Monday, March 30, 2015

speaking office

This story starts on Christmas Eve and ends today.  A little before Christmas Eve actually....

There is nothing that motivates me to finish house projects more than company.  I had family coming in for Christmas and that meant stuff was getting done.  Our six dining room chairs for example.  Ten years of two boys eating spaghetti marinara, strawberry jello, blueberry pancakes and chocolate ice cream had done them no favors.  They looked like seats from a war zone.

I bought new material.  I borrowed a staple gun.  I just hadn't had time to re-cover them.  And then it was Christmas Eve morning.  The boys and I had the day off.  Presents were wrapped, food was made.  Just time to chill and play together. And re-cover the chairs.  Which should only take like 45 minutes right?

I hadn't counted on how long it takes to pry out 600 former staples and stretch the fabric.  And re staple. Two hours in, I was sweating and had two chairs done. I was getting faster, but a mutiny was forming.  "This is suppose to be a fun day." the boys said.  I had to finish the chairs.  And I wanted it to be a good day.  I had to think fast.

The boys had had a recent conversation about pranks. And I had told them about the show The Office we used to watch. How Steve and I had cracked up over Jim's constant pranking of Dwight.  And then I found the first few seasons of The Office that we'd been given as a gift.  I grabbed Season One and pushed play.  From the moment Dwight's stapler was found encased in Jello, my boys were hooked.  Four episodes later, the chairs were recovered, clean and beautiful.  The boys were laughing.  Christmas Eve had officially started.

So did our new tradition.  An episode or two of The Office when we got home from school each day.  Curled up on the couch together, laughing as we watched every day people, in an ordinary office, form life-long friendships.  I had forgotten how, underneath the funniness, the show had such heart.  The characters learned to see past each other's quirks, to value each other, to forgive and appreciate, to become loyal and grow together.  Without easing up on the unending stream of little tortures and practical jokes of course.

Nine seasons later, we loved them too.  Josh and I finished on Saturday night.  (too fast I know, but what else are you going to do through a long winter if not binge watch TV with your children?...)  We waited until Monday night when Jake got home from a school trip, to watch the finale.  Yes, I cried again.  And was touched by profound statements like Andy Bernard's "I wish there was a way to know you are in the good old days before you actually left them." So true Andy.

Speaking of the good old days....when I started Chaplain school, our supervisor taught twelve of us about the Enneagram, an ancient personality test to navigate workplace dynamics and spirituality.  He told us it would help us understand ourselves better.  And that it would help us see each other's strengths more than our differences.  Most of all, he said that it would take twelve strangers and quickly give us a common language to speak as we learned about each other.

I feel like the boys and I have new common language.  We are speaking Office.  We tease each other about being a Michael or so Dwight.  Any cockiness gets a Ryan label. And me trying to recover the dining room chairs on Christmas Eve?  Such an Toby move.   We are also trying to be more aware how much joy and value are lurking all around us every day.

Or as Pam said at the very end of the show,  "There is a lot of beauty in ordinary things."

1 comment:

  1. There IS a lot of beautiful in the ordinary! I loved your blog! And so impressed that you covered your chairs. That's a hefty project! And I'm all about that family time--even if it means watching 9 seasons of The Office in a few weeks. Millers for the Win!