My life is rather…. crazy at the moment. It’s so crazy I cannot even really blog.
There was a moment when a law enforcement official pulled his SUV up to the house and there were several POSSIBLE explanations for his presence that went through my head . I don’t EVER want that to be the case. Please, let me be more boring than that.
The kids and I are sleep deprived from severe weather, tornado type stuff. There is minor damage to home and truck. i can’t even care yet. WAY down the priority list.
There was an emergency therapy session today. I had a long written list of Things That Are Making Me Freak Out.
I can only tell you about one of the minor things: the man at church.
He freaks me out.
He’s gotta be in his 80s and I thought he was nice to me a couple of weeks ago. I told my mom about it and she said that he was flirting. I said of course not. I reminded her of his age. She said that some men will flirt with their mortician, so his being in his 80s doesn’t really preclude that behavior. I laughed at her. And then forgot.
But she was right, it turns out. The 80s-ish man with a hearing aid got his flirt on with me during the quiet, serene, SILENT, and reverent passing of the plate time and i thought i’d just DIE of embarrassment. He loudly started hitting on me. THEN. OF ALL TIMES. LET ME JUST DIE NOW, JESUS. Folks around us adjusted hearing aids and turned around to stare. My face got really really hot and my hair was in a ponytail so i couldn’t even hide behind it. I made a tiny, involuntary high pitched whimper sound, but I could. not. help. it.
Solution: Never sit there again. EVER. Despite the alarming, impassioned invitation to do so pretty much forever.
Lesson: If there is always a blank spot in the same place each week, WONDER WHY. Be suspicious. MISTRUST THE HARMLESS LOOKING OLDIES, if necessary.
Seth-6yr last night told me that in order to live a longer life, I should pet animals. I smiled. He looked pointedly back and forth from me to the cat, who was across the room. And then when that didn’t work, he told me to GO PET THE ANIMAL. He said he’d read about this is in a book. There was something urgent in his face. I asked if he was worried about me. He said he was. So I petted the cat.
I found out why he was worried about the length of my life a little later. I’ll be doing other things besides just petting a cat in order to live to another Sunday and a different pew. I’m fine. I got this. I just hate it that Seth-6yr felt he had to strategize for my safety.
Solution: Pet a cat. NOW, MOM.
Oh, so cute.
He’s right though. Nothing wrong with new, out of the box strategies.
“Sometimes God does very cool stuff for you just because He loves you.”
Do you believe that? It was a statement made by my lovely therapist lady about month ago and I considered it… and then almost forgot about it. I was reminded on Monday morning, and again yesterday afternoon.
Wednesdays, the kids get out a little early and I take them over to my mom’s. For some reason, the boys were VERY laid back and quiet and calm and kind and peaceful. Seth-6yr played with a miniature zen garden (tiny rake and sand) for TWO HOURS. I curled up on a quilt in a sunbeam and listened to the unusual peace of a house full of content (and maybe tired) boys.
My mother loves beach glass, and there have always been blue and green frosty pieces of beach glass in dishes around her homes for as long as I can remember. She was showing Seth-6yr a rare find, and I listened from my sunbeam as she described how she found a perfectly intact, whole, frosty glass bottle on a beach one day. She told him why that would be so rare to find an unbroken vessel like that. It had delighted her, as if someone had put it there just for her to find.
I very much believe Someone DID put it there just for her, just because He loves her.
I had a moment like that of my own on Monday. I was looking at Craigslist for trashy furniture and found a GORGEOUS chair. Normally, I’m looking for stuff to fix up and get rid of. But this was gorgeous, and needed nothing except a good home. It’s a curvy, carved chair from the late 60s and it has the EXACT color of Seriously Ugly Green fabric that I happen to REALLY adore right now. I’d call it peuce. Or Squished Pea. It’s my FAVORITE ugly color. There’s a lot of it in my bedroom right now.
It was $50. I don’t spend $50 on chairs I do not need, just because I want them. I’m in a Minimal Expense Phase. (Except when I spent many times that amount a few weeks ago and then texted Mike to say, I JUST SPENT A LOT OF MONEY. ON MAKEUP. YOU SHOULD PROBABLY DIVORCE ME ALREADY. But that was an isolated thing. (the makeup was great, Mike seemed to find it humorous, and was unmoved apparently in moving forward with legal stuff.)
But there was more to this Craigslist thing. There was a definite ‘go get the chair’ vibe coming from God. I texted the seller. A woman called me right back and told me to come get it.
