Some Days I Run the Ball Straight Into the Uncomfort Zone

A couple of nights ago, our friend John called and begged me to help him out with a little project.

I wasn’t at all concerned with what the project would be, and I emphatically said, “Sure. What’re you doing?”

And this is what he was doing, people: He was making phone calls to members of our political party here in Sector Whatever of Small Town, USA to remind them to get out and vote on Tuesday, November 2nd, and to tell them that their voting spot had been moved to a new location.

And John wanted me to take a list of names and call them.

Yes, people, he was asking me to call complete strangers. And a LOT of them!

So, you know, TOTALLY OUT OF MY COMFORT ZONE.

And then John offered up the golden nugget of persuasion: A bag of homemade cookies from his wife, Ruthie.

People, Ruthie can get her cookie baking ON! We don’t call her Mrs. Fields for nothing.

With a bag filled to the brim with giant gingersnaps sitting on my kitchen counter, I was pretty much powerless to say no, even though we make our children practice this all the time.

“Just say NO when someone asks you to do something that you’re uncomfortable doing!”

“Just say NO when someone offers you a Ziploc baggie full of little, dried leaves!”

“Just say NO when John calls you and asks if you’ll make phone calls to strangers and remind them to vote!”

Naturally, I turned right around, called Cody and said, “Listen. I’m bringing some Starbucks goodies to your house this morning, and you are going to help me call strangers!”

The poor girl didn’t know what hit her.

So, with our cups of love from The Bucks in our hands, Cody and I sat at her kitchen table and ran the phone lines. We made call after call after call, and I’m not sure how I lucked out, but I seemed to hit all the answering machines this morning, while Cody got the live ones who wanted to engage her in meaningful conversations about politics, and turning this country around and bringing it back to what our forefathers intended for it to be.

I tried to work up a little sympathy for her, but I just couldn’t. I was simply singing the praises because, time after time, I kept hearing the voice in my ear that said, “We’re not at home right now; please leave a message after the beep.”

The best one of the morning was this one, though: “I’m sorry. The number you have dialed is no longer in service or has been disconnected.”

Total score!

I did end up with one gentleman on the line, and when I began my rehearsed (and VERY QUICK!) speech, he shouted out in his 100-year-old voice, “Save your breath, honey! I ALREADY VOTED ABSENTEE!”

Well then.

After calling enough strangers to populate Canada, Cody and I began to realize that maybe we were blessed with the gift of calling strangers (or strangers’ answering machines, as my luck ran), and we began to wonder if we shouldn’t maybe work the phone lines a little differently.

“We’re calling to remind you to vote, and could you give $5 — just five little dollars, which is barely the cost of a venti drink from Starbucks — to the cause? Your $5 donation could help hire a landscaper for the Jedi Manor’s backyard next spring. Pray about it; dig deep into your soul, and ask yourself if you couldn’t part with some spare change.”

This plan sounded rather grand to us, until we remembered the exact definition of the word extortion and began remembering such big cases as the Enron scandal.

But really? The thought of being confined to an 8-foot-by-8-foot cell all day with a book to read and plenty of time for a nap was a little on the attractive side to me, until I realized that there is no Starbucks in prison.

And that successfully snapped me out of my plans to extort money out of registered voters in order to fund my little landscaping project.

After Cody and I had successfully called our entire LONG list of names, I headed off to teach PE, which was relatively uneventful today.

No kindergarten drama.

No 4th graders being beamed in the head with a wildly-thrown dodgeball.

This evening, after sending the boy to youth group with Carter, Hubs and I scrambled down to the new pizzeria hot spot, where we met Tyler and Heather and the biggest meat-lover’s pizza this side of the Mississippi. We all got salads, too, and when the four of us sat down at our table, we realized one thing.

My salad was substantially larger than the other three salads.

As in, I had a salad that looked like a meal for two adults in itself, while Hubs, Heather and Tyler had nice little dinner-sized salads.

I blame the lettuce. I simply started with entirely too much lettuce as the base for my salad sculpture, and, by the time I’d added green peas and black beans and red peppers and red onions and broccoli and carrots, I had a mountain of vegetables tall enough to satisfy an Easter Bunny on steroids.

It wasn’t much of a shocker when the pizza was ready, and I was no longer hungry.

The little pizza parlor is turning into Small Town’s hub for socialization, too. Tonight, we ran into five other families that we knew, so it was fun to see everyone. Plus, Hubs and I adore Heather and Tyler, and we laughed like hyenas packed full of caffeine, so, you know, GREAT FUN!

And then, as if I hadn’t already crammed enough into my Wednesday, I picked the boy and Carter up from youth group this evening, and I had to come home, breathe into a paper sack in order to calm the nerves, and use the hot glue gun IN A CRAFTY SORT OF WAY to construct a crown for the boy’s Halloween costume.

I may have mentioned once or eleventy-six times that the crafting and I are not particularly close friends, and I managed to successfully burn my right thumb with a dollop of hot glue tonight. This is why I have always shelled out major dollars for PURCHASED-ONLINE-AND-DELIVERED-RIGHT-TO-THE-COMFORT-OF-YOUR-FRONT-DOOR-WHILE-YOU-STAY-IN-YOUR-PAJAMAS costumes. No amount of money is too much to pay for some Halloween get-up, as long as Mama doesn’t have to get her crafting on.

But the crown! Goodness, but King Solomon never had anything quite as grand as this! As if the silver spray paint that Hubs doused the crown in wasn’t enough, the faux jewels and sequins that I laboriously glued to the front of it pushed it to the top of the CROWN JEWELS THAT TAKE OUR BREATH AWAY list.

The Hope Diamond had nothing on this baby!

Between the phone calls to strangers and all the glue-gun maneuvering, I feel like I’m plum worn out and in desperate need of a nerve pill or six tonight.

Thankfully, I think last night’s episode of Glee on our DVR might be just the calm-down prescription I’ve been needing, especially since Glee tricked me last week and TOTALLY DIDN’T AIR AN EPISODE! I was all set to watch what my DVR had supposedly recorded, and then blam! Nothing! I had nothing recorded, because there was no Glee last week, and that certainly racked up a whole casserole dish of deep disappointment for me.

Happy Wednesday night, y’all.

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