Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Tipping Over Point

By Belinda

I left the office at 5.30 pm in a rosy glow. I'd worked hard all day but could not miss the sense of anticipation and preparation in the air. Plans were being made for visits home and staff coverage over Christmas and the Big Christmas Party is almost here. Yes, it had been such a good day.

The roads were clearer than they'd been for days and I even ventured to the post office to pick up mail on the way home, finding our mailbox packed tightly with cards. I don't think one more thing could have been squeezed in there. "It was a good thing I managed to get there tonight," I thought.

I pulled up to the house and approached the front door with my laptop bag hanging from one shoulder, and a briefcase, lunch bag, shopping bag and mail in my hands. I had to press the doorbell for Paul to let me in as I had no hands left to fiddle with the door.

The first words he said as I came through the door were, "Frances called. She wanted to know if you could cook a turkey for Sunday."

I can't remember what I said, but it was probably, "What?!" or "No!" I've been doing very well, surrounded by the carefully managed (or unmanaged, depending on your viewpoint) chaos of my household at the moment, but with a cell group party tomorrow night and The Big Party on Friday night and apple pies to bake on Saturday for the pot luck dinner at church on Sunday, a TURKEY had no place in my life.

I didn't even take off my coat before I called Frances. "Hello dear," came her cheery voice over the phone, followed by the good news, "Don't worry, I think I've found people to cook all the turkeys." And while I peeled off my coat and sank onto the couch, we both laughed at turkey saga.

Our church is notoriously disorganized when it comes to just about anything. If you like even a hint of organization you couldn't stand it, so the fact that only four days from our Christmas pot luck lunch, Frances would find herself in charge of finding people to cook turkeys, is normal for us. I had been lulled into a sense of security by the fact that it seemed so organized this year. For several weeks our bulletin has announced, "Christmas Potluck Dinner--December 19, immediately following the service. If your last name begins with A-G, please plan to bring a dessert. If your last name begins with H-Smith, pleas bring a side (veggies, rolls, stuffing, etc.) If your last name begins with Stewart-Z, please provide a potato dish to share."  Silly me, I didn't even notice the dearth of turkeys. In fact I would have been quite happy with dessert and a few "sides."

But there were to be turkeys and Frances found herself "it," the "turkey cooker finder," or, as she blurted out when she called one home, "I'm looking for curkey tookers." When she got the call asking her to do this job, ten year old Eden said nervously, "Oh, yes Mommy, I forot to tell you the pastor called two days ago."

Frances herself was having a big family turkey dinner of her own on Saturday after working on Friday evening and was handling the role of searching for cookers, or "happy cookers" as she put it, quite well under the circumstances, even though she had no idea what size of turkeys or how they were to be cooked because those instructions didn't come along with the job. We laughed that she could have had a similar response to Mary's when Gabriel made his announcement of her assignment to become the mother of Jesus, "How shall this thing be?"

Later in the evening, I was loading the dishwasher when Brenda staggered into the kitchen in her pjs, hair up in a barette, looking exhausted, french manicured nails delicately holding a recipe for "snowball cookies."

"This is very stressful," she said. She meant the baking. She took the nut chopper she had come to borrow and left for the nether regions and the torture of baking.

A few minutes later I was watching "Cold Case Detectives," when she came back with the recipe. There seemed to be a crucial ingredient missing. Indeed there was no mention of sugar. We found the correct recipe in my Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book. "It's nice knowing you're up here," she said, and left to resume the baking.

An hour later she came upstairs followed by an admiring Tori, holding a round, icing sugar coated cookie for me to try. It was delicious.

You may have heard of "the tipping point," which is, according to The Free Dictionary, the "level at which momentum for change becomes unstoppable" or  "the moment of critical mass, the threshold, the boiling point."

Well, I think that today, December 15th, may be the tipping over point for all of us getting ready for Christmas. :)

Proverbs 17:22 (New International Version, ©2010)

22 A cheerful heart is good medicine,...

9 comments:

Marilyn said...

There HAS to be one (a tipping point), I think, at least to some degree, just to set things back on balance again. Loved the story of the most disorganized church. Every church has its own culture.

Dave Hingsburger said...

Today we pile into a van, yes a van because we needed room for wheelchair, suitcases and bags and bags of gifts, and head to have a early 'family' Christmas with Mike, Marissa, two kids and a young teen. It's going to be pandamonium. I look forward to the noise and the excitment, the chaos and the confusion. We'll eat pizza, play games and just enjoy being together. There was a point last week, maybe the tipping point, where we wanted to chuck out all the cards and wrapping paper, but now that its done ... there is now just quiet peaceful anticipation.

