Friday, June 25, 2010

Friday, I'm In Love

I would like to start a new tradition: Fridays will be a list of 5 things I LOVE. (Reminding yourself of fabulousness as you look forward to a weekend never hurts!)

5. Michael Jackson's Thriller. I was in second or third grade when that record came out. As such, I own it on vinyl. It's still awesome. Whatever else was true about Michael Jackson, that record is reflective of genius. (There's a video retrospective on right now as it's the anniversary of his death, but I'm turning it off to listen to Thriller in all of it's original scratchy vinyl glory)

4. The video for Smooth Criminal. It's sooooo cooooool. (How cool? You ask? This cool: )

(Thus endeth the Michael Jackson portion of the list)

3. Seeing the sunrise on my early morning walks. Being outside at 6:00 AM is kind of a shock to my (not so much awake) system, but it's a wonderful way to start the day. This morning the sunrise over the tobacco fields (yes, you read that correctly) was BEAUTIFUL.

4. Crazy nailpolish colours. Too fun.

5. This little face, watching me adoringly as I work:

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Space Between

I am getting serious about the packing. Here's how I know: I had the afternoon off. Did I go to the spa? Did I drink boat drinks on the deck? (By the way - according to the thermometer on the deck, it is currently 110 degrees out there. Welcome to summer in North Carolina.) Did I get a pint of Ben and Jerry's and curl up on the sofa to see what shenanigans are currently going on in Port Charles?


I cleaned.

To be more specific, I cleaned the one area of my living space that I NEVER clean. I try to pretend it doesn't exist. I don't go there, I don't look there, and I certainly don't PUT things there, because I know that if I do, they're gone forever, never to be seen or heard from again. Yes, that's right ... I cleaned (represses a shudder) ... BENEATH MY BED.

I have SERIOUS issues with the space beneath the bed.

First: Was anyone else completely traumatized by the movie "Poltergeist"? The clown doll? Under the bed? I was ALREADY afraid of clowns, hello, and now I had to worry that there was one under my bed. Lurking in the darkness. Waiting for an unsuspecting me to hang my head over the edge and peer underneath so that it could unleash some sort of vile butchery upon my person.

Second: The older you get, the bigger the bed, am I right? Storing stuff under the twin bed of my childhood was questionable (see "first") but at least then I could REACH it. As I get older and the bed gets bigger, I've noticed that there's some sort of gravitational pull to the CENTER of the space underneath the bed, and that anything you might possibly need (the matching shoe, the book you accidentally kicked under there in your morning pre coffee fog, the emergency flashlight for when the power goes out) gets sucked RIGHT to that spot. Which, of course, you can't reach unless you're Yao Ming. (And even then, it might be iffy).

Third: Asthma. Allergies. Dust Bunnies. Enough said.

For years, I didn't HAVE a "space beneath the bed" because -- tricky crafty me -- I didn't have a bed. I sat a box spring and mattress directly on the floor and was all "Look at me, I'm so artsy and bohemian!" At some point in my twenties, though, I suddenly became a fan of things like: furniture. Chairs. Dishes. The trappings of adult life. Instead of living like a freewheeling hippie chick who could throw her matress in a truck at any moment and relocate, I wanted to have, you know, a home.

It happens.

So I got a real bed. It was second hand and kind of rickety. Then I fell in love and bought a house and got a better bed -- a really cool bed. And then I moved again and bought a monstrosity of a bed, a ridiculous bed, all made of wood and iron and awesome. I LOVE it.

But seriously, the space underneath it is like a cavern with a very very low hanging ceiling. I can't get under there. That does not stop my STUFF from getting under there, though; I have known for a while that there might be a, erm, situation under there, and at some point I would have to deal with it. Just put on my big girl pants and go to town.

Today was apparently the day. It went pretty well, to be honest. I put a flashlight or two at the edges so I could see under there, armed myself with a yardstick (for the "poke it over to the other side of the bed" method of trying to move things to where I could reach them) and a coat hanger (for the "hook it and drag it toward me" method of moving things where I could reach them) and a glass of wine (in case either of the other methods failed and I had to resort to the "try to get under the bed and reach it with my actual hands" method).

I learned a few things though. First, that I am really not a messy person. Everything was either in neat rows (and out of reach, so how they were so neatly lined up is a bit of a mystery) or in shoe boxes, or nicely stacked. It was a pleasant surprise, which was quickly followed by a less pleasant surprise.

Which was this: I have a flip flop problem.

To be fair, I don't think I BOUGHT all of those flip flops. I simply COULDN'T have. There's no way. I mean, yes, I wear flip flops pretty much 24/7 and I work from home so shoes are totally optional AND I live in North Carolina where you can kind of get away with the flippies all year round (and for those days you can't, I have SHEARLING flip flops which may be indicative of the severity of my problem), but ... we're talking many many pairs of flip flops.

