Thursday, December 29, 2011

Holiday no man's land

Today is Thursday, December 29, 2011. Christmas is over, New Years is still a few days away and those bargain hunters have already hit the malls for the big boxing day sales. Some people are back to work either for the whole week or a day or two between more statutory days off. For the employee without benefits or who work in a 24/7 business they have traded days and altered schedules to get some family time. For me, it is Thursday which means baking day for tomorrow's farm market.

I look back on last years Christmas which was quiet, our first alone without any extended family and not really any friends to share the day with. We had no living room and very little in the way of furniture so we crammed the dining table, Christmas tree, chairs, gifts - what we had - all into the small dining room off the kitchen. It was cozy, we dressed it up, but it did fall a bit flat for us all. Yet at the same time, it was peaceful and we were together, warm, in our own home and we were beginning our own traditions.

This year was different. I made a commitment to my family that we WOULD have a living room this year. Yes, there would be a TV (maybe not hooked up to satellite, but a TV), sofa's and a tree in the room for us to enjoy. In November I discovered that I could put furniture on lay-a-way at Home Hardware/Home Furniture. I loved this idea! I could get the sale, pick what I want, pay within 3 months for pick up AND get Aeroplan miles. It seemed like a no brainer!

Of course I then had to work my butt off to pay for them. I dragged Len in - he did not kick and scream but you could see him groaning and wishing he could be elsewhere in his mind. He is good though, he came along, but was not big on giving me much feedback. We did agree on one thing - no fabric sofa's. With the kids, the farm and the potential of discoloured furniture that would not come clean, we agreed on leather. 

Yes, I loved the giant plush leather sofa's with the recline options and drink holders. I do have good taste - just not a big budget, so I quickly walked away from anything that looked as soft as butter and had a warm creamy leather texture.

Off we went to the sale section. I was thrilled to find I could get two leather three seater pieces for an incredibly reasonable price, the pieces were attached so none of that annoying sliding off the couch, or losing coins between the cushions. My only worry was that the set was too small. It looked so lost in the furniture store with the mammoth sets surrounding it.

For the month of November and December I worked hard, had baking orders, didn't plan much for Christmas for the girls because if we had a living room that was going to hit and beyond on the normal budget. I did pick them up a few things along the way that I thought they would like - for the most part I was right and a few things got the look - "Who are you Grandma? I would never use this!" with a laugh at my senility.

I have to admit that in the midst of all this I kind of forgot my loving husband and didn't get him much. (He does have about a year's supply of licorice though!) I don't worry much about spousal gifts - every year I tell Len that I would rather just have food, alcohol, fun and get the kids some stuff. I am not a wife who gets mad about the wrong gift or no gift, that is just not me.

Well, as you may recall, Len was away for a week, we were in a deep freeze in New Brunswick and I was very busy with last minute baking orders as well as the farm, kids and travel to get him from the airport. I was also sick for about 4 days, not completely sick, but enough to slow me down and make everything an effort. 

I was very grateful when two days before Len was to return from BC he called and suggested that we book a hotel for the night he arrived home so that I did not have to deal with night weather. Considering the fact that I had to make two trips to Fredericton that day, had been up until 2am the night before and he did not arrive until after midnight - I quickly said YES! Yes! 

During my multiple trips to Fredericton on the Wednesday of pick up we had a storm. Awful weather! Everything you could think of starting with blinding bright sun, dark gray sky, freezing rain, thick snow, ice, rain and slush on the road. I was exhausted!

The next day we had to rush back from Fredericton since I had an order to get out that day and had to bake the rest of my orders for the following day. I was up again for half the night, up early in the morning to bake pies and pack and decorate to deliver to my customers. 

By the time we left home, with the truck full and me mentally counting the cash on hand, in the bank and the funds coming in from the orders of the day, I knew I had JUST enough money to buy one sofa - not two. I had realized a day before that this was the case and decided I was still achieving the dream - meeting my promise of a living room and we would have a cozy Christmas. (Of course accomplishing this left me short for the Christmas turkey and a few other things like fuel, was a bit panicky... yet I was sure it would all come together!)

We finally left home to drive to market - it was 10am and snowing hard. We were late and I hoped that my message to the market and my customers would either have them wait for me or come back... (heart fluttery and anxiety setting in). The drive was horrendous and at any other time I would have turned around to go home. I was so tired, I had bags under the bags of my red rimmed eyes. If one didn't know better they would have thought I just traveled across the country and was dealing with the time change rather than Len. 

We finally got to the market, only slid and almost hit the ditch once, love my repaired 4x4! We no sooner pulled up to the market then Glenn came out to help take stuff in and in his own words so eloquently said "Where the hell ya been? People have been here for you!" I said "Oh Glenn! Will they come back???" He figured most would since they did read the Facebook status update on our group. There were also several people waiting for me and in a matter of minutes almost all of my trays went out hand to hand to the customers and I had a pocket full of cash.

Three trays left... without those trays I would not make the payment by noon to the furniture store to make delivery that afternoon. I stood by Len and Glenn and pulled out my piece of paper and counted and calculated and figured and panicked... At this point my heart was beating faster, my breath shallow and my mind manic... I had to do it! This was all I wanted for Christmas, to give my family a living room!