I LOVE my ugly green chair. i really do. But that was just a bonus. The real blessing that day was meeting this tiny, full of joy, woman. She opened the door to her home, smiled a huge smile, and threw her arms around me in a hug. She immediately told me she was 86 1/2 years old. I guess if you want to throw your arms around a stranger when you’re 86 1/2, you just do it. When she did this, she smashed her hand on the wall and then threw her head back and laughed about how she’d just broken a nail off. It was endearingly clumsy, and exactly something I would have done.
Her home was empty, except for the green chair that her family members had said no one would ever want. She was selling her house and moving in with a daughter, and that chair was about all that was left. She worried about a buyer, but then said that God would bring her the exact right buyer for her house just as He had brought the exact right buyer for her chair.
We sat on the hearth and she told me her life story. She and her chair had lived at the same lake in Central Texas that my family used to visit regularly when I was really young. The coincidence delighted us both. She wanted to know about the boys. About church. About God. About Mike. And then she gave me a tour of her home and told me why SHE had been the perfect buyer for the widow who sold it to her 13 years before.
An hour later, when I carried out the chair and put it in the car, she hugged me again and planted a sweet little old lady kiss right on my cheek and held my face between her hands and said, “You. Are. Precious.” And then she laughed, as if she were completely delighted with life and stood in the driveway and waved while I backed my car into the street.
I drove away talking to myself about that lady. She made me want to laugh and cry at the same time. I don’t think there was any particular spiritual message to be found. Just that sometimes when you’re feeling a little down, God can pick you up and send you off to a meeting with a little old lady angel type- and then the rest of your day and week seems to change course.
Just because He loves you.
The kids and i have a bedtime routine. It’s a special one on one time where I tuck in each kid and we read something of a spiritual nature and talk. It’s added an hour to bedtime. And sometimes, honestly, when I’m tired and selfish, I HATE the time consuming part of it. But mostly, it’s extremely special, and we all try to make sure we have enough time at the end of each day for this new routine. When one kid will interrupt another kid’s time, I correct it and tell him that it is MY time with his brother and it’s special and he’ll have to wait. I think they test it to be sure that’s always the response for all of them. Generally, there are no exceptions in any way for any reason.
Ethan-12yr and I were reading together in his room -’devotionals for dog lovers’ or something like that. add an animal to any conversation, and suddenly you have ethan-12yr’s undivided attention. Seth-6yr came in and he was crying.
He got the standard line.
He went back to bed and wailed his little heart out.
I yelled for him to hang on and I’d be there in a minute.
He screamed that there was a moth in his room and it was going to eat his underwear.
He was PETRIFIED. Genuinely terrified for his life and for his underwear.
I sent him to the couch, away from the moth, and laughed all over Ethan-12.
I told him I’d help him in a little bit, and to get comfortable, and I went to tuck in Caden-8yr. Caden-8yr wanted to know what was wrong with Seth-6yr.
Caden-8yr listened to my explanation and then said, “you know you’re the reason why he thinks that, right?”
Caden-8yr has a matter of fact little way of looking bored as he totally nails you with some bit of truth you’ve forgotten and he remembers verbatim.
“Well. Last year we were outside and I caught a moth and gave it to him and he said he would keep it as a pet. And so he kept it in his underwear drawer. A few days later you found out about it – because he said to you, “I have a pet moth, Mom” – and then you got mad and told him that it would EAT his underwear and he had to get rid of it and then he went to his drawer and pulled out a pair of Elmo underwear and it had holes and he was sad and he threw them away.”
“WHAT? HE DOESN’T EVEN HAVE ELMO UNDERWEAR.”
“Well. Not anymore. Because his pet moth ate them.”
“So… he’s afraid the moth on his ceiling who hasnt’ moved all day is going to eat the underwear right off his body while he sleeps and that’s why he’s so afraid he’s crying his head off?”
Caden-8yr took a moment. And then said, “Yes. Because that is what you told him.” There was a hint of condemnation in that statement. I heard it loud and clear.
I thanked him for that little revelation, we read about Joseph, and then i went to slay the moth with Seth-6yr. I used a broom with clorox wipes on the end of it. I don’t know what else to slay moths with, and this did the job JUST fine in case you need to know.
Seth-6yr cheered me on until I killed it and did not ONCE suggest sparing his life and keeping it as a pet.
I tucked him in, apologized, and he and his underwear slept peacefully the rest of the night.
