Day 129/365 Baring One’s Pincers

Sometimes you start your day with a spring in your step, and the next thing you know you’re falling on your face. Or you settle in to a warm, dark, cozy spot and wind up nearly crushed to death by a giant toe.

Wait, what?

I got a great night sleep last night. This is the girls’ one and only week of summer camp, so I hit the ground ready to get a lot done at work. Only after I dropped them at camp did I realize I had missed an important text. When I tried to remedy the situation I discovered that my phone service had been shut off.

So I was 45 minutes from work (but on my way!) knowing that I would be arriving to some unhappy folks there, and there was nothing I could do it to fix it, because I hadn’t paid my phone bill.

(Except I had paid my phone bill).

I got to work and righted the ship, then spent two hours back and forth with calls between my bank and verizon, because apparently my bank “upgraded” their online banking and in the process they sent my last two cell phone payments to some unknown faction of verizon.

All the while I’m reminding myself that this is not the middle man’s (or in most cases today, the middle-woman’s) fault.

Don’t get mad at her, I thought. It’s not her fault that they have no idea where my $400 went!

I was a telemarketer in my twenties, briefly. I was decent at it, I think because I sounded like a little kid, and people at least waited until I was done with my shbiel about refinancing before they told me to go to hell.  In my opinion, that job was one step up from the payment resolution center at verizon.

At least as a telemarketer, I would sometimes stumble across the random friendly (and most likely super-lonely) cold call recipient who was glad to have someone to talk to at night…even if it was about mortgage rates.

Whereas, the payment resolution center employee is hearing from two types of people – the ones begging to not have their phones turned off even though they can’t pay, and the ones who are pissed because they paid the damn bill and somebody somewhere messed up.

Not a good time.

I honestly think as frustrating as the experience was, it went a lot more smoothly because I was kind…and calm. People want to help you when you’re not blaming them.

Two hours later…and I was moving on with my day!

This evening when we got home, Ruby sweetly went upstairs to get my slippers for me. She stuck her foot into one of them and was pinched on the toe by this thing…

She freaked out of course, and screamed bloody murder. I totally thought she was exaggerating until I saw the thing sticking its head out from my slipper like some prehistoric jack-in-the-box.  Beau yelled, “What the fuuuuu….” and I didn’t even correct her because damn, at least she was (almost) using the expression under worthy circumstances!

“Should we squish it?!” they yelled.

“Nooooo, we will put it outside where it belongs,” I said. “He only pinched your toe because you were about the squish him!”

I am not sure what my point is here, exactly, nor who the beetle is in this analogy – me or the verizon lady.  Both of us ended up having to deal with an unpleasant situation that wasn’t our fault…

I guess sometimes one has to decide whether or not to bare one’s pincers – and then hope if they do that it doesn’t just get them squished.

 

Day 125/365 Messy Inside

I was looking for something in one of my kitchen cabinets this morning and I chuckled to myself about how there is absolutely no organization nor reason whatsoever to it’s contents.

I have a lot of family and friends staying with me over the course of the summer and I wondered if that would bother anyone.

Then I started to think…actually, this is a pretty good representation of my mind most of the time.

It is always packed to a dangerous degree with items that vary enormously in importance.

Yet, whether they are important or not does little to dictate where they are placed, or how much space they are given.

I often cannot locate important things in there, but I can readily rest on something I haven’t used in ten years, or something that has NEVER proven useful (“Why is this even in here?” I might ask myself).

I might also be certain of a particular area, and then, Wham! I realize it’s not actually an iron but it is, in fact, a child’s tea set.

So, friends and family who might be disturbed by my cabinet contents, please know that to insult them is to insult my very mind.

To love me is to love my cabinets.

We are messy inside.

Day 121/365 Rescue Attempt

My eldest turned eleven today.  Let me tell you, she is such a beautiful soul. She has so much depth and intuition at her young age.

It was very strange this morning waking up on her birthday, and not being with her. She had spent the night at her dad’s.  I called and sang to her (bless her for tolerating that!), and I knew she was going to have a great day at the beach. She would be coming home at dinnertime for a gathering with my family.

Still, embarking on a walk this morning with my four legged friend, it felt so strange celebrating the day – without the guest of honor. Honestly, I was feeling sad about it, and my mind immediately went to parents who have lost children…and how lucky I am that it’s just a day I was missing. I tried to put it in perspective.

