Friday, January 31, 2014


Every wise woman buildeth her house: but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.

I am blessed. I have the most wonderful Mr Geek on the planet. I sincerely and deeply appreciate everything he does for our family, working the overly stressful job tirelessly to provide for the family,  fixing all the broken items -from broken cars to broken barbies and toy trucks, leading our family with honor and wisdom and dignity,  giving me the gift of sincere and fascinating conversation, his unwaivering support of homeschooling our precious brood, very protective of me and our young family, choosing to spend all his spare time (which isn't much) with them and investing in them, and his dedication and humility towards his family. 

It was not always that way. We had a terrible time in our marriage. I didnt think our fragile union would survive.

But that is a story I will begin another day.

For those who live in the middle of our country, you know that we have been having record-setting low temps and snowfall. Over the last three weeks we have barely even left the house (causing some serious cabin fever in my five monkeys -I just can't send them out to play when the wind chill is 24 below!) And my Sweet Geek has battled his emotions of concern sending his medical curriers out in this terrible weather -knowing that the conditions they are driving in are life threatening, but also knowing that the elderly recipients of the medication they deliver are facing life threatening situations themselves.  What a burden to bear. 

And yet, each day he came home and slept, then tackled the chest high drifts in our driveway without complaint.  

I was wishing that there was a way to lighten his load. I sincerely thought that I could do a little snowblowing so he could get some more sleep or catch up on something else.  But I had no idea just how hard that would be.

On Friday night the roads were so horrific that Larry was stuck 30ish miles away in the city where he works. On Saturday morning he called me: "I am SURE the driveway has drifted over. It has drifted every day for the last three weeks.  You are going to have to start the snowblower and make at least enough of a path for me to walk in and take over. Take the path of least resistance and get to the road.  Now listen carefully..."

He then proceeded to describe the complicated way to start the snowblower.  

First you turn one knob, then another, then pump a thing three times,  then plug it in, then hold down yet another button for three seconds. But it wont start then,  so you turn one of the knobs back one notch, then it was frozen so I had to free the thrower, then I had to stand on my head, sing the alphabet backwards, do the hokey-pokey ... you get the idea. It was the most tempermental, sideways, ridiculous thing I have ever had to coax into action. Ever. 

More than my kids. Yes. Really.

More tempermental than my first car -a 1978 Chevy Impala Station Wagon. And that is really saying something. That thing was a beast.

So I FINALLY got the ornery thing started. 

Out I set, by this time Larry is parked across the street, waiting for me.  He had purchased a shovel at the store on his way down, and was at the other end of our 40 yard driveway shoveling towards me.  My two oldest girls, viewing this for what it was, an adventure, climbed over the drifts and headed out to joyfully greet him and help shovel from that end. 

Ok. The path of least resistance. 
The path of least resistance. 
The path of least resistance. 

Ok. That looks like the best way to go. 

I headed down the east side of our driveway. It appeared to be the best route. About halfway down I realized that the snowblower was determined to go halfway on the grass. 

Now, let me take a moment to say that the difficult way to start this machine was a great indication of how difficult it was to manage the thing! It is like an unruly dog. It needs a firm hand. Much firmer than mine. 

So, here I was, the grass on the left, and a shoulder high drift on my right.

Hmmmm. I think my assesment of "the path of least resistance" was badly done. Not working.

So what do you do when you make a mistake? You admit it and make it right. I acknowledged defeat and backed up to attempt another route. The middle of the driveway was the highest point of the drift,  so I cut across and tried down the west side. It seemed to be going well enough until I hit this large chunk of ice. It was nearly as high as a cinder block and twice as wide. I just couldn't get it over or around it. Once again admitting defeat I headed back to my first defeat and tried to cut through the shoulder high drift. 

By this time I was completely exhausted.

I knew it was hard, but this was beyond me. I asked God, no, I BEGGED, for strength and courage and just kept plugging forward.  

All of a sudden I noticed oil dumping out of the snowblower. NOT a little. A LOT. 

If you know anything about engines that require oil, you know this is a very, VERY bad sign. 

My own knowledge is limited,  but this I knew was not good. I let go and stepped away and started yelling for Sweet Geek in a bonifide PANIC.

Aaaaack! I BUSTED his only snowblower, I was thinking. He, being the darling he is, waded through the only hip-deep drifts to see what I was panicked about. I think he injured himself coming to my rescue. 

Turns out I was tipping it too much and was dumping oil out of the oil well. I was SO relieved I didn't ruin the snowblower! Mechanical things, and electronics and I DO NOT get along. Maybe that is one reason why my first car and I didn't get along. I just don't do well. I ruin phones and computers in the most ridiculous ways. My Sweet Geek is constantly saying, "What did you do NOW?!"

So he checked it out and everything was fine. I was overwhelmed with gratefulness at the bullet dodged!

And I have never been so happy to hand a task over to someone else in my life. 

I think I would rather change 100 poopie diapers than ever run that machine ever again. like, EVER.

So I climbed over the drifts to help the girls dig towards him from the other direction.

We tackled it with vigor, knowing that every shovel of snow we threw was one less bit of snow thing Sweet Geek had to deal with. 

