Archive - usefulness RSS Feed

Doing stuff

image courtesy of

Monday marked the first day of FREEEEEEDOOOOOOOM!!!! the kids going back to school after their week long spring break. It was nice to have everyone home last week, but I must confess that towards the end of the week all that togetherness was starting to harsh my mellow. Me likes my alone time.

Since it’s now officially springtime and whatnot, I decided it was high time to spruce up the front porch. I’ve been wanting to get some rocking chairs to put out there since we moved into this house. And since we’ve lived here for 8 or 9 years, I thought I would find some over the weekend, thereby missing the official 10 year procrastination mark. Besides, I figured I could enjoy my morning coffee out there for the next couple of weeks before temperatures and humidity rise to levels capable of melting my face off.

After two unsuccessful shopping ventures Friday and Saturday, I finally found two black arirondack rockers at Garden Ridge Pottery on Sunday afternoon. If y’all don’t have a Garden Ridge Pottery in your neighborhood, I suppose the best way to describe it would be Hobby Lobby meets Pier One meet Oriental Trading Company. Sort of. They sell furniture, plants, silk flowers, housewares and “miscellaneous”.


Once we got the chairs home, assembled and out on the porch, it became evident that the new addition didn’t really complete the look I was after. The term “putting lipstick on a pig” comes to mind.

The front door needed refinishing, the windows were dirty, the large pot of dirt out there needed filling and the impulse buy of two ferns from the grocery store needed to be hung. An ambitious project, but I was ready, willing and able to accomplish everything I wanted to accomplish on Monday. I went to bed Sunday night with every intention of getting to work on my project bright and early Monday (mid) morning.


That was before I woke up in-explicitly at midnight and couldn’t get back to sleep. I tried reading. That seemed to work until I turned off my book light, set down my kindle and shut my eyes. Wide awake again. I eventually got up and went to the couch, figuring I would fall asleep watching the television. Three and a half hours later, I was exhausted and a little perplexed why Animal Planet would devote a 30 minute time slot to Mike Tyson and his dream of pigeon racing. But I digress…


My point is (and I do have one), what I wanted to do was get the kids off to school and go back to bed. I was tired, grumpy and completely out of sorts. I didn’t feel like going to Walmart, buying hooks, potting soil and something to put in the pot of dirt. I didn’t feel like doing all that stuff I told myself I was going to do. And honestly, my world wasn’t going to come crashing down if I chose to go back to bed and leave all that stuff for another day.

But you know what?

I went to Walmart.

I refinished the door.

I potted a fern in the pot of dirt.

I hung the ferns.

I even dragged the spring wreath out of the garage.

I did all the things I set out to do. And yes, I was even more exhausted when all was said and done. But sometimes you have to suck it up and do the things you set out to do. You keep your promises and follow through with what you said you were going to do. Even if those promises are made to no one else but you.

Now, to get some flowers planted!

Sometimes especially then.

My first new visitor.

This post is part of the One Word at a Time Blog Carnival: Goals, hosted by my friend Peter Pollock. To read more posts on the topic, please visit him at

Being Useful

“Hope your folks don’t mind me doing this!”

The garage door of our house sits approximately 150 feet from the street of a quiet neighborhood. So when I saw an elderly gentleman sitting in a golf cart behind my car, I was a little taken aback. I motioned both my kids to get into the car.

“Can I help you with something, sir?”

“Well, I was just telling your son, I like to do what I can to help keep the neighborhood looking nice. I don’t breathe so well sometimes, but when I’m feeling good and the weather cooperates, I like to get out of the house. If it’s alright with you, I hope you don’t mind if I pick up your garbage cans from the curb and bring them back up for you. Would that be okay?”

My internal conversation went a little like this:

“I have 12 minutes to get to an appointment 10 minutes away. What’s the fastest way to get this man off my driveway so I can get out of here? Decision time. Do I do what is expedient, or do I do what is courteous?”

“My name’s Kathy. Nice to meet you.”

“Name’s Byron. Byron White. I live with my daughter in the house by the horse stables.”

We talked for a few minutes. I told him that of course it was okay if he picked up my garbage cans and that it was very much appreciated. He told me again that he sometimes has trouble breathing, so he won’t always be able to pick up the garbage cans, but weather and health permitting, he would do so every Monday and Thursday. He likes to do what he can. I thanked him kindly again and he drove off down the driveway to provide the same service to the neighbors across the street.

Yes, we were late to the orthodontist, but only by about three minutes. My son checked himself in on the computer in the lobby and proceeded to brush his teeth at one of the four sinks in the theatre/media room. (This is a very swanky place. They don’t call them million dollar smiles for nothing.) Meanwhile, I get comfy in one of the plush couches in the waiting room and pull out my handy dandy notebook to write a story about my neighbor Byron.

About a paragraph into my story, I see a little boy about 3 years of age come running up to the cooler located beneath the plasma TV in front of me (again – swanky). He opens the door, pulls out a small bottled water and runs towards the media room. I watch him with growing amusement as he repeats this process four times. On his fifth visit, he is accompanied by a very apologetic looking father who is carrying two water bottles, which he replaces after his son takes out another.

My daughter, who had been watching a movie, comes out and tells me there is a little boy in there that keeps asking her to play a game with her. “Did he give you some water?” I asked, smiling. “Yes!”, she said. “He got EVERYONE a water!”

The very young and the very old often operate under the same principal. They want to matter. They need to know that while they can’t do everything, they most certainly can do some things.

I think it would serve us all well to remember that no matter where we are in life; no matter our age or circumstance, every one of us can be useful in some way. Just as every one of us can be grateful to and for one another.