So…this part you may only enjoy if you read yesterday’s post, The River.

Louie (the dog) and I have a favorite walking spot. It takes us through the woods and spills us out onto a rocky beach. There’s a beautiful cove. It is often filled with egrets this time of year. It is the kind of place that makes me grateful for where I live…every time I go there, which is often.  Louie loves to swim no matter what. In the dead of winter he will barrel into the ocean.  Today was no exception.  I usually take a seat on a rock and watch him frolic for a few minutes before we head back.

There is a narrow channel in which the current runs very strongly as the tides change. As I sat there in the heat, looking at the cool water – I just had to go in. So, I kicked off my shoes and tossed off my t-shirt and jumped in. The water was only about up to my chest in the channel, but the current was so strong that I had to brace myself in order to stay upright.  The feeling of the current against my back was not unlike the feeling of the jets in a jacuzzi. It was that strong.

I thought about my blog yesterday, about letting “the river” take me where I need to go.  I lifted my feet, laid back and let the current take me…and boy did it! I felt like a kid again, and it was glorious! I floated along toward the cove, free as a bird…um…more specifically – a duck, perhaps.

Unfortunately, the bliss was short lived as it became apparent that Louie thought I was drowning. He came careening into the water to “rescue” me. Let me tell you, that was far from graceful.  Eventually I convinced him that I knew what I was doing (or “the river” did….or some BS like that), and he turned back toward the shore.

He hates metaphors.

shoes

Day 113/365 Surprise!

The tiny, octogenarian usher carried a matching tiny flashlight, which she kept pointing at my self-illuminating iPhone screen to see the seat numbers on our etickets.  This didn’t inspire a lot of confidence in her seat-finding skills, so when she kept walking us closer and closer to the stage to show us our seats, I was pretty sure she was making a mistake. My friend, Sarah, and I kept exchanging glances as if to say, “Seriously? Where is she taking us?”

This is particularly funny because I bought the tickets, and yet I was as incredulous as Sarah was.  Later she said, “You should have seen the look on your face!  Priceless!” I retorted, something like, “It’s great when you are able to pull off a surprise for yourself.

Ummm…

This is the sort of thing that happens when you’ve been in a fog of grief for months. You do things, and you don’t remember.

Often this is stress inducing or frustrating, but apparently it can also make for a nice surprise! Like when you discover that at some point you must have believed that the Universe owed you amazing seats to see your favorite singer/guitar Goddess and her guitar God husband. A fact that you promptly forgot. I knew I had the tickets, but fifth row? I had no idea.


After my dad died I decided I needed to schedule some things to look forward to in the months that followed. The first was a trip to a city to which I’d never been – Savannah.  I booked a nice Bed & Breakfast and coerced two of my favorite women, Monica and Lynette, into coming with me.  Aside from one embarrassing evening in a (blessedly) dimly lit Thai restaurant, in which I sobbed into my Pad Thai, I was able to not be the grieving daughter that weekend.  New city, new me. I put the grief aside for a few days, and we had a great time.

 

When the weekend was over and it was time to go home, I hit a wall.  When I had to return to my regular life, I had the (ridiculously obvious) revelation that I couldn’t hit the reset button by leaving town for a few days. Dad was still dead, and my family was still in a cloud of grief and bewilderment.

Life would be heavy for a while.

Next up was a trip my mother and I had planned, to see some family friends the next month.  This was already in place when I had my rough re-entry from Savannah. I was really worried that my mother was going to have the same experience – fun time away, awful time coming back. I wondered if it was even worth it to go. When I picked her up to go to the airport, I could tell that she was feeling shaky.

“Are you okay?” I asked.

“Yes, it’s hard to explain,” she said.

“I bet leaving the house feels like leaving dad behind.”

“Yes,” she said.

For her, it was the leaving that was hard, not the returning. Yet another example of how we all grieve differently.

Anyway, I digress…back to last night.

Remember when I wrote about grief and how it is an actual, medical reality that those of us going through it literally can’t remember things, concentrate, organize thoughts well?

So, last night was a wonderful example of how that can be a little gift!

Step one: Buy awesome seats.