I feel terrible about how upset he was, and how it really WAS my fault, but then it’s just so cute I can’t stop laughing. Seth-6yr took a baseball to the thigh in a game a few weeks ago. He shook his leg, looked at me for a brief second in the stands to see if I’d seen it happen, and then went on as if it didn’t hurt at all. He didnt’ rub it, cry, yell, or say a word to anyone.
He had a baseball sized purple circle bruise on that thigh the next day.
He can be tough.
But clearly, there are limits.
Moth and Underwear Limits.
I am beyond tired. I was up ALL night long, thanks to the HIGHLY overrated girl next door who is suddenly the object of Duke’s lust.
Duke: The large chocolate labrador. Who really does nothing except lie around and groan and sleep. WHICH I LIKE ABOUT HIM. Until last night.
Last night he did not sleep. He was OBSESSED with going out to the backyard about every hour and staying out there and then scratching to come back in as soon as I’d fall asleep. There are three dachshunds across the alley. I suppose one of them is particularly… interesting right now.
That’s the nice version.
At 3 am it translated to, “IT’S A WEENIE DOG, DUKE. A GIRL WEENIE DOG HO THAT IS NOT WORTH THIS DRAMA I PROMISE YOU THEY NEVER ARE WORTH IT GO TO SLEEP. AND? YOU ARE A LARGE DOG. SHE IS NOT. YOU’D GET ARRESTED IF YOU EVEN TRIED. LEAVE HER ALONE. YOU’RE BEING A TOTAL ONE TRACK MINDED DOG AND… AND… WHAT’S THE WORD…? AH. ANTHROPOMORPHIZING. THAT’S WHAT THIS IS. I DON’T CARE. GO TO SLEEP. YOU ARE NOT GETTING LUCKY TONIGHT OR ANY OTHER NIGHT WITH THE GIRL NEXT DOOR. AND EVEN IF SHE’S NOT A HO DOG, SHE’S WAAAAAY TOO SHORT FOR YOU.”
But he pretty much did NOT believe me. And then the cat started chasing moths (what with all the lights going on and off all night) all over the place and that didn’t help.
Callie seemed bewildered by all of it. I did not have the heart to explain it to her.
This could last 21 days. I know, because I started my day by googling how long a dachshund is in heat. And if you begin your day like THAT, then it might be a really rough day.
Seth-6yr is enjoying the frequent usage of the word ‘random.’ He uses it well. And that’s reason enough for this post.
The Anatomical Section:
1. The cat got his annual ‘anti hairball’ Lion Cut. He’s… 13. When his long luxurious white fur is shaved off, his aging pectoral area is more on show than normal and he has the illusion of droopy, furry moobs. It makes me laugh. A lot. And then I feel bad. Because it’s bad enough to be a gorgeous longhair cat that got shaved without this further indignity.
2. New rule at our house: You CANNOT grab/scratch your crotch and then reach out to hold my hand. THAT”S NOT OKAY.
3. Another new rule: You CANNOT refer to your penis as “your number 1.” And i DO NOT CARE if you say it’s only because it LOOKS like a number one. That’s ALSO SERIOUSLY NOT OKAY.
4. The kids love to say “buttocks.” But they say it like a chicken clucking. Loud, shrill, emphasis on the second syllable: ”buh-TAAAAHHHHHX.” Over and over. I don’t know why. I don’t object though. It’s weird and so are they. And it could be so much worse.
5. I have outlasted the waiting period required in the state of Texas before you can get bangs. i think it’s longer than the required waiting period before a divorce is final or before you can get a handgun, and I think that’s as it should be. Some days, I’d like all three. But for now I have new bangs.
6. I’ve gained weight. I thought I was supposed to lose weight? Not pleased.
The Baseball Section:
1. Caden-8yr splits his time between playing 1st base and catcher on a sweet little team that hasn’t won a game yet. He does an excellent job.
2. seth-6yr splits his time between whatever position he is assigned and whatever part of the field in which there is action. It’s not his fault he can run fast enough to play ANY position at any time. And so he does. They have yet to win a game either. I refuse to care. The coaches are positive with the kids, and that’s all that matters to me.
3. Caden-8yr’s team actually wishes they could have Seth-6yr on their team. He practices with them, rather than sit by the car with me. They are awed by his ability to outrun every other kid who actually IS on their team.
