The Quest for the Perfect Egg: And other messy problems


Six months ago, we set out on our craziest idea yet:  to renovate and remodel our first home.  I love that we are crazy enough to take on crazy projects.  And we’re talking crazy.  Move a wall here, build a wall there, not to mention gutting two kitchens and three bathrooms.   And don’t even get me started on the invisible stuff.

And I love the results. I am over-the-moon for our new kitchen, our new bathrooms, and the Air Conditioning that has saved our sanity this summer.  Our new house is slowly becoming a home.  One of my love languages is having our living room, kitchen, and yard filled with faces, and soon we’ll have guest rooms ready and the door will officially be opened wide!

And yes, before and after pictures will definitely be in order.

But before the after, there’s the messy.   The crazy.  The dust.  The just-one-more-thing-to-do.

This remodel project has taught me a lot about myself, and about being messy.  I’m a big fan of before-and-after, and sometimes I wait to share stories until I have the “after” figured out.  But messy is where life happens.

Having now lived through six months of a remodel, this is how I would describe it:  Remodeling is like issuing an invitation to all first-world problems to come through your front door.

Enter: the Story of a Stove.  Yes, a stove.  The Stove that has been bought twice and delivered thrice.

We grinned as we made grown-up purchases to replace our once-upon-a-college-student’s appliance collection of the past.  Our smiles faded when problem after problem arose.  It shouldn’t be so hard.  But it has been.  Countless obstacles have attacked this one part of our home, despite our best research, consumer-reporting, and careful purchasing.

Let me tell you, nothing makes you hate the first world more than fighting with a stove company about delivery, damage, broken promises, bad service, and all the requisite cash that comes from those issues.  I mean, it’s just a stove.  The classic first-world problem.  It’s not like I’m scouring to find food in the first place.

But also, it’s a stove.  My stove.  Where pancakes and spaghetti and cookies and over-easy eggs are destined to be made.  Where onions are sizzled and peppers are stir-fried and bacon sizzles.  A critical ingredient to a house becoming a home.

The Story of the Stove – with its grueling hours, mind-numbing delays, and costly detours – ended this week.  This week I got my stove.  I got to turn on my burner and see the beautiful blue of burning gas.  This, after driving like a bat out of hell to meet the handyman for installation.  Bat-out–of-hell, people.

The first night I made a beautiful egg with a golden yolk and celebrated the end of this particular first-world problem.  But I won’t pretend it wasn’t one heckofa messy road to get this “simple” thing done, and I’ll have an extra dose of grace for the next time a friend faces a first-world problem.

I think a lot of us face this – we come up against things that “shouldn’t be this hard.”  But sometimes they are.    Sometimes the things that should be the simplest can end up being the hardest.  Sometimes the things that should take minutes take hours.  Sometimes the things that seem so easy for someone (everyone?) else are your personal nemesis.

That’s life.  It gets messy.  But then again, the messy is what makes you appreciate the beauty all the more – like the golden hue of a perfect egg.



Words of Wisdom from Andy


Like a million other Office-fans, I tuned out somewhere in the middle.  But before the end, there was something that beckoned me back, and I cuddled up to watch The Office Finale.  It’s funny how characters on a show can be a part of your life – not that Jim and Pam and I were ever buddies, but watching them in the finale reminded me of the days I watched them fall in love.  And who I watched those early seasons with.  Such fun memories.

And then Andy – my third-least favorite character, to be honest (Kelly & Ryan leading the pack) – throws this at my soul: “I wish there was a way to know you’re in the good old days before you’ve actually left them.”

How true these words ring in my heart.

There are all different kinds of good old days, and I’m convinced that life holds several sets of them.

There are the days that you don’t know are good until they are in fact old – until life has given you a new perspective and you see those old days as better than they felt at the time.  Then there are the classic good old days.  The days you know are good when you’re in them.  When you look around at smiling faces, when you feel safe and whole and take deep breaths of sunshine.  When friendships are vibrant and secure and you laugh at tomorrow because the idea of tomorrow bringing change seems ridiculously odd.

But then tomorrow comes.  And it brings change.  And you find yourself looking backwards.  And wondering when you left the good old days behind.

I’ve already been lucky enough to experience several sets of good old days … the good old days of five girls crammed into a tiny apartment and living off laughter … the good old days when Jason was an RD and we didn’t pay rent or utilities or know that married couples could fight about such silly things … the good old days when we hiked backpacks onto our shoulders and cast cares to the wayside, hopping trains and planes and rikshaws … the good old days when we breathed deep of community and found the beauty of roots.  So many good old days.

Good old days are ahead, but good old days are behind, too.

It’s the days in between those good old days that can get to me sometimes.  And I’m in those days right now.  The days where things are shifting, where there is both loss and gain.  The days of change.  These are hard days for me.

I wish there was a way to know you’re in the good old days before you’ve actually left them.”

But there’s not.  Maybe that’s part of the magic of the good old days.  There’s no way to know when they will end.  They could be as endless as an Indian Summer or as fleeting as a dandelion’s puff.

If you’re in a set of good old days right now – be it an office where you sell paper, a Church you call Home (and mean it), a sweet friendship where you can be messy, or a time of simplicity – breathe deep.  Say thanks.  And call them the good old days.  Now.  Before you leave them.  String up lights and celebrate those people and places you’ll always be glad were a part of your days.