Step two: Promptly forget.

Step three: Absolutely adore your sad, grieving, great-seat deserving self for such a kick-ass surprise.

And then this happened – I ran into some old friends who happened to be sitting right in front of us – two couples I adore, whose children (and dogs) I used to take care of way back when. In between sets they asked me if I wanted to get a drink.  I said sure. Next thing I know I’m on a private elevator up to the “Executive Lounge.”

Free champagne. Cookies. A clean bathroom with no line….mints, you guys.

The whole night was amazing.  As you can probably tell I’m still on a high from it!!

Soooo…

Tonight, I have two tickets to see Jerry Seinfeld perform stand up. Again, I bought the tickets months ago, still in a fog of grief and (if last night is any indication), feeling fully entitled to awesomeness. I’m taking Billy.

I wonder how the seats will be…

It’ll be a surprise to both of us.

 

 

 

 

 

Day 94/365 The Day the House Blew Up

Today I thought I’d talk about something different for a change –

How about death and dying?

(Sorry, there’s that gallows humor again.)

Seriously though…

We all know I am going to keep talking about death and dying…but I’ve gotta pepper in some other stuff or we are all going to end up extremely dehydrated.

So, I thought I’d talk about how my house blew up today.

It started off innocently enough…

You know “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up” and all?  Is this what she had in mind, do you think?

Okay, I confess, I haven’t actually read the book, but I get the idea – as much as you can get the idea of a book from the cliffnotes version you’ve read online.  (Side note, do they still make cliffnotes?  Autocorrect seems to think not).

Anyway, the idea is to hold each item in your hand and ask yourself whether it brings you joy. The problem is, when you are trying to clean out the playroom with your kids, they claim that every single thing brings them joy.

Every.

Thing.

Then there’s the fact that as a 44 year old woman you may look at your wardrobe and realize that nothing brings you joy.

No

Thing.

Especially not the jeans that you bought after that extended bout with the stomach bug.

Then you find yourself wishing you’d get the stomach bug again.

No joy, you guys.

Seriously though, we did get a lot done.

I set up a new office space, and the girls organized their play space. By the way, they threw nothing away and they saved about ten things for a yard sale at which they expect to make millions.

I’m not going to dash their hopes. It could happen. That wealthy excentric collector of incomplete puzzles, or of games missing key pieces, might show up and make them the offer of a lifetime. Then I’d look foolish for doubting my children’s entrepreneurial skills.

Uh-uh. Not me.

$5 for a half finished coloring book? Totally.

I will admit that as I purged and organized I felt as if head space was actually being cleared.  I have about five areas in my house left to clean out, so maybe by the end of the summer my head will be completely empty.

One can hope.

{Editor’s Note – They are actually called Cliffs Notes, apparently. I guess that’s what I get for always skipping to the freaking Cliffs Notes.}

Day 89/365 Captain’s Log – 2am

Captain’s Log

2am Child #2 claims to be starving.

Insists on listing everything eaten for dinner that evening at father’s house. List goes on long enough for me to nod off. She is reassured she will not die of hunger before breakfast.

3am Child #1 is thirsty. The process of quenching said thirst requires child to jump into bed of a previously sound asleep adult, despite water glass on child’s own night stand. Child is returned to bed; thirst is quenched.

4am Cat is heard tearing around bedroom. Upon groggy approach, a mouse is seen bolting from behind chair into bathroom. Cat follows.

4am-4:30am Enclosed in bathroom with cat and mouse. Mouse is repeatedly chased back and forth from under vanity to under tub. Many failed attempts to convince mouse that human holding cup is best option. Cat appears thrilled to be building camaraderie.

4:30am Remove cat from bathroom and close door. Return to bed. Attempt to imagine mice in little outfits like in children’s books to assuage disgust over mouse having been in bedroom (and now trapped in bathroom).

5:00am Cat begins to settle himself on my pillow. Paws that were just batting a mouse are not far from my face.

5:15am Choose to take comfort in knowing there will be no mice in my bed tonight, dapperly dressed or otherwise…

I sleep.

(Full disclosure – we are over at Miskiania today and it has stirred a lot in my head and heart. I started writing something and couldn’t quite finish it, so I am posting the above, which is actually something I wrote last year. I hope it made you laugh!).