October 25, 2004

Streak-Free Smile

My brother and I had just finished eating lunch with Grandpa Caleb. We were up in his room trying to resolve his latest computer/digital camera/cell phone problem (being 92 years old and clumsy is tough on fragile electronics). Having lunch with grandpa is always a pleasure. It gives us a chance to soak up some wisdom from a spiritual thinker and it gives him a chance to spend time with his grandsons. It’s also a time to challenge what you believe to be true – such as trusting the label on a bottle.

I had gone into his bathroom to wash my hands when I saw a large bottle of turquoise blue “Cool Mint” Scope. I had eaten some onions in my salad and thought that a swig of good ol’ minty Scope might take the edge off my harsh breath. I picked up the big plastic bottle and poured myself a capful. As I began to swish the liquid in mouth I noticed that my tongue seemed to be getting numb. And it didn’t taste quite right. Where’s that familiar and pleasing mint taste? Why am I sweating and why is my mouth uncontrollably contorting?

Wait a minute…

My mind raced as my face grimaced. What the hell is this that I’m rinsing my teeth with?! I hysterically spit out the blue liquid and drank some water. I looked around in the bathroom for clues of what I had just put in my mouth and why was it in a Scope bottle?

Does Scope go bad? Had this mouthwash expired and that’s why my tongue is numb? Was my grandpa storing top-secret chemicals for the CIA? Had he been buying cologne in bulk and keeping it in a Scope jar? Or, was Scope now making cologne and selling it in 32 ounce plastic bottles?

All of these plausible solutions were quickly laid to rest as I spotted a very large and very empty refill bottle of Windex window cleaner.

Um…grandpa? Is this Scope in the Scope bottle? I’m not so sure that it is.”

He assured me that, indeed, the bottle marked “Scope” was Scope mouthwash. When I showed him the empty bottle of Windex and told him I believed the two might have been combined (for whatever reason) he grabbed for the supposed bottle of mouthwash. Before I could convince him of my certainty of this fact, and that there was no need for him to put it in his mouth, he took a swig.


He pursed his lips and nodded in agreement as he swallowed the cool mint/ammonia concoction. As he poured out the bottle he remarked, “Yep, that’s Windex all right. I guess I need to buy more Scope!

Um. Yes. You do. But you really shouldn’t be swallowing mouthwash. And you definitely shouldn’t be swallowing Windex. And why would you combine the two anyway? Was it a decision simply based on color or was there a more creative motive? He didn’t seem too worried so I let it go.

All I know is my teeth have a streak-free shine that they’ve never had before.

Posted by Kaya at 03:43 PM | Comments (6)

October 14, 2004

Wise Birds

Jen and I are fortunate to have many role models in our life of how to form a long-lasting, loving, and successful marriage. We have had all four sets of our grandparents, as well as our parents remain married through the joys and trials of their relationships. With so much love and support around, we found it remarkable that we learned such valuable lessons about a lifelong partnership from two silly birds.

During the hustle and bustle of planning a wedding and buying a house we found ourselves more busy than we had expected. While one of us was searching online for homes, interest rates and figuring out what a “mello-roos” was, the other was creating our list of “Things to do before the wedding”, as well as the inevitable sub-lists and sub-sub lists of “Things to do before the wedding”, when we noticed two doves scouting out our balcony.

We went about our business and continued to get lost in flower arrangements, what color John’s hair would be at the wedding and HOA fees. In between hectic trips to view open houses in search of a place to create our nest, we noticed we were not alone in our efforts. The two doves we had seen earlier had been frantically gathering twigs and small broken branches all day and laying them on a raised platform outside. The hurried construction of this rustic home left much to be desired and we were surprised to see the finished product. With branches sticking out in every which way and broken twigs dangling over the side of the platform, it was truly a fixer-upper.

Needless to say, it was their nest and it was perfect in every way.

The dove couple (originally named “Hunchy” and “Puffy” after their appearance and later re-named Henry and Henrietta...and again re-named Toulouse and Tou Lu-Lu) had more in common with us than we first thought. These funny birds were creating a warm home for themselves, planning a life together, and even had poor construction skills. We really should have named them Jimmy and Jenny.

It was comforting to come home to see our bird friends caring for their nest and begin taking turns keeping their new egg warm and safe. Night and day they alternated gathering food and protecting their egg. These doves were starting a new life in a new home and they worked together to make it a success.

The lesson was not lost on us.

The doves gave us perspective on what mattered as we planned out our future. It wasn’t about square footage or seven-tiered cakes – it was about committing to a partnership that makes our lives more wonderful and love-filled. Beyond the celebration and packing boxes it’s about supporting each other and finding the beauty in every moment.

These two wise birds taught us how to begin the next chapter in our life as a married couple.

There may have also been a lesson in regurgitating food to your young, but that part wasn’t as clear.

Posted by Kaya at 04:12 PM | Comments (8)