4. Communication issues exist on both teams. Eh. Whatever. I could be more in the loop if I picked up a phone and called and asked stuff, but… ew. I’d rather not know stuff than touch a phone. (I may be part of the problem. Yes, I see that.)
5. The sweet umpire who looks like Santa has been worrying my mom and me for weeks now. He’s been using a chair this year. And he just doesn’t look well. And then tonight he walked off the field, assisted, and only emerged from Caden-8yr’s team’s dugout on a stretcher and into an ambulance and that was after Mike ran and got a requested aspirin and we were sure he was having a heart attack and dying right there in the 3rd inning in the dugout and it was AWFUL. It brought up sad memories for my mom and it was a highly emotional turn of events. I patted her leg and leaned forward so she couldn’t see. I prayed silently and yelled loud for Caden-8yr (because really? CAN”T WE JUST CALL THE GAME OVER AND GO HOME AND LET THE UMP HAVE SOME PRIVACY? NO ONE CARES RIGHT NOW ABOUT BASEBALL. REALLY.)
It was only heat exhaustion. We think. (Please pray for the sweet Santa ump.)
The Divorce Section:
1. After Mike moved out I got a smaller bed, moved it into a different corner of the bedroom and then fell out of it a lot. And now I don’t fall out of it. I think this is progress.
2. I’m avoiding the influx of new neighbors. They’re all out in their yards a lot and they look friendly so I don’t look at them and I pretend not to see them when they wave to me. It’s either THAT, or go say hi and tell them waaaay too much about my life and ending marriage that they don’t care about or want to hear but i have no social skills and sometimes if I DO say hello, then what follows is sometimes too personal. And no one needs that. (and if you don’t believe me, then you were NOT at a birthday party today where i told someone I do not know very well about the thanksgiving turkey penis and NO I DID NOT MEAN TO DO THAT but she mentioned that particular bakery and OUT THAT STUPID STORY CAME and then I didn’t quite realize how to SHUT MY STUPID MOUTH and I saw her face freeze into that expression of polite disapproval I am all too familiar with. AM. A. MORON. Let’s just let the neighbors think I’m rude instead. I am. But I’d rather be rude from a distance than accidentally get into more inappropriate turkey penis discussions, what is WRONG with me anyway?!)
3. Mike bought me a cat toy and a ‘public restroom survival kit’ and gave them to me at the baseball game tonight. I had no idea what to say. It was nice. And strange. And I think we’re both trying to figure out what is the new normal for us. And maybe we have a ways to go.
4. Haven’t actually ‘filed’ yet. Still waiting. On financial rearranging. This in-between is weird and stressful all on its own. Joint finances with someone there is no longer a joint relationship. Not ideal. Maybe we can move on soon.
5. I was afraid that the church people weren’t asking me to help with kids because of my scandalous almost divorcing status. But then they asked me to hang out with the toddlers this week and I was SO relieved. I’ve missed them.
The Friend Section:
1. I asked a friend to do a mud run with me. I’ve always wanted to, and this will be my first. SO excited. We are doing the shorter one mile run. The longer one has obstacles, and might require strangers to hoist your muddy butt over walls, etc, so I think maybe NOT. I’ll work up to that. Maybe.
2. Different friend and I were at a public restroom this week and a woman was on the phone. I HATE THAT. Both parts. The ‘being in a public restroom’ part and the ‘someone was on the phone’ part. It INFURIATES me. PUBLIC RESTROOMS ARE SORTA, KINDA PRIVATE. And the sound of someone twinkling is PRIVATE and not to be broadcast to space and back and to whomever is on the other end of that phone call. I wanted to loudly say that I WOULD BE WAITING TO TWINKLE UNTIL YOU HANG UP, THANKS. But I hate public restrooms so much that if I’m actually IN one, I can’t exactly back up that ultimatum. And? I don’t think she’d care. i was telling my friend how awful that was and she did NOT get it. “WHAT? Are you PMS-ing? LET IT GO.”
“EXCUUUUUUSE ME, BUT NO AND I CANNOT BELIEVE YOU EVEN ASKED ME THAT.”
And then she said that the woman was choosing those twinkle sounds and flushing sounds and I was all, “HELLO? THOSE ARE MY SOUNDS?! MIIIIIINE.” We did not exactly get the other’s view on that AT ALL, but it amused us.