There is only one logical conclusion: They're BREEDING under there. That's got to be it. So I'm conducting an experiment: I left two pairs under the bed, all by themselves. I'll check under there again in a few weeks.... and if there are more than two pairs of flip flops, it has to do with the Curse of the Space Under The Bed, and it's not MY shopping issue. Right?


Sunday, June 20, 2010

Little Wing

It's Father's Day.

My father and I have a difficult relationship. We're not close. There are situations where an excellent memory is a blessing, but it is often true that it can also be a curse.

For Father's Day, though, a story: Once, when I was a girl (and that very phrase makes me marvel -- when did I get so old as to be able to begin in such a way?) I was walking in the narrow hall that lead from our kitchen to the bedrooms when I heard a shrill, distressed peeping. I went into the bedroom my parents shared and there, in the window, was a small bird. It clung to the window screen. Behind it, two larger birds answered its cries, swooping at intervals from the pine trees in our side yard.

I could tell something was wrong. I ran for my parents. "There's a baby bird caught in your window screen!"

My parents and my sister came to see. The baby bird seemed unable -- or unwilling -- to release its hold on the mesh, as though it had been trying to fly, had failed somehow in the lesson, and was now too afraid to let go, despite the frantic calls of the other birds that I imagined were the parents.

"Stay in the house," my dad said.

He went to the basement and got a heavy pair of work gloves, then went outside and took the tiny, trembling body into his hand and, as gently as possible, worked the fledgling's talons free from the screen. All the while, the larger birds both scolded him at the top of their birdy lungs -- and, in an effort to protect their young -- hurled themselves at his head. He didn't swat at them or let go of the baby bird. He simply kept at his task until it was free; when it finally was, he opened his hand and off it flew. My sister and I clapped with joy.

We spent the whole summer RUNNING out of the house, because whenever we went outside, the birds attacked us. There was no room for gratitude in their feathery brains; they didn't see my dad as the human who rescued their baby, but as the giant who had traumatized their entire family beyond belief.

I never minded dashing from the house to the car, though, or the fact that suddenly going to the end of the driveway to get the mail was an event of Olympic and possibly fatal dimensions (I suspect that my mother, who fears birds and who had to hang the wash in the backyard to dry, had entirely different feelings about the fact that the birds wanted to maim us all), because I had seen a side of my father that I had never seen. He could be kind. He could be gentle.

I could whisper it to myself: My father saves birds.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

She Works Hard For the Money

I should start by saying this: I love my job.

I do love it. It suits me. I work from home, so I have no commute (and since I've totalled TWO cars in accidents during the commutes for previous jobs -- I LOVE the lack of a commute!). I don't have to dress up. I don't have to wear shoes! I can sing show tunes at my desk and no one cares! I can drink RIDICULOUS amounts of coffee and the resulting hyperactivity doesn't annoy anyone!

I LOVE my job.

Some days, though .... some days ...

To be fair, don't all jobs have "those days"? Sure they do. I can usually keep it in perspective. For example, was I hit by a bus while on the way to work today, causing the airbag to deploy and therefore dislocate the thumb on my dominant hand in two places and leaving me in a cast for several months? (Look, I'm a crash test dummy!) No, I was not.

Was I punched in the head while trying to break up a fight in the lobby, knocked to the floor, and kicked several times? (I LIVE for adventure!) No, I was not.

Perspective. It's important.

Oh, but sometimes? The perspective is hard to maintain. I find myself on the slippery slope of stress related anxiety despite the fact that I am gleefully barefoot, listening to Bob Marley, and absentmindedly scritching Bean the cat as she purrs with contentment. I KNOW I have it good. I do! But it's work and work has stress and I get bogged down in the details -- did this sub complete the job properly? Is that contact calling us back? Are WE calling that contact back? Are the clients happy? Are the subs happy? Are my coworkers happy? How about my boss? Is HE happy? Are things going well? are they now? how about now? Now?

I know that things can go from good (driving to work, singing along with Dave Matthews on a pretty September morning) to VERY VERY BAD (broadsided by an intoxicated driver who runs a red light at 45 mph) in less than 2.7 seconds. I'm good at my work because I keep an eye out for the drunk driver zipping along the back roads, waiting for traffic lights to run, and often I can redirect traffic to avoid them. Once in a while, though, they weave past me and plow right into something that has been carefully and lovingly constructed.

Yesterday was a "slipped past the roadblock" day. Let's just say that. Let's also say this: no one punched me in the head. I didn't get hit by a bus. Some perspective, please.

Let's hope today is better.

