Sunday, August 13, 2017

Murphy's Law, My Life

I hate running errands, plain and simple. If there's anything I can do online that simplifies errand running, then I am the master of the keyboard. But, for those occasions when I actually have to get dressed and exit my sanctuary, I stall as long as humanly possible, before locking up the puppy and setting foot outside. Like Gizmo I shriek "Bright light! Bright light!" as I struggle to get my sunglasses in place. I think in a past life I was an agoraphobic hermit with photosensitivity and a vampire complex. Or possibly a gremlin. 

This past Friday, my errand du jour was getting the Tundra's emissions tested, and getting the new tag. Pretty simple, right? Maybe 2 miles up the road, done and done, back home again. Easy peasy. Excuse me while I snicker at your naivete! For most people, this would be a forgettable outing, done quickly and efficiently with nary a thought. For me? Oh hell no! It turned into a nearly three hour ordeal. Oh, I know what you're thinking--emissions place was run over, tag office crammed full of number yanking people crammed together like sweaty sardines in a can whose eyes flick from their number, to the next served neon sign to the clock on the wall, ending with an impatient sigh. Would you believe I never made it that far?

Murphy's Law has taken up residence in my life, refusing to back down or allow one thing to go without a hitch, even something as ordinary and mundane as emissions testing and tag getting. Okay, here's how my Friday went, and bear in mind I stalled until nearly 3:30, and was only going to do emissions that day. After running through the routine--locking up puppy, grabbing keys, iPod in check--I head out the door, promising Crash and Maggie I will be home shortly. I get in the truck, start 'er up, and realize I've forgotten my cell phone. Ever since I dropped it and shattered the back--thank God not the screen--I keep it in a wallet case that is too big to fit in the purse pocket where my phone typically goes, hence the forgetting it. But seriously, what genius decided to make the back of a cell phone glass? Who actually thought that was an advancement in technology? And why don't they tell you this when you get the phone? Samsung, you've lost points in my book over this ridiculousness! I prefer my phones to be durable plastic or metal or hell, even rubber, something that won't shatter so easily when one is whacking the hand that is holding the phone to stop a mosquito from sucking one's blood...yes, I know. Murphy's Law. Don't judge me!

Anyway, I shut off the truck, head on up to get my phone and realize...I have no house key. 

That line has to stand alone for proper emphasis. I have no phone, and no house key. I check the sliding door on the deck, but no, this is one time I lock the damn door, of course, because that's Murphy's Law. At this point I don't know what to do. I'm a socially awkward introvert who knows I have neighbors, or at least I think I do...maybe I do, I mean I probably do, right? but I don't know them, so I can't knock on the door and speak to them, not to mention asking if I can use their phone! So I get in the truck and drive, thinking I'll still do emissions, then worry about what to do after that. A couple of cars in line, I decide to head on to my oldest son's apartment. He'll be home, I mean, what are the chances that the one time I head down there without calling/texting first he won't be home? Murphy's Law/my life, of course!

I don't see his car, nor do I see my daughter-in-law's car, so I know I'm SOL, but hey, I drove all that way, I'll give it a knock. The neighborhood watch dude is on his deck watching me, because he knows one of these things is not like the other, one of these things just doesn't belong, and I'm the thing in this scene. I head back to the truck with full intention of waiting a bit to see if the prodigal son returns, but I didn't want to give neighborhood watch dude cause for concern so I quickly exit. As I drive, the music is on, but my mind is busy with nervous chatter--what are you going to do? how will you get in your house? you can't even call 911 because you don't have a phone--and I seriously missed pay phones for the first time in quite a few years. We might not have had personal phone devices back in the day, but if you had pocket change aka candy money (real money for candy, not candy money you eat JSYK) then you knew if you walked a little you'd find a phone booth, and all would be well.