3. And then we drove off to a Christian bookstore, where a woman in a black Mustang flew across the parking lot right at us and then gave the “WHAT IS YOUR PROBLEM?” hand signals even though she was the one cutting across the parking lot and my friend was driving down the clearly marked lanes as intended and THEN my sweet friend (who happens to LOOK and SOUND like an angel) got herself a case of road rage and was about to take off AFTER the black mustang and I grabbed the steering wheel and her right arm and yelled at her to stop and breathe and didn’t let go of her until the wild, not so angelic look was gone off her sweet face. And then she parked. And then I laughed at her until i cried because my angelic friend had almost gone completely NUTS on a woman just moments before going into a Christian bookstore to buy gratitude journals for her children and it made me just HURT from the laughing.
4. She’d had a rough week.
5. I’m still laughing.
Yesterday I was beyond thrilled with the success of the Fixing of the Mower. THRILLED. So thrilled I had to tell you. Immediately. And if you didn’t pick up on the smugness, well, IT WAS THERE.
And then it wasn’t.
Because I did something so breathtakingly dumb that I singlehandedly ruined the functionality of electricity for the whole house as soon as it got dark. Because that’s some good timing.
I called Daddy. He’s an electrical engineer. And, more importantly, he’s Daddy. The ONLY man I’m interested in calling under those circumstances. He laughs at me, but never in a mean way, and he always has advice. But he lives kinda far away.
My mom and I are on the short side. We stood on a little vanity stool to get added height to try to add leverage to our attempts to shove the master circuit switch over. And that didn’t work.
I called an electrician.
Then I called a friend.
She said her husband would come over and I was all, “NOOooOOOO! NO HUSBANDS. I FIXED A MOWER AND AM STILL LIKING THE EGO BOOST OF NO HUSBANDS NEEDED FOR ANYTHING, NOOOooOOOOO!”
Her husband showed up ANYWAY and switched the circuit on. He’s like, 6 foot 5 or something ridiculous like that and didn’t need to stand on my little vanity stool. I tried to be grateful and humble and polite. And I think I probably was. But truthfully? I was so annoyed. Sometimes I REALLY hate being short and little. And it’s not like he was able to fix that problem because he was somebody’s husband. Or because he’s a MAN. It’s because God made him to be really on the large side. That’s what I was telling myself. As i felt the sharp sting of an ego disintegrating around me. If God had made ME 6 foot 5 inches tall then I woulda flipped my OWN CIRCUIT THINGY.
Then the electrician showed up, even though I told him not to because by then everything was okay, and we stood in the driveway and talked about mud and trucks. He likes to do that. I forgot that. I tried to be nice, and I think I probably was, but really I was just still annoyed.
I went to bed angry about the 5 foot 4 inches of SOLID PUNY that cannot flip a stupid master circuit. NOT happy about the mower. FURIOUS about the inadequate size issue.
I’d love to tell you I got over it and regained a peaceful acceptance of my strengths and limitations and had a lovely heart to heart with the Creator about it all and then had a peaceful dream and a lovely night’s rest.
But that didn’t happen, I’m still mad and short and too little and not accepting of ANYTHING and so I can’t.
I’m going to go mow the backyard. And if I break something today (AND COME ON, BUT I PROBABLY WILL BREAK SOMETHING TODAY) then I really pray it’s in the category of things I am big enough to fix.
Because the other category crushes me.
It was the riding lawnmower.
The I MUST FIX IT sort of battle previously alluded to and it is FINALLY won. The front yard is mowed into my particular horrifically whimsical pattern of swirls and circles right now as evidence that the battle is indeed over.
The riding lawnmower and I have a brief but interesting (to me, right at this moment) history. It arrived as an unexpected but EXACTLY what I wanted, wonderful gift. And then I realized it’s actually very difficult to mow straight lines and I immediately gave up. I’m the only one in the neighborhood with swirls. AND THAT”S OKAY. And THEN I had a little accident last fall and it broke my hand. Driver error. TOTALLY. As if there were any doubt.
And THEN. Well. I think I vaguely remember Mike discussing fuel stabilizer with me. And I thought he added it. But probably he was telling me to do that, because it was still unopened whenever I got around to looking at it. i got around to looking at it when the grass got all shaggy a couple of weeks ago and the lawnmower wouldn’t start.
So. I checked the oil. It needed some. And gas. And that was easy enough. But then the battery acted weak and weird and then it died. So i replaced that. Except I was in a hurry to take the old one off and sort of took the brute force approach and ripped off the metal prong thing where you hook up the black cable. And got a socket stuck on it. There was a lot of corrosion. And, fine, I used the wrong size. And prying that off is how I shoved a screwdriver through two of my fingers last week. Eventually i got it off with a lot of wire brushing, WD-40 and prayer. But the mower still didn’t work.