Monday, June 14, 2010

A Dustland Fairytale

This is not my first go round with the blogging. My blogging journey has gone something like this:

Once upon a time, a young woman kept a blog (the year was 2005, and the concept of blogging was newish to her) and she was very excited about it. Her spouse thought it was the dumbest thing he had ever heard of and mocked her writing with some regularity. "I know it's not art," she said, "but it is mine."

"I'm sure you can find better things to do," he said sourly.

Our heroine's spirit was crushed and she crept away from the keyboard in defeat.

However, in this as in ALL good fairy tales, the naysayer was banished from the kingdom and a freewheeling spirit of blogging once again ruled the land. "Tra laaaaa" sang our heroine (because she was once again allowed to sing), "Let there be blogging for everyone!"

This was when she discovered that not everyone enjoys being discussed in a blog, especially when the description was more comical than flattering. "Hmmm," she thought, pushing her glasses up on her nose, "I should probably try to figure out the where to draw the line between 'things that happen to people I know' and 'things that happen to people I know that are also okay to write about', lest I seriously annoy those I enjoy." Caught up in the details, her blogging slowed ... and slowed ... and stopped.

Alas, however, she found she missed it. "It's not that my life is so interesting," she thought to herself, "but that I have things to say, and I would like the chance to say them."

She suddenly brightened: "Ah ha!" she thought, "I shall post a disclaimer!"

****Disclaimer: If I know you, the likelihood that you will end up in a blog posting at some point is ... well, it's high. Also, I am a big fan of telling the truth, and as I have some, um, complicated relationships with people, they might not enjoy reading said blog or hearing about it later. I'd like to apologize to my family in advance because -- well, the fact that you're completely nuts makes you very funny, and also pretty much guarantees that I will write about you. So, there you go. Disclaimer complete***

Halfway Gone

I am getting ready to move -- again.

When I moved to North Carolina in the summer of 2007, I lived in an apartment in Rochester, NH (which I liked to call Ra-cha-cha in an effort to make what seemed like an otherwise grim situation a little more peppy; also, Ra-cha-cha is fun to say). Then, as now, I began packing early because a) I'm completely OCD and b) I hate packing. HATE THE PACKING. This is one of the reasons that packing became "the throwing away of many many things I own omg am I a hoarder? is an intervention is order? aaaaagggggghhhhhhhhh" and I would frequently invent activities that would require leaving the apartment for extended periods of time, like going to get lunch with the Flink.

In Portland, Maine.

At the time, this made complete sense because obviously, if I had packed my kitchen items, I couldn't cook there, and clearly I needed to EAT, and sometimes a girl just wants a burrito -- and the best place to get a delicious burrito is Costa Vida (and their one New England location is in Portland) ... and if I was eating a burrito in Portland, I wouldn't have to be staring at the ridiculous amounts of THINGS that needed to find a home in a box so I could truck them to North Carolina.

At any rate, the slow but steady packing meant that my apartment was gradually taken over by stacks and stacks of boxes. I was surrounded by my stuff. Often, I would find Bean the cat staring at me from atop a large tower of plastic totes with a look of delighted puzzlement, as though to say "I appreciate that you've turned your entire living space into a glorious play area for me, Momma, but I have noticed that you now have nowhere to sit."

Flash forward three years, and once again, my things -- my STUFF -- is encroaching and making my living quarters less than comfy (and once again, it seems, I am destined to be without a place to sit) as I reverse the moving process and gather my things in boxes so I can truck them back UP the coast and return to New Hampshire.

It's interesting, though, the packing. The purging. Going through all of your stuff -- your actual, physical possessions and your emotional baggage. I hate it when people say "I was in a dark place" but my apartment in Rochester was LITERALLY a dark place -- very few windows, kind of cavelike -- and I was not, shall we say, the most emotionally healthy I've ever been. I would sit on the floor, in the dark, sifting through what was left after my marriage ended and before I moved to North Carolina. Old life, meet new life. I finally realized that this was my moment -- I could LITERALLY choose what I took with me as I moved on. It was amazing.

It was terrifying.

Every choice became a crazy metaphor. Every item I dumped, every item I packed, was suddenly so much more than, say, framed photo or an old mixing bowl. Everything had physical and emotional weight. It was, to put it mildly, somewhat ridiculous. I would stare at a box and wonder if I was making the right choices. I would often cry. The cat would hide. Then my phone would ring and the Flink would wonder if, perhaps, I would like to go to the beach.

(Oh how I owe that girl!)

This time? Not so much. I have less stuff. Fewer things and less baggage. Both make me happy; watching my possessions as they stack up around me is kind of fabulous because it's ALL new life. It's all moving foward.

It always was. I just couldn't see it.