I was beating myself up since the week before I bought a TV for the house. It was our first TV since the move and I had to grab the deal since a 32" Phillips flat screen LED TV was on for only $218! That however, had left me short for today. I finally asked Len if I could borrow a few dollars until later in the day when my customers came. I really wanted to do this on my own, for our family and was disappointed to have to ask him for help. 

He lives on a minimum pension and there is not much left for him after the mortgage, plus he had just been to BC. What if he said no???? I finally started to ask him, fear rising in my throat, what if...? Of course, being the kind, loving, caring man he was and seeing how hard I was working for it, he said "of course."

Sometimes, I wonder why I think it will be bad? I have nothing to worry about with him, he is a great guy, loves me tons, even thought I was beautiful standing there in front of him, harried with almost no sleep, jeans tucked into my chicken shit boots that had I had not had time to clean, red flaky eyes and shuddering breath... He is definitely a keeper!

Len asked Glenn to watch our table and I gave him the who's who on orders and we walked to the furniture store down the street. I was so grateful to him for helping me and knew that I could pay him right back. My heart was racing since we had to pay the store by 12 noon and it was 11:45 and stormy and snowy... what if they had cancelled deliveries or left early?

Fortunately we found the right clerk and he assured us that the truck had not left, deliveries were being made and they would only charge $30 (which for where we live is an amazing price!) As the sales clerk rang up the till and I gave her all of my cash, then my debit, it was now Len's turn. He asked her how much was left - only $130. ( I was so close!)

He then said "No, for the other sofa too." She told him... He said "Add it on the truck and I will pay for that too." I was stunned! I looked at him and he turned to me, smiled and said, "Merry Christmas, I love you honey." I was speechless... but not for long, I was so overwhelmed, I said, "What? You don't have to do that!" Him, "I want to , this is my gift to you, I love you." Waaahhh!

I told him I was going to cry, at which point the sales clerk said no, or she would cry too... sorry, can't help it! Tears of joy welled up in my eyes, my throat unlocked and out poured my release, my happiness, my love for him. No, it wasn't about stuff, it was about working together, my wanting to do this for our family so bad and his opening his heart (and wallet) to help me. I love you my handsome!

I didn't stop crying all day, every time I told someone or thought about it, or looked at him with all my love - CRY! Happy tears though. I have wept enough sad ones in my life and today it was pure unadulterated love for him.

Needless to say, the children were thrilled and loved it. We have a living room! We have a room that is not stored with junk or boxes, it contains a brand new TV, two beautiful black leather sofa's, a gorgeous Christmas tree and the home theatre system that Santa brought for Christmas. More than all that, the living room contains our family. The people I love most in the world. It has been a beautiful Christmas, it was white with fresh snow, warm with wood burning in the fire, loving surrounded by the people who mean most.

The final piece to this story... Len has now been the biggest user of our couches. Sadly he turned to get grain for the goat on Christmas night and put his back out just before dinner. He was in excruciating pain and spent the next two and a half days pretty much laid up on his back... on the sofa enjoy the TV and movies! Wow, so glad it all worked out! I am also happy to say that he is up and moving around again and so long as he takes it easy and keeps the Superman cape off for awhile longer, he should continue to improve! (Love you my handsome!)

I hope you all had an amazing holiday 
filled with ordinary miracles that fill our lives.
 Happy New Year for 2012!


Marisa Cardin said...

Amazing story Sarah! Reading it brought tears to my eyes too as I visualized the different scenes you lovingly described. You are a lucky woman to have so much love around you. May 2012 be filled with love, happiness, and continued success for you and your family. Happy new year! Marisa

.........Sarah Sherman said...

From Darla D: Loved your blog! Brought tears to my eyes, the funny thing is I could see you so clearly in my minds eye. Much love to your family, have a fantastic year in 2012. And enjoy your family room, as you worked so hard to get it

From Lisa S:Thats all most of us need: our family in one room. Merry Christmas.

From Lyndon C: Awesome

From Sonja F: Your story on your blog was so sweet. Sounds like it was struggle for you to believe that you deserve to be spoiled a little now and then. Len sounds like a wonderful person.

Thank you all for your words. It has been wonderful. I am blessed. I am glad you were able to feel the emotions I felt... Life is good and I am grateful. Happy New Year!

len sherman said...

Oh honey - you certainly blew me out of proportion - don't need to take off my Superman cape, just need a sharp needle to puncture me and let the air out - what can I say, loves my Sarah - the couches are comfortable but not as comfortable as the love you give in return - thank you for being my wife.

.........Sarah Sherman said...

Oh to my handsome, it meant the world to me. I am welling up with tears again now. I love you tons and forever and love that we have purchased/acquired almost everything we currently have together. It is OUR LIFE and I love it! <3 love you always, Sarah <3

.........Sarah Sherman said...

From Lesley C: It's almost like a TV Christmas movie!! Loved it and yes, I teared up too. bless you both!

Thank you Lesley, it was a beautiful moment and all I can do is smile when I am in my beautiful room with my family.