My dad talked me through all of it and then today I took apart everything I could think of and then sent him a picture of the mower’s ‘carcass’ and asked him to point out the carburetor, please. I did stuff to the carburetor and then it actually STARTED and that was awesome and then i dropped a screw right down the air intake thingy.
I made my 4th trip to Tractor Supply. I love that store. They don’t care if you’re wearing your falling apart nastiest hole-y jeans and you smell like WD-40. Daddy told me to get a magnetic retriever sort of tool. That’s what you need when you drop a screw down the air intake thingy, and it got it out instantly.
Then I put everything back together that i had taken apart and it took forever and then I mowed circles in the grass and I’m SO very pleased I just had to tell you.
Sometimes you just need to take on more than you probably should, past the point of injury, past the point of tears, and just keep going with only your dad helping via endless patient, humorous, helpful texts and get through it, already, even if it takes WEEKS.
I do, anyway.
He knows the sort of thing I’m likely to do wrong. I tend toward ‘brute force’ and ‘excessive use of various spray products.’ He knows the sort of mistakes I’m likely to make that could result in explosions, and he warns accordingly.
And the grass is done. The mower is running better than it did last year. And I didn’t lose any fingers or break any hands. That’s such a nice way for today to have turned out. So much better than expected.
I’m FREEZING cold this morning. And that cannot possibly help the mood I’ve been in for the past two days. (I suppose that’s a warning, y’all)
My sister came to visit (not why I’m grumpy, that was wonderful), and every time I’d go over to my mom’s and start talking to them I’d have to stop myself mid-snippy comment and apologize at how apparently I was still in a mood.
It was my own fault. I told Mike I’d work with him with all his travel stuff and kid weekends, etc. But that meant that every weekend in April was opposite of what it should have been, and that meant that I wouldn’t have Ethan-12 yr on his 12 year birthday and I could have said no. But I didn’t. And then I just couldn’t stand it. We all met for a birthday lunch, and I was 5 minutes late because the alternative was showing up with tears running down my face. I held it together through a weird lunch until I walked away and then stumbled through a Chili’s parking lot with tears running down my face again.
Maybe I shouldn’t have been quite so accommodating. It’s a default mode that I’m trying to change. My value is not in how much I can simplify others’ lives or in how much I can reduce their inconvenience, even at my own expense. Why do I forget that? Or, why did I never know that before? I remember thinking that this would be difficult – being away from Ethan on that day – but that was part of divorce and it would be hard on either Mike or on me, and it might as well be me.
Well, SURE. But it didn’t have to be. I agreed to switch weekends and VOLUNTEER to be the fool in the Chili’s parking lot. I’ve got to figure this stuff out. And fast.
Ethan-12yr had a nice birthday. I’m sure of that. (That helps.)
I was FREEZING cold yesterday, too. Yesterday morning I slid into the very last pew and sat in the wide gap between two older men. I like the back of church. You’re way close to the door, and the people around you are mostly old with hearing aids because there are speakers back there. I’m shy and tone deaf – it’s a good place for me. The man to my right stretched his arm out along the back of the pew. I scooted left towards the other man. In order to escape the scenario of sitting with that man’s arm behind me on the pew (SO NOT HAPPENING, don’t even get me started) I had to scoot over and position myself right under a cold air vent. The only alternative was sitting in the lap of the sweet old man to my left, whose right foot seemed to be asleep and so that probably would have made that worse. So, always aiming for ‘appropriate’, I sat there in the draft and froze. I had a chenille cardigan. I wrapped it around myself and tried not to shake visibly. The man in front of me fiddled with his hearing aid a few times, turned around and saw the long left arm I was trying to escape and the shaking blue chenille. He raised a gray eyebrow at the man, flashed me a “WHAT THE HELL?” look, and handed me a navy blue, size large, fantastically warm sweater. I was so grateful. I wrapped up in that one, too, and stopped shaking.
The man to my left (who did not feel the need to dramatically exhibit his wingspan) told me I could sit there any time. He’d been in that exact seat for ten years and I was welcome to come back and be cold right next to him if I wanted. It was a strange, but very kind offer.
I wonder if I could discreetly smuggle in a non-bulky and yet still warm blanket somehow. I might need a bigger purse. But I bet I could do it.