Now, this fall, for the first time in my life I discovered that cold weather produced breathing problems for me. I had been training for a 5k, but was forced to discontinue after needing an inhaler for EVERY SINGLE RUN.  So, when using ANY exertion outside, I have my inhaler with me and use it. Ugh. 

So I was prepared I had tucked my inhaler into my pocket, thinking that having it close to my skin would be enough to keep it warm, right? 


On came the asthma attack. I pulled it out and used it.

When the frozen mist hit my lungs like 1000 tiny icicles stabbing the inside of my lungs, I knew I was in trouble. I waded my way back to the house over four foot drifts, feeling lightheaded and my legs like jelly and headed inside. 

I laid down on the couch, my chest hurting, and rested while the medicine icicles in me lungs melted and started working. After a half hour or so, he sent the girls in so they didnt get too cold.

After a few hours of resting I looked at the clock and out the window. At this point realized how little progress Sweet Geek had made. It was about three hours later, and he had still not been able to punch a wide enough hole through the drift to allow even enough room to pull the van in. So once again I bundled up and headed out, and for two more hours we worked together. I walked behind him breaking down the drifts for his next pass. I was careful not to exert myself too much and get to breathing hard. I just knew he could never get it done in time to head back to his evening job without some help. I even wrestled with the snowblower for a couple passes so he could get a warm cup of coffee. 

By the time we were done I was aching all over. I used muscles I forgot I had! Oh, boy. Did I ever ache! All told, it took seven hours to get a path wide enough to not get stuck in. SEVEN HOURS! 

But I realized something. My oldest, Monkey See, said it best. 

She watched me struggle with the snowblower and said, "Dad sure makes that look easy, doesn't he?"

Yes, Monkey See, he does.

I realized that my husband is really good at hiding so many difficult things he faces every day. Sometimes I am given a glimpse from him how many different things he wrestles with because he is a 
definite "words person." He loves to tell me about his day.

 But men who aren't words guys, who struggle to communicate with their wives, who don't want to or can't put words to the way their day made them feel might not have the tools to express what their struggles are.  Even my Sweet Geek with his superior communication skills has trouble puting words to it. And he doesn't want to complain.  how many men carry burdens feeling so alone because they think they must just "suck it up" and refuse to complain?

We as women seem to have an easy time wording the struggles of our day. I have read so many, many blogs where women talk about the endless stream of dirty diapers, shirts we have worn for three showerless days covered in spit-up and baby food in our hair, the riggors of frantically locking the bathroom door so we can poo in peace -hoping against hope that they are distracted enough by Backyardigans that they don't destroy anything before you can finish. Because you haven't pooped alone in three months. 

And I am not saying that those blogs and personal accounts aren't important. They are!  They aren't only important, they are crucial. They not only help all of us who share similar experiences to realize we are not alone in our struggles,  but it also gives those outside our experience an opportunity to have an insight into our lives.  They can have empathy in our situation. They can see new perspectives and have a window into vastly different lifestyle than their own. It is powerful.

Words are powerful. Writing words is powerful too. It is a form of therapy.

But the male blogs are simply not as common.  I think that men have plenty to say, but they dont seem generally express it in the same ways as we do. 

Sometimes we need to set our rough day aside for a moment and read between the lines.

Not only do so many men just not sit around and talk about their feelings (can you IMAGINE that night out with the boys? I am giggling just thinking about it!), but they can't always tell us what they need. Even my uber-verbal Sweet Geek just can't seem to say, "I really need to to support me today because I am falling apart here." or "I missed you today and all I want is for you to seem really happy to see me!"

And, UGH! How often am I so wrapped up in my own little set of problems that I forget he has a set of them too? How frequently do we women lash out our frustration aimed at him when he gets home? How often do we dismiss his feelings because, hey! at least he gets to poop without an audience?

  His rough day, his exhaustion is every bit as valid as my own.

 When he comes in saying "I am so tired."

I have ZERO right to say "You have no idea what tired is! I got no sleep last night with the baby and still had to function today!"


Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. 

Your frustrating day does not make his rough day worthless.  

How much better would it be if we could understand and build instead of tear down?

Would it hurt us, really, to say, "I am so sorry you are tired. I know how you feel. I am exhausted too. Tell me about your tiring day while I rock the baby and then I'll tell you about mine."


"Honey, it means a lot to me that you work so hard at your job. Thank you." 


"I am so glad God gave me you!"


"I am so glad you are home!"

A couple of scriptures to think on:

Proverbs 14:1

Every wise woman buildeth her house: 
but the foolish plucketh it down with her hands.

If you aren't respecting and actively BUILDING UP your husband (and children), then you are tearing down your household. You tear him down, you are dealing your own destruction. 

Matthew 7:12

Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, 
do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.

You want to be appreciated.  So appreciate.  
You want to be loved. So love. 
You want to be forgiven when you fail. So forgive.
You want to be listened to. So listen.
You wish to be understood. So make and effort to understand him.

Even when he doesn't appreciate you. 
Even when he is crabby. 
Even when he hold stuff against you. 
Even when he fails you.

Cut him some slack. 

You want to be respected, right?
So respect. Even when he doesnt deserve it.

I know that I couldn't without my Faith.  

Tell me about your hubby. What does he do that you are very glad you dont have to do?

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