Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Nice Just Doesn't Cut It

An email arrived in my inbox from Jodi. For a school project her son is collecting responses to the question, "What is the nicest thing anyone has ever done for you?"

The nicest thing?

First, my mother conceived me, gestated me, bore me and then raised me. And my dad--you know--did his part.

Second, my husband married me. That took a lot of courage for at least twenty reasons.

Third, my son lets me change his pants even when he adamantly does not want me to change his pants which is most of the time I try to change his pants.

I'd say those three to start with, but perhaps this isn't the response Jodi's son had in mind.

So how about this?

How about this weekend when my brother-in-law Ric (alias Andrew) spent three days painting my living room because my dream of gold walls never left my soul. In fact, it would wake me up mid-sleep with electrical messages up and down my spine. GOLD WALLS! GOLD WALLS!

Reminding me of that poem from The Great Gatsby:

Then wear the gold hat, if that will move her;
If you can bounce high, bounce high for her too,
Till she cry "lover, gold-hatted, high-bouncing lover,
I must have you!"

I must have you Gold Walls, indeed.

So Ric--under the guise that we would be paying him instead of a non-family member-- coated our walls with gold and our ceiling with white. He worked around the weekend clock, dug deep into his personal time, and ruined a pair of shoes, until the place was the envy of El Dorado itself. Metallic and shiny, ritzy and retro.

But when it was time to pay, Ric insisted on service instead of payment.

"I need the blessings more than I need your money."

And how do you respond to that? I mean, besides with tears and heart-melting gratitude?

So I tried Lucy instead, a slight whisper in her ear.

"How much do we owe really?"

But she--she who spent every minute at the house with her husband and baby cheering him on--wouldn't take it from me either.

Almost every day someone does something incredibly nice for me. Almost every day I think, "How can I return the kindness?" I am daily recipient of the "nicest thing anyone has ever done for me."

But Ric painting my gold walls so that the nesting crew inside my head will let me sleep? That is goes beyond nice. That is humanitarian aid.

Thanks Ric, Lucy and Betsy.

And as a post script:

Today I went to Ikea to buy lampshades in colors that would compliment my gold walls.

"Oh walls you are so sexy!"

Like that.

And when my cart was sufficiently full of difficult-to-pronounce Ikea goods I checked myself out. Only when I went to do the paying part, my debit card was not in my wallet. I had used it for an online purchase the night before and left it squarely on my desk. This was not good. I live thirty minutes away from Ikea and I had no intention on driving back home, retrieving that piece of plastic and driving all the way back.

So I said to the helpful employee,

"I don't have my debit card."

"Is it in your car?"

He asked.


"Can you run home?"


He looked at me. I looked at him.

I was in shock, really, that this was all happening.

Which is when a tall, bobbed-haired mom with an adorable red-head two-year-old in her cart said to me,

"I will pay for it."

I looked at her. The Ikea guy looked at her.

"You want to pay for her stuff?"

He asked.

"She can pay me back."

She replied.


I said surprised. Not one to take people up on such offers.

"I know who you are. I've read your blog."

she said, whipping out a credit card.

"I will take you up on the offer."

I replied.

Because suddenly we weren't strangers, suddenly I felt like I knew her and she knew me. She'd sat on my couch before--so to speak.

(The couch I bought at Ikea.)

After the purchase, we exchanged information and I promised a check in the mail stat. I was overcome with her generosity and I couldn't help but stutter a million thank yous.

As we left the store with our babies riding backwards in our metal carts, the Ikea guy announced,

"Nicest customer ever!"


Want to answer the question yourself?
Head over to my community to answer.

*Look for a full view of our living room transformation coming soon to Fresh Nest Design. You know, if you want to. I mean as soon as we get it completely done. Right.

On dear c jane today:
some cleaning tunes you might enjoy
why not?

On c jane's Guide to Provo:
Vote Art!
And Buy a House on Maple Lane!