We were recently snowed in for a week making our Christmas vacation from school three weeks off instead of the customary two. While I am not a fan of snow in any amount I am a fan of a three week break. Telling myself each day that the days off were God's way of telling me He loves me best. The first three days were golden and while the final two days were equally as pleasing I had started to resign myself to the fact that we were never going to leave the house again.
My husband being in the line of work he is in had to go to work no matter what level of travel status we were. I will be honest here and tell you that there were days we just stayed in our pajamas. Other days we just hung out in sweats. My hair was never styled and my make up never put on. For what purpose would they have served? If you can't relax and be real with the people in your house then who can you? Laundry was done, meals were prepared and a great deal of movies were watched and some intense games of Scrabble were played. I found myself in a place of contentment that told me that I could stay that way forever. We were living in a frozen tundra what did we need to leave for? My husband could bring home supplies. We never had to leave again. We would go through our lives as hermits and that was that.
Until Friday after lunch when...my husband deemed it safe to take our son and his friend sledding. He was off work for the day and couldn't wait to take the boys to have some fun. I stayed behind with the girls. One of my girls has a part time job and had to go to work later in the afternoon so we were staying behind so she could get ready and my other daughter and I could well ...do much of what we had been doing for three weeks...sit and relax.
When my husband returned he as well as my daughter (the one who did not have to go to work heretofore to be referred to as the traitor) decided we would all be venturing out. Sticking a monkey wrench into my hermit lifestyle plans. It is an interesting thing to go out when you have been in for a week. Mind you I had stepped onto the porch but that is as far as I had gone. After all everyone has to have snow cream sometimes right? But we went out out. Out of the house, into the car, and onto the road not just venturing out of the house but into town. It was an odd feeling. The air was so fresh. We took our oldest to work and then asked Megan where she wanted to go.
We ended up at Kohl's where we bought nothing. Then we went to Hobby Lobby where we bought nothing but found so many things we wanted. We ended at the restaurant that no one wants to go to alone and apparently everyone in the county decided to go to also, Applebee's. We walked into a crowd resembling the Tickle Me Elmo fiasco of the 90's. I walked up to the hostess to give her my name and she directed me to another hostess to put my name on her list first. This has never happened at any time to us when we have gone here. All of a sudden I'm in an episode of Seinfeld.
Megan and I stayed to wait out the 20-25 minutes is was supposed to take to get seated while the boys went to look at an electronics store. So I look at Megan and say, "Two lists? Why are there two lists? Do we have to make our way up the first list to get onto the other list? Are they even communicating with each other? Do they have walkies? Is it 20-25 minutes to get seated or just to make it onto the list inside the restaurant?" Megan looks up at me and says, "I don't know." "You don't know? Hey! I see someone I know. I think I'll go ask her, she was here before us." I then get a glare and "Sure just leave me here alone." "Fine I'll stay here but don't you have questions?" "No." She says. So I stand there contemplating what is happening. Watching the people come in and not once watching the hostesses communicate with each other. My daughter sees an opening on the bench and we go sit down.
"Seriously? Have you seen them talk to each other? We've been here almost a half an hour. Two lists! What is this New York? Why do they need two lists?" A blank stare. "Well I'm going to go up and ask where we are." I go up to the hostess. "Excuse me can you tell me where we are on the list? Heather party of four?" She responds with, "Which person did you give your name to me or the other lady." "The other lady." (I knew there was a problem with this system.) She looks up and down the list and finally finds us. She points and say, "Well you are here and I am right up here." I retreat to my seat. "You are here? What is she a map of the mall? Time? I need to know a time! How much longer? That was the question." All things that I am saying in my head of course at this point because Megan apparently doesn't realize we are in the middle of a Seinfeld episode in my mind.
When we finally get seated I tell my husband about being in a Seinfeld episode. He smiled indulgently at me and by the time our food arrives nothing else exists. A meal provided by someone who isn't me is a beautiful thing to all of us. After dinner we walked the dying mall and it does not occur to me that I have left my umbrella in the restaurant until it is time to go home. When I arrived I noticed they are still just as busy because like I said EVERYONE in the county decided to go to Applebee's after a long winter's nap. I retrieve my umbrella and find people I know. I stopped to say hello and then asked if they were going with the two lists thing. They replied that they were and I went into my bit. They smiled...apparently I'm the only one who thought it was like being in a Seinfeld episode.
Now that I can see the road and see the grass outside. I can't help but wonder if my attitude about leaving the house this last week was a wake up call. Now that I'm free to leave of my own volition I can see how I can get sucked into the mentality that I never have to move again from the comfort and confines of my own home. While I did take a break and enjoy time with my family is that enough? I communicated very little with the outside world and I was happy. This is a frightening thought. How can you make a difference if you settle in? How can you share the love of Jesus if you aren't communicating with anyone except the people in your house? While I believe that everything starts at home it is only when we branch out that we can change. I didn't write one word while on my break and maybe I could have gone the rest of my life never writing again. Just sitting on my couch watching the world go by without me. But then I wouldn't be able to make a difference at all in the world and you can't do that without going out into the world or at least writing to them.
So now that the deep freeze is over and Applebee's is hopefully back to normal we are going out. We are venturing into town and looking at the world around us. Noticing the Seinfeld bits that are waiting to happen in restaurants and I'm back to the laptop to share our stories and taking a break from my break on my favorite couch. Stay tuned.