Susan said...

"...carefully managed chaos..."

Not at my house. The chaos is definitely,ever and always, completely unmanaged - or unmanageable, whichever way you want to put it!

By the way, Frances should have called me. I would happily have added another turkey to our chaos :)

Belinda said...

Ha ha! Sharing the chaos with my dear friends is so much more fun. Thank you for sharing the vortex. :) And Susan, ha ha! I am laughing because I know you're not joking! You, of 9 children and 12 or more grandchildren (I'm losing count,) you are a nut case! :)

Anonymous said...

Dear Bel-It reminds me of another Christmas in which I found myself on Christmas Eve at midnight and no presents wrapped(3 children``s worth of presents).Definitely,a tipping point.I put everything into green garbage bags or grocery bags(depending on the size of the present),tied a knot and wrote the name in marker.It still took about half an hour,but that was nothing compared to what wrapping would have taken.My kids were furious(go figure-they took it personally:) and have never let me forget it.Poppy

Angcat said...

I was definitely at tipping point this morning, but now everything has landed in its right spot.
Teachers have cards and a small token of our appreciation. Duty at school is done.
Shopping is close to being finished and I've actually done some successful baking. None of it is left as it was either consumed by my family, or taken to an event, but I feel like I have contributed the required amount of baked, fattening yum yums.

The tipping point happened last evening...
On the way to the van for the school concert, I dropped my crystal platter of decadent shortbreads in the snow. Half of them fell off. Thankfully, I had a few more in the house to replenish.
After the concert Michael was chasing his brother down the school hallway and didn't make the corner. He smacked his forehead into the corner of the cement block wall and dissolved into a screaming mess on the floor, drawing the attention of everyone within miles.
Ice was applied and as I comforted him, many well meaning friends said he really should go to the hospital based on the size of the lump and the amount of screaming coming from his lungs.
I listened to my heart and took him home. The nurse at Telehealth assured me after the verbal assessment that he could be monitered at home. This meant him sleeping with me and being woken every few hours in the night, fully, to make sure he could talk and move around.

My sugar induced high from too many sweeties kept me awake until late hours and not much sleep was had...
but now...Ahhh, the tipping point has passed, children are relaxing and nothing is on the calender until next week.

Thanks for giving me a place to put this nuttiness Belinda.

God bless, bless you.

Angcat said...

I was definitely at tipping point this morning, but now everything has landed in its right spot.
Teachers have cards and a small token of our appreciation. Duty at school is done.
Shopping is close to being finished and I've actually done some successful baking. None of it is left as it was either consumed by my family, or taken to an event, but I feel like I have contributed the required amount of baked, fattening yum yums.

The tipping point happened last evening...
On the way to the van for the school concert, I dropped my crystal platter of decadent shortbreads in the snow. Half of them fell off. Thankfully, I had a few more in the house to replenish.
After the concert Michael was chasing his brother down the school hallway and didn't make the corner. He smacked his forehead into the corner of the cement block wall and dissolved into a screaming mess on the floor, drawing the attention of everyone within miles.
Ice was applied and as I comforted him, many well meaning friends said he really should go to the hospital based on the size of the lump and the amount of screaming coming from his lungs.
I listened to my heart and took him home. The nurse at Telehealth assured me after the verbal assessment that he could be monitered at home. This meant him sleeping with me and being woken every few hours in the night, fully, to make sure he could talk and move around.

My sugar induced high from too many sweeties kept me awake until late hours and not much sleep was had...
but now...Ahhh, the tipping point has passed, children are relaxing and nothing is on the calender until next week.

Thanks for giving me a place to put this nuttiness Belinda.

God bless, bless you.

storygal said...

My tipping point is the shortbread batter that is not coming together. I think I was doing one or two other things at the time and measured too much flour for the amount of butter— a problem I wouldn't have had I concentrated on one thing at a time. I've added more butter, but it's still not right.

Other than this problem, all my shopping is done, cards written and mailed out weeks ago, and only cooking to do late in the week for Christmas dinner.

Belinda said...

Oh, dear friends, thank you for sharing your tipping point moments here. It does help to share and laugh, doesn't it?

Cari, I hope that shortbread turned out perfect. It can't help it if you added MORE BUTTER! :)