I'm driving up 41, outwardly calm, inwardly panicking, wondering where to stop to see if I can use a phone. I decide on Walmart, which is where the emissions testing is and right across from the tag office, because if that fails the fire station is next to the tag office, and they would have to help me. I mean, with a story like that to entertain them, why wouldn't they? 

I head to customer service, expecting them to shoot it down. The bored young man advised me I could use the phone in jury. What? I questioned. He repeated and pointed, but I'm still not getting it. Finally I see it and say "Oh, jewelry!" and head on over. Of course, Murphy's Law being so firmly attached to my life, the phone is right there, but no one is at the counter. I go back to customer service and ask if he could page someone to the counter, as I don't want to just use their phone, and I don't know what to dial out to use it. He sighs like I am just getting in the way of his fun with the other customer service guys, and sighs "Yes". I see a well known manager and ask him, he says dial 9 and then the number, so now I'm just praying the man I married answers the phone without recognizing the number. By then a jury lady had come over, but I pointed to the phone and she dutifully left, probably relieved she didn't have to actually help the 50 year old red cheeked sweating idiot at her station.

"Hello Chris?" I say.
"May I ask who is calling?" he says, more suspicious than polite.
"It's your wife, Joyce."
"Why is the number different?" (thinking I wrecked the truck)
"I'm calling from Walmart. I forgot my cell phone and I don't have a house key. You need to call one of the boys and have them come to the house and let me in!"
"What's going on?" he asks.
"I just told you!"
"You broke up, I didn't hear anything after Joyce."
"I'm calling from Walmart. I forgot my cell phone and I don't have a house key. You need to call one of the boys and have them come to the house and let me in!"
(His house key is in the key dish at the house. I had removed it from his key ring so his nurse could use it to let herself in on Thursdays when it's IV treatment day, since I have to work...again, Murphy's Law fully entrenched in my life. D'oh!)
"Okay, I will call them."
"I'm going to come home and sit in the driveway and wait, I guess." Which I did. Patiently. Because what other choice did I have? 

My youngest arrived to save the day, and everything was okay in the end. The dogs were hungry, the man I married was hungry, and I guess I was too, but we survived this latest lapse in memory. I will say though that I learned a valuable lesson--when Murphy's Law is a way of life, never be too distracted that you forget your cell phone and/or your key, because that happens to be the absolute worst case scenario for a socially awkward agoraphobic introvert hermit with photosensitivity and a vampire complex. Or a gremlin. Either way, I should have just stayed home!

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Life is Like

...a roller coaster
...a balloon
...a bowl of cherries
...a bicycle
...a road
...a cash register
...a party
...a camera
...a book
...a movie
...a grindstone
...toilet paper--either you're on a roll, or you're taking shit from some asshole

So many life is like comparisons, from philosophic to funny, all meaningful in their own way. Perhaps one of the most iconic life is like saying was quoted by a literary idiot savant named Forrest Gump, as told to him by his humble yet venerable mama, and it goes a lil somethin' like this: "Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're gonna get." Hell, you could make one up using just about anything, as long as your analogy makes sense.

Life is like a chameleon, always changing to suit where you are and what you're doing.

Life is like a unicorn, mythical, magical, an epic adventure.

Life is like eye drops, the more you use them, the clearer things are.

Well, not my best work, but for early morning on my day off skimming the top of my head and using what I'm seeing on my computer table, not too shabby (just FYI, I don't have a chameleon on my computer table. That one just sprung up on its own. Because I like chameleons. JSYK (just so you know)).

One time when my oldest son was very young, he seemed to have an answer for everything. So I said to him jokingly, "Well, since you know everything, what's the meaning of life?" A question we all have asked at some point, an answer that is probably different for everyone.  After a very brief pause, he answered, "It's everything that you do." That has stuck with me over all these years, because out of the mouths of babes comes the truth. It IS everything that we do--if you do good, your life is good, if you do bad, your life is bad. Very philosophical. Life is like so many things, it means so many things, and to some, it means very little.