For now, i’m going to take a space heater out to the garage. I’m working on fixing something I screwed up last week and it’s, you guessed it, FREEZING cold out there. Last time I tried to ‘fix’ this mistake I rammed a very sharp screwdriver through my left middle finger. And that was fun. Fun with impaling! So I’ll be wearing gloves this time, maybe holding the ‘problem’ with pliers instead of fingers (my dad’s idea), and looking into getting a tetanus shot. (My sister’s idea.)
Last week I was behind a truck with the business name “Rent a Man!” or something like that. I prayed out loud to God right then and there that I would not be the divorced woman who called the Rent A Man guy. Please, Lord, but no. Let me impale my fingers off, one by one, as I learn to fix whatever I break, before I become that woman who occasionally “rents” men. PLEASE don’t let that be my future.
So. I’m off to freeze in the garage and fix some stuff. Let’s all just agree in prayer that I am successful because we have all just glimpsed the possible alternative, amen.
If i were to write a tips blog on how to get divorced – and i NEVER would – the one thing i would include would be:
Don’t give up diet coke, antidepressants, carbs, and sugar at the same time you’re giving up your marriage. It’s maybe… a bit MUCH. Maybe focus on just one or two. Not everything toxic or somewhat unhealthy has to go all at once. Pace yourself.
I mean, I don’t intend to take that advice. But I am a bit more forgiving of myself when I slip up here and there.
Now. I hereby risk the chorus of GIMME PICTURES and tell you what I’ve been up to. You know as well as I do that I only post the occasional poor quality photo whenever that magical cord thing appears by my computer when I happen to be in the picture posting mood and then can remember how to work it and that doesn’t happen very often and the chances of it happening in my withdrawal symptom cloud is… eh, low. regardless. this is what i’ve been doing:
1. the ISLAND. oh WOW. the island looks wonderful. it was a large cherry stained, stovetop on top kind of dark big THING in the kitchen. And after about 12 hours of work, it is now a stunningly gorgeous off white, distressed, dark waxed beauty that enlarges the whole space. Glass knobs. So love it now. Will actually have to find that cord thing.
i looooove it. seth-6yr does not. he finally said, tentatively, “so… you did all of that. and now… it looks… old… and dirty?”
I think the phrase you’re looking for is antiqued and distressed, sethie.
2. a couple of craigslist tables. I let caden-8yr pick the colors, and we have the odd combination of red with gray showing through from underneath.
3. that Queen Anne headboard did end up emerald, but then i put a periwinkle chalk paint on top and sanded it so the green shows through.
4. seth-6yr and i cleaned the garage. it makes me smile, now. before it made me clench my teeth.
5. my mother’s metal rocking chair that sits on her front porch. it was brown. we painted it coral. which dried pink. and she hated it. so that got scraped off and then sprayed purple, then painted a chalky sea blue-green and then distressed so the purple shows through. it was during this process that I decided if i ever do custom paint jobs on islands or furniture commission, i won’t do it in front of the client unless it’s my mother, whose pickiness i can deal with. no one else gets that privilege.
i need to repair the drywall above the water heater where a roofer fell through a few years ago. it’s apparently a big problem for the insulation to fall out of that hole and onto the water heaters. i do NOT want to invite big problems for the water heaters. so. fixing. (the guy at Lowe’s cut and gave me the big piece of sheetrock i’ll need for free. i don’t know why. but i’ll take it, and THANKYOU, Lowe’s.)
replacing the stem valve on the riding mower, then mow. it doesn’t look too hard. parts arrived yesterday. should be fine.
pick a color for the bed that will be MINE and get it done already. i’ve been stripping it and repairing it forever and not rushing because i can’t quite decide on a color. as it is, i have no footboard and the covers slip down and then the dog lays on the covers as they pool on the carpet and then they slip more and she rolls up in them and by the end of the night i have no covers and the dog has a lovely warm dog nest on the carpet and I envy her.* so. that needs to change.
painting a little entryway table i got off craigslist from a creepy seller who lived right by the airport on a day when i needed to go to the airport anyway so it worked out. it may have been convenient, but he was creepy. the table legs are curvy and i may even keep it if it looks right.
geraniums. purchased, and need planting.
so! what are your spring projects?
* i can’t just get her a dog bed. i know you dog lovers will suggest it. there’s a reason. it has to do with freedom of expression enjoyed by the insecure cat, and let’s just leave it at that.
