Monday, July 14, 2008

HRM Carole the Cool

Wahoo! My sister Carole and her husband Paul were sealed in the temple a couple of weeks ago. See photo above. Not the green door pic, the other one. The following weekend we sort of house sat for them for a few days, which was an adventure in itself. Mercie locked us all out of the house for several hours, requiring help from the police and the one and only town locksmith to get back in, Eric stuffed a bead up his nose, requiring an emergency trip three hours back home to the doctor, and Grace reprogrammed their family room TV...and that was all just in one day of our visit.

Anyway, Carole's been on my mind lately. I've decided that if she weren't my sister I'd probably hate her. She's like Mary Poppins--practically perfect in every way.

She's an incredible mom. Really. She juggles five kids in a yours-mine-ours family with helping to run a family business, church responsibilities, daily workouts, and maintaining a house that would make Martha Stewart green (more about that below). As I held Claire yesterday I noticed that her hair smelled nice. Then I realized that Carole had washed her hair the night before. Hmm. She actually bathes her children regularly. Novel concept. I hose mine off in the front yard once a week. You think I'm kidding. Unless you're my neighbor, then you know I'm not.

She has great fashion sense. When I was a teenager periodically my clothes would disappear. I never could figure out why my favorite sweaters or dresses or blouses were there one day, gone the next. Years later Carole confessed that she and my sister Becca had been so embarrassed by some of my outfits that they occasionally took the worst offenders out in the yard and burned them. I had to forgive them because, let's face it, they were right. I'll own up to the talents and abilities I have, but dressing well is not one of them. Heck, look at the picture above. There's a beautifully groomed, poised, polished woman and right beside her is a woman who is...not. As an adult I get to be the beneficiary of her skill. She's the perfect shopping companion, and even better, when she cleans out her closet she gives me the hand-me-downs.

There is a reason her nickname is Martha. Even with five kids, her house usually looks like a photo spread from Better Homes and Gardens. The really amazing thing is that it ALWAYS looks like this, even when she was living in teeny little grubby apartments. She's my go-to gal for anything decorating, and I've learned over time that she is always right. She said to skip the orange (I called it terra cotta) paint on my front door, and boy, was she right. Speaking of which, after three years of living with that mistake, I finally fixed it! I stayed up really late (thanks Michelle!) and painted it a strange shade of super dark green with the unappealing name 'sealskin,' and it's ever so much better than orange. THAT'S the picture of the green door.

Carole's a perfect--and delightful--contradiction. Her sense of humor is "Dumb and Dumber;" her spiritual insight and wisdom often blow me away. When I'm feeling tossed to and fro, spiritually speaking, a phone call to Carole straightens me right out. She has a gift for combining faith and practicality and going right to the heart of things.

She's one of those women who would make all the other women at church sick except that she's so freaking nice you can't hate her. She chaperones youth trips, ferries boys to Scout activities, substitutes in Primary at the drop of a hat, works in the RS presidency, fills in for the ward organist from time to time, and makes it all look easy.

We've had our moments. When she was four I begged my mom to send Carole back where she came from. When we were teenagers I once chucked my alarm clock at her head and called her unprintable names.

Growing up is a good thing. Now that we're both adults and friends, I'm glad she's my sister for two very important reasons.

One, coolness by proximity. Maybe she'll rub off on me, and even if not, people will assume I'm sort of cool like Carole just because we're sisters.

Two, I have hope. If she weren't my sister I could write her off as the impossible ideal and spend my energy quietly jealous and hating her. But she is my sister and we share the same genes, which gives me hope that maybe someday I too can be cool like Carole.

Someday. For today I've got to run outside and hose off the kids, just as soon as I find my orange polka-dot lounge pants that I haven't seen since Carole was here last week...


Holly Schwendiman said...

Well, here's to comforts and being blessed by the Martha's without having to be them ourselves. :) Congrats to your sister and to you for surviving this daily muddled mortal middle.


Lucy said...

Yes,Carole is cool - and so is Wendy! Interesting that as time goes by I find out things I never knew about my own kids - burning Wendy's clothes?! I must have been gone or busy somewhere else. I never knew!!!Carole and Rebecca did a great service as Wendy was fashon-challenged as a child. Sample conversation with 5 year-old Wendy - "Your clothes don't match, Wendy. Plaids and flowers don't look alike." "But I like them and I'm going to wear them." And she did. from MOM