So while I could spend the day reading life is like analogies and spend even longer applying them to my life, which, right now, is like a slow moving trolley through the less scenic parts of hell, I have my own life is like that I live by--in fact, I can apply this reasoning to just about everything--from loading a dishwasher, to packing a suitcase, to organizing a cabinet, to figuring out how to handle all the crap that's going wrong right now. The life is like analogy that I swear by is simply this:

Life is like a game of Tetris--you have to work hard to make all the pieces fit together without allowing them to build up, so you can win the game and get high score instead of game over, man. (quit rolling your eyes, that's rude!)

Seriously, though, think about it. Life is balance, it's  cohesion, it's a grand puzzle where all the pieces fit together or it just doesn't work. You wanna see puppies in a basket, a barn in the countryside, hell, you wanna see where's Waldo? You have to work at it! You have to fit all the pieces together or you'll never see the picture...and it can be a beautiful picture, man. But like anything else, it takes concentration, dedication, devotion, patience, and skill. It also takes a sense of humor, strong will, and love. Because life is like love, it can bring you to new heights or send you crashing to the ground. They both take balance. This coming from a 50 year old who nearly falls over when she's walking, right? Balance takes skill. Anyone who thinks they can skate through life is...well, filthy rich. But most of us don't skate through life without having to change the wheels every now and again. 

Tetris. My all-time favorite puzzle game. My favorite life is like analogy. Whenever I am confronted with difficulty, when things just don't work,  when they just won't click, I think of Tetris--and I keep on shifting things around until they fit together. Thank you, Alexey Leonidovich Pajitnov. Without your contribution to the 80's gaming world, I would not have my life is like. I shudder to think where I would be. Because honestly, and I'm keepin' it real here, people, if MY life was like a box of chocolates it would be empty...and I'd be fat. JSYK.

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Conversations Amongst Ourselves

I'm melting!
I'm melting! Like parts of me are flowing off never to be seen again.
like literally? (looks around the floor)
(Scoffs.) No not literally! Figuratively, symbolically, metaphorically, metaphysically, spiritually, mentally.
Oh?  OH?!? Epic response. 
sorry. i just don't get the drama. it's rather draining. 
Well excuse me if my crisis doesn't register on your own personal richter scale of emotions.
Or would that be emotional richter scale? I'm not sure.
imma earthquake in this scenario?
There's nothing earth shattering about you. In fact, I think they would bring you to the morgue in the hospital because you're practically flatlining.
wait...what? now i'm deceased? was i killed in an earthquake of emotional drama caused by the fault line in your heart? heh heh, not bad! (punches self in arm)
Go ahead, make fun of me. You won't think it's so funny when I'm gone.
when you've completely melted away, you mean? (snickers)
I walked right into that one, didn't I?
(nods) yeah, you really did...or maybe i did, if you're the one who's melting and all.
Just stop already! 

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Alone with the Dogs

I'm sitting here drinking coffee answering some messages, and I suddenly realize that I am alone. Well, as alone as one can be with four dogs in the background, playing and barking and hitting my chair as they chase each other around the couch. I don't get much alone time anymore, and that's been really tough. I need that time to regain my peace, my inner strength, my calm in the chaos that is life. And when I don't get it, I find myself bursting into tears over the most insignificant things--a random commercial, the end credit song of a movie, the news, a red light. I need my alone time to cry things out, so I can recoup and feel refreshed and strong enough to keep fighting through all the daily things that I think I can't fight against. So I'm here, now, alone with the dogs, without my ears in, and I feel calm. 

