartment later next month. (we hope) Then it’s gonna get CRAZY.

 

Projects for this week:

Clean fridge. (No pictures. You’re welcome. )

Clean out dining room closet.

closet

Welcome to my life. This is why I need this weekly post, without you, Beloved Readers, cleaning this out DOESN’T happen.

death. Life, Living, Everlasting Life and ETERNITY

It’s Sunday afternoon and my neighbor was found dead this morning. This is not the first paragraph of a crime novel, it really happened.

A little after 8:00 AM I was on the way to the basement to get the clean laundry so we’d have something to wear to church. As I passed through my office at the front of the house I noticed police lights flashing outside and that an officer was walking toward my neighbor’s door. As I moved in for a closer look out the window I saw the body of my neighbor lying in the rain next to the trash and recycling buckets.

I ran through the kitchen and opened the front door and saw that poor Bill was not passed out as I hoped, but that he was dead in a puddle of water.

Let me pause to explain our bizarre living situation. I live in a 120 year old Victorian that at some point mid-century was divided into two apartments and offices. This unique division means that several parts of the house are inevitably shared living. So Bill was not a “far-away” neighbor but a man I saw and spoke with almost daily. The door to the basement which led to the clean laundry that we were about to wear to church, was in his kitchen.

In fact, I was the last one, to my knowledge, to speak to Bill, in person at least. The oven in my kitchen has been broken for months and it has just been easier to come downstairs and use Bill’s oven for all my baking and cooking needs. He didn’t mind, he never used it. Last night I was pulling out pork chops and baked potatoes and Bill came stumbling in from outside.

He was in his late sixties, a life-long smoker and was deeply depressed. He was alone in the world except for a daughter and a ninety year old father. Last week my dad and brother had to call Bill’s family to look in on him because it was clear to those of us who saw him on a daily basis that he was unwell, not eating and fading away. This wintery winter had been hard on him.

His daughter took him for a full check-up last week and the report was good. Bill even perked up for a few days! But last night he was not right. Dizzy. Unstable. I helped him to his seat and talked with him a bit. I asked if the medicine was making him dizzy and he said it did. I told him to call me on my cell phone if he needed me, I would come.

That’s the last time we spoke.

After the events of this morning I wish I had called my dad last night to come and check on Bill. In hindsight, I would have done things differently, yet I will live with my decision. He had been so weak for so long that his appearance was not as alarming as it should have been to me.

I am saddened that his body had to be found outside in the rain by a passerby. I am sad that he seemed to have nothing to live for and chose to fade away.

I am glad that his body was found on a Sunday morning and not a weekday when my children would have been walking to school and witnessed it. I’m thankful he died in an open place where he was found and not in his bed so that after a few days myself or my brother (who works here) would have smelled his remains.

This is raw. And this is honest.

Bill did not have a relationship with the Healer of Hearts, Jesus Christ.  That is the saddest news of all.

His death, as with all situations of this kind, has opened a door of conversation with my own children about life, living, everlasting life and eternity, so I will treasure and nurture these conversations. If there is only one glimmer of sweetness in this tragic, bitter end, those conversations are it.

death

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(E for Eternity & Everlasting Life)

 

PS – this was written last Sunday.

Making It Happen at Home – BEDROOMS

MIH BR

My neighbor died this week and that will greatly affect my Making it Happen posts in the coming weeks/months. More on this below – like all the way below…

Fact: Not being married negatively affects the state of my house.

This is a  follow-up/weekly post  where YOU my blog audience “come home” with me to see if having you here helps me get home improvement projects done. For previous post go here.

Premise (same as last week – if read previously – skip down to Projects.)

I find being unattached affects the status of my home improvement projects in two ways.

1. The fact that there is someone coming home kind of gives me a kick in the pants to get stuff done. Clean up, pick up, make improvements.

There is no one coming home.

2. I am so much more motivated to do home improvements when someone else is doing it with me.

I’ve lived in this apartment for the last three years and it’s really only been over the past six months that I’ve started to feel like this is my home. (I briefly wrote about this in my post, Dwelling.)

Then, a recent post where I discussed my cleaning habits got me thinking that maybe what I need is motivation. Since no one is coming home to motivate me, dear readers, YOU have become my motivation. I plan to post two small home improvement projects that I would like to work on during the next week and then follow up with you next Wednesday to see if this kind of accountability works for me.

Projects:

1. Paint and shabby chic vintage vanity in my bedroom. DONE!

Before

 vanity

 

After

vanity I realize that this looks pretty crappy in the picture – it actually looks pretty good in real life. I do need to put some kind of sealant or something on top, but I’ll get to that. I probably added a little too much baking soda paste to the white paint and I’m sure I should have sanded the whole piece first – which I didn’t – but all in all, I’m happy with it. I found the recipe for the paint here.

 

The part where I tell you why my neighbor dying affects my Making it Happen momentum:

I will be blogging about this in more detail in a couple days, but the short story is, when I say neighbor, I mean the person who shares this residence with me. I live in an old Victorian that is split into two apartments and offices. Both apartments and offices share common areas, so my neighbor is not someone far away, but a person I see everyday and whose kitchen I need to walk into to go down to the basement to do my laundry. Communal like that.

For the last three years my daughters and I have shared two bedrooms and one bathroom, not the worst life by far, but with the death of my neighbor and the other half of the house opening up, we will be expanding into two more bedrooms, a large kitchen and another bathroom. All four of these rooms are in terrible shape and will need much work. Hence – why things are kind of in a flux right now.

My goal, after painting the vanity was to redo my BEDROOM (B for A to Z Challenge). However, my present bedroom is now to become my ten year old’s bedroom – I’m moving down to the second floor, etc. What this means is:

Projects for this week:

Gardening. I’ve got a black thumb, but my neighbor left some nice little plots that need to be cleaned up and planted.

garden 4

There have been tomatoes, peppers and flowers in here in the past. Any suggestions for good things to grow in the Northeast? Keep in mind my Black Thumb.

Garden 2

My own little plot. I’ve only ever gotten cilantro to grow here – I planted wildflowers in the Fall – we’ll see how they work out.

Grandmom's rose

My Grandmother LOVED pink and LOVED roses. She moved these roses from house to house three times before moving them here in the early eighties (She lived in this house for many years.) I cannot wait til they bloom again, this picture is from the Fall.

I realize the news of my neighbor’s passing is glossed over in this post, the reason being, I have an entire post dedicated to it already written and ready to post in a couple days.