I hope your Easter was as lovely as mine. i really do. I spent the whole day with my sweet mother and by the time Amazing Race came on, I was painted three different colors, head to toe, and she had not a drop on her. Even though she’d painted just as much as I had. I’m messy.
Today started out VERY early with my yelling from the bathroom, “DO YOU KNOW WHAT JESUS DID FOR YOU? HE DIED AND ROSE FROM THE DEAD. AND ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS SIT NEXT TO YOUR BROTHER FOR A FEW MINUTES WITHOUT KICKING HIM.”
And then I woke up the rest of the way and made breakfast and was fine. But GEEZ the trivial conflicts started early today. After my mom arrived, we hid eggs and went to church. Where I managed to completely get two people’s identities WAY wrong and in such a way that they KNEW it and then I had to try to apologize my way out of that. twice. And I cried all over a suede dress because, well, it’s Jesus. And Easter. Not because of the people I got all confused about. (Yes. It really was cold enough for suede this morning. Ugh.)
It’s not that I don’t CARE who people are enough to remember their names. I’m very good with names. And voices. But faces…? Not so much. I don’t know how long I have to stare at someone’s face before I really know it. But it’s a long time. When I met and stared at Mysti’s sweet face for 4 hours while we ate tacos and laughed and talked recently… I thought for sure I’d know her face if I saw it again. I mean, FOUR hours? But i wouldn’t know Mysti if she passed me at Target. (Sorry Mysti. I really wouldn’t. WHAT IS WITH THAT?)
It’s nothing new. Five years ago my mom and I were sitting in the Albuquerque airport and she handed me a magazine article about people like that. Facial Blindness. Or Face Recognition Disorder or something like that. And I handed it back to her and told her how reading that was the first time I realized everyone else wasn’t just like me in that way, too. Epiphany. Right there in Albuquerque. So. I know I’m like this. It just bothered me more today, because i usually keep to myself so much better and it doesn’t really ‘show.’
I think the moment it bothered me the most was when a lovely woman at church said hello and I introduced her to my mother. As “Stephanie.” And? She said, “Oh. Yes. But actually I”M NOT STEPHANIE. I’m ______” She was VERY kind about it.
My mom asked later if the two women looked alike. And I was all, “WHY ASK ME? I HAVE NO IDEA. I THINK THEY”RE BOTH REALLY PRETTY BRUNETTES BUT WHO KNOWS GAAAAAAHHHHH?!”
One of the reasons I decided instantly, 16 years ago, that of course I liked Mike very much was his chin. (SHUT UP. I was… 20? I married a man only PARTLY because of his chin. Not ENTIRELY. That would be silly.)
Mike’s chin is unlike ANY other man’s chin. It has a very deep chin dimple thing in it. I remember thinking, “Aha! I would know that man anywhere.” And that was it. I could bypass the hours and hours of studying his face in order to get it into my head and just check the chin. That was immensely convenient. Comforting, even. Appealing, definitely. It was as good as a name tag.
When in life is there actually time to study someone’s face for all those hours I need in order to recognize someone? There isn’t. You meet someone at church or somewhere else and say hi and maybe talk for a few minutes, and that’s enough for most people to recognize them again in the future, and it will NEVER be enough for me.
Instead, there are mental lists for people. A very good friend of mine is almost 6 feet tall, gorgeous, long blonde hair, and i know how she usually dresses and what her purse looks like. The first ten times or so we met for coffee, that was the mental checklist for picking her out in a coffee shop. (most people don’t need a checklist for picking out a gorgeous 6 foot blonde in a coffee shop. I know. And that right there is my problem.) AFTER those first 10 coffees, I knew her face. Today, I’d recognize her anywhere.
I know her husband. But I’ve never stared at his face for that many hours and I wouldn’t necessarily recognize him if I ran into him somewhere I wasn’t already expecting him to be, unless I heard his voice.
As you can imagine, I just don’t know that many faces. most people are ‘mental checklist’ people – not ‘i know that face’ people. I’m good with that. But right now people at church are waaaaay friendlier than I’d like and I’m suddenly very aware that few of them are actually the people I THINK they are and that’s just so disconcerting. The last church I went to was small. I knew everyone. I knew their faces. We were all mostly the same sweet people every week for ten years. That’s completely impossible at this church.
I’d like name tags.
If you don’t have a one of a kind chin, then by all means, slap on a name tag. Or ignore me! hey, let’s just do that.