May is a hard month for me, but this one had added pressures. Having lost my job the end of April, that had me bummed, yet relieved at the same time. I wasn't bummed about not working there anymore, because let's face it, that place was a sinking ship and I was lucky to get a seat on the life boat. The panic was not having money coming in. May also signifies the anniversary of my beloved Mom's passing, and that marks the whole month with a black armband. Mother's Day is a day of mourning, since we actually lost her on Mother's Day 2011. Also, I lost my beloved Mother-in-Law in May as well. Two very strong, very compassionate, very family oriented women gone in the same month, different years. How do you just bounce back from that? You feel the dread creeping in when April showers are still giving birth to May flowers, and it sticks with you for 31 days, lingering slightly the first week of June until you finally start to come out of it. You have to. You gotta keep moving, if not for yourself, then for everyone who depends on you to be strong, smiling, giving, caring. You have to do it for them, even if you just feel like you're going through the motions. Eventually it sticks and you feel the sluggish motor turning over, the cogs and belts moving and pulling you through the days until you're running again, like a new motor built from reconditioned parts. Almost fresh, almost new. Almost.

May also signified the end of my beautiful daughter's three year journey through grad school. A celebration in the middle of black armband month. Swap that black for a rainbow for at least a day. Shake off the dark clouds and mourning for sunshine and cheers. I wanted to cry over everything, from the speakers I didn't even know, to the family who accepted their deceased child's diploma, to someone who was having trouble finding a seat. (That's the lack of alone time coming into play. I guess I could cry with people around, I am mostly human after all. But then you have concerned family asking what's wrong, then they want to hug you, and all of that caring makes you want to cry more, it becomes an endless cycle and you just don't want to go there. It's like being stupid enough to think you can watch the movie The Family Stone without bursting into sobs, especially now, especially in May, especially after what happened in May.) But I was proud to see my beautiful daughter get her MFA, after three years of hard work in Chicago. We had a nice visit with her there, and I decided I rather like Chicago. The walking, the trains, the taxi cabs, Uber, Montrose Beach, the people, the laid back hustle and bustle that is almost constant. I will ignore the two separate shootings that occurred in the very neighborhood we were in at the time; in fact, we saw the cops while we were walking back from getting ice cream. But I guess nowadays that can happen anywhere, at any time, for any reason. She's going to stay in Chicago for possibly a year, a choice I support because it's hard to go back home after being on your own for so long, and with no license or car the public transport is perfect for her. I look forward to visiting her again, perhaps during a different month next time. It was a nice distraction from all that was wrong in Georgia. I read, I walked, I became a Netflix binge-watcher. I got to see my girl...and yes, I missed the hell out of my dogs. 

Cut to June 1, my 30th wedding anniversary, when I had a working interview at an office. When you're not working, the days tend to bleed together and when I told them I could do a working interview from 8-1 on Monday I didn't even realize it was my anniversary. I was offered the job before 1 pm. I still left at 1 to celebrate with the man I married. This office should understand, because they are big on family. So June came, the black armband came off, and the sun shone. Yes, it's stressful starting at a new office. It's hard when you're a dental assistant, because every time you go to a new office, you have to adjust to not only new instruments and products, but new ways to do things and new philosophies as well. You have to really let go of "At my old office we..." and just know, Toto, we're not in Kansas anymore. Once you get past that, it's the same repetition, different office. And you can't beat three days a week--in a dental office that is fanfuckingtastic! Most are a minimum of four days, but some stretch to six days a week, and I'm even seeing quite a few going to 10-12 hr days. So three eight hour days a week, and the rest of the time is mine. Pinch me, I think I'm dreaming...

I am, however, not complete. I am not content. I am still restless, still feeling like I'm living someone else's life, like I'm not where I need to be. I'm not. This isn't where my life is supposed to be. I'm supposed to work with animals. Dogs, cats even, and I even dream of working on a farm sanctuary with goats, and cows and sheep and chickens and roosters and horses and any other animal that needs refuge. The world is an ugly place to animals, and I know I'm supposed to do my part to make it better for them. Confucius say "Choose a job you love and you will never have to work a day in your life." Well I WANT that! That is my destiny. Maybe I'll write about it, too, even better. But I want to be surrounded by the peace and love of animals. And I won't feel like I belong in this world until I am. Even now, as I sit here alone, I am surrounded by four dogs who love me and are happy to have me in their lives, as happy as I am to have them in mine. It's what I live for. Don't get me wrong--I love my husband and my sons and my daughter, and my dad and brothers and sister and everyone else I miss terribly in Ohio and Virginia. They are my world, my support, my pride and joy. But animals are my calling. And because they love me, my humans understand that and support it. 

Family is important to me as well. But some of my family members wear fur. And I'll never truly be alone.

 “You can only become truly accomplished at something you love. Don’t make money your goal. Instead pursue the things you love doing and then do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off of you.”

Maya Angelou

Friday, June 5, 2015

Just 4 Fun

Top 25 Most Played Song on my iPod (this will show my eclectic taste in music)

25. Hot Rod Lincoln--Commander Cody & His Lost Planet Airmen 49 plays

24. Fuck You--Cee Lo Green 49 plays

23. Bad Things--Jace Everett 50 plays (the best thing about True Blood was the                   music!)

22. Moondance--Van Morrison 52 plays (an all-time fave of mine)

21. Walk Away--Tom Waits 52 plays (I can really identify with this one, plus I love his          voice!)

20. Zoot Suit Riot--Cherry Poppin' Daddies 52 plays (this one makes me want to take           up swing dancing!)                        

19. Kryptonite--3 Doors Down 53 plays (love their music, lyrics, voice, very relatable)

18. Out of my Head--Fastball 53 plays

17. The Little Things--Danny Elfman 53 plays (Got this from the Wanted soundtrack)

16. Great Balls of Fire--Jerry Lee Lewis 54 plays (love me some oldies!)

15. Mother--Danzig 56 plays (didn't really listen to this in the 80's--of course when it        came out I had a toddler in the house. actually discovered it watching Matt play            Guitar Hero!)                                

14. I Don't Wanna Be--Gavin DeGraw 57 plays (the One Tree Hill theme song! One of           my workout go to songs!)

13. I Don't Wanna Know--Dr. John 57 plays (another True Blood favorite)

12. Surfin' USA--The Beach Boys 57 plays (another oldie, the epitome of past                     summers!)

11. Athena--The Who 59 plays (another all-time fave of mine, this is what it's like to           be in love)

(here we go now, entering the 10 ten most played songs on my iPod! are you excited yet???  I am, and I already know what they are!)

10. I Will Love Again--Lara Fabian 59 plays (just listen to her voice, catchy tune)

 9. I'm Ready (Live at Merlotte's)--CC Adcock and the Lafayette Marquis 59 plays (a            True Blood bonus track, really enjoy this one)

 8. Friend Like Me--Robin Williams 60 plays (Aladdin Soundtrack. Will always                      remember Robin Williams this way. Fun, full of life, leaving a legacy of laughter)                

 7. What I'm Lookin' For--Brendan Benson 63 plays (got this one from a commercial)     

6. Jump in Line--Harry Belafonte 66 plays (most people remember this from                     Beetlejuice.)

5. Big Bang Theory Theme--Barenaked Ladies 67 plays (love the show, love the song!)                                                                                         

4. Make Me Wanna Die--The Pretty Reckless 69 plays (Kick-Ass Soundtrack. Great             song!)

3. A Little Less Conversation (JXL Radio Edit Remix)--Elvis Presley 80 plays (Very first       concert I ever went to was Elvis! Had a huge crush on him, watched all his movies,        cried when he died. Another oldie!)

2. Everything Falls Apart--Dog's Eye View 82 plays (another all-time favorite, because       it's life. It falls apart, we put it back together and it falls apart again. Gives us               something to do)                       

And now, the moment no one has been waiting for! The most played song on my iPod is...

1. It's Not My Time--3 Doors Down 82 plays (More great lyrics, great song!!)

Not sure how they decide which 82 play song is first, but this is how it shows up on my iPod. If you've never listened to some of these, you should give them a try! Keep an open mind, you mind find a new song to sing in the shower. You can share what songs are #1 on your iPod or phone or whatever you use, