“This Week in Paradise” (July 9, 2012)

“This Week in Paradise” July 9

Last week marked one of the first of our recorded “weeks in Paradise” in which there were no stories about our son Michael. I can assure you, that was only because I did not record some of his many quips, with which he keeps us very entertained in our “old age”! We will remedy the lack of Michael stories right off this week:

NOT Your A Beka Story Line

Cheryl had just talked to me about how Michael was developing a “teenager” attitude, and I told her that although we need to “choose our battles”, attitude is a big one, and we should indeed work on this. All this to say …

Last Monday Michael was doing his chores, and he came in to tell Cheryl that he had finished. Cheryl said, “I want to go out and check your weed-eating at the end of the driveway before we say that you are done.”

Michael (his voice dropping off with an obvious attitude) “Ok ….”

Cheryl: “I want you to change your attitude. I want you to say something nice, like ….”

Before she could finish, Michael interjected: “Mom, this isn’t an A Beka story!”


One day last week, Mrs. Merci Dixon brought us a watermelon from her garden. We put it in Michael’s little refrigerator (it practically filled it up by itself) to cool down. Later on, Cheryl asked me if I wanted to invite Libby & Josh over for Independence Day on Wednesday. I said yes, it would be fun to have the kids down, and so she texted Libby to see if they could come. That evening, Libby texted back, and said that yes, they could, and also added: “Any chance there might be a watermelon?”

Well, I knew what the answer to that had to be. Since Josh & Libby are two of those infamous “young, restless & Reformed” Calvinists, I said to Cheryl: “Tell her, no, there is no ‘chance’ – but by God’s predestining providence there is an ice-cold watermelon in the fridge waiting on you right now!”

Vinegar & Greens

We enjoyed our Independence Day with the family. After a way-too-big lunch (and a nap for me!) Cheryl worked a crossword puzzle while the kids & I played “Settlers of Catan.” The classic movie “Giant” with Rock Hudson & Elizabeth Taylor was playing in the background. “Giant” has a lot of my favorite “quote around the house” lines, including the infamous “That’s what I’m afraid of!” (You’d have to watch the movie – and then hang around our house – to understand) At one point in the movie, Hudson, a Texas rancher, who has married a sassy Maryland woman (Taylor), comes back to Maryland to reunite with Taylor, who had left him for a brief time while they were having marital problems. The couple embraces, and he tells her that he came to bring her back home. Taylor warns him that she has not changed; she has the same temperament she had when she left him. Hudson replies: “That’s all right, darlin’; we Texans like a little vinegar with our greens.” A cute line!

Well, after the movie, we all went out for a walk. While we were just heading down the sidewalk in front of the house, Cheryl said something sassy (if you can imagine that!) and I quoted the movie line: “That’s ok, darlin’; I like a little vinegar with my greens.”

Cheryl replied: “Oh, don’t worry, you are going to get plenty of vinegar!”

I responded: “Yeah, I know — I’m just hoping to get a few greens with my vinegar!” 😉

Blueberry Crumble

While the rest of us were itching for Mrs. Merci’s ice-cold watermelon Wednesday night, Michael had a hankering for blueberry crumble. We have enjoyed that dessert several times when Cheryl has made it for us, but the last time, she taught Michael to make it, and she told him that he could make it this particular evening too, if he wanted some.

As we were out walking, Cheryl began to give him some instructions:

“Now, Michael, when you make that blueberry crumble, you need to make sure you …”

Just then Josh interjected: “Wash your hands!”

Not a bad reminder for a 13-year-old! J

My “Condition”

One of the symptoms that many Dysautonomia patients report is foggy thinking and memory loss. But of course there are other causes for that, too. Cheryl usually walks each morning at 6:30 with Mrs. Merci, but Friday morning I noticed that she did not. So I said something to her about it: “You didn’t walk this morning?”

Cheryl: “No — and I told you yesterday that I was not going to walk today, but due to your ‘condition’ …”

Her tone of voice spoke volumes. I knew just what she was saying. I replied: “You mean due to my condition of being a MAN, I forgot?!”

Cheryl, laughing: “Exactly!”

“Big Day”

Friday I had an appointment at the doctor’s office, so we decided to run several errands in one trip. When it was all over, and we were walking into the house, Cheryl said, in what was purposefully a very maternal voice, as if she were speaking to a toddler: “Well, you’ve had a big day!”
I chuckled: “Yeah: I rode in the car to the bank, got out and walked into the hair salon and sat there for my haircut; walked into the doctor’s office, then sat in the car while you went to Lowe’s and Wal-Mart. Exhausting day!” 😉

The ironic part was, I really WAS worn out by it! :/

“One of Those”

One thing Cheryl & Michael & I enjoying doing while we eat dinner is watch a movie or tv show, if we can find something decent to watch. (This is one of those things we didn’t do with the older kids, and why they say that Michael is spoiled!;) One series we have found that we all enjoy is the BBC detective show, Agatha Christie’s “Poirot”. Hercule Poirot is an obsessive detective living inEnglandwho, because of his Belgian background, speaks French. Michael took some French lessons with Clarity Thoreson, his FBCA teacher, a couple of years ago, and he enjoys occasionally exercising his language skills. He had gone to stay the night with a friend Friday night, and when he got back Saturday, Cheryl greeted him with the news of our acquisition of a new season of the show. Knowing that language is not her forte, she pronounced the title tentatively: “Hey, we got another Poirot — or however you say it.”

Michael, speaking with a French accent: “You mean ‘Poi-hoh’?”

Cheryl: “Yeah, one of those …”

The “Coffin”

Cheryl loves to garden. She has some patches of blackberries and blueberries in the back yard, as well as a rectangular raised brick box she constructed, which has produced a prodigious amount of tomatoes and peppers. It has done so well, and has been so much easier for her to work on since it is elevated, that she decided she wanted to build several more out of wood, like she saw in a gardening magazine. It was to be a simple construction, out of fence pickets, each one about 3’x6’. I gave her my usual caveats: I would finance the project, and I would help in what limited ways I could, and that it would be good to make one and see how it worked before we buy the material for all four, just in case she needs to make changes. So off to Lowe’s she went.

By the time she got back my new medication seemed to be helping already, and I cut the length of the boards with a skill saw she set up for me. It only took about 5 minutes. Then I sat on the back porch swing and watched her take it from there.

I was thinking that the project was coming together well, but about 2/3 of the way through, an odd thought came to me: the rectangular pine box looked an awful lot like a coffin! I chuckled to myself as I took a picture of it on my iPhone, and posted it on Facebook. A number of friends made funny comments about it.

One said I needed to start watching my back – Cheryl was obviously making plans!

A couple mentioned that the “coffin” didn’t seem quite long enough. I told Cheryl about that one, and she said: “Tell them I can make it work!” 😉

I trust that you know we are only joking. Otherwise it would be sad ending indeed for “This Week inParadise”! 🙂


About Shawn Thomas

My blog, shawnethomas.com, provides brief devotions from own personal daily Bible reading, as well as some of my sermons, book reviews, and family life experiences.
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6 Responses to “This Week in Paradise” (July 9, 2012)

  1. marcus edwards says:

    Christian and I really enjoy reading your posts each week; very comical & revealing.

  2. bill wenner says:

    such a beautiful box !!! such a pity to bury it 6 feet deep

    • Shawn Thomas says:

      Ha, Bill — she has actually made four more of them. She says she is going to group them in our back yard — but I can’t help but notice that there are now enough of these for me and each of our kids 😉

  3. oloryn says:

    CFS sufferers also have “Brain Fog”, as we call it. Some joke that one advantage is that you can re-read a mystery novel 3 weeks later, and still have a sense of suspense.

    • Shawn Thomas says:

      I have read that there are a number of similarities between CFS and POTS. My mom had CFS in her late 40’s. “Brain fog” is a perfect term; I’ll have to use that. And the mystery point is good one — so I can enjoy all those Poirot’s we bought a second time — and a third, and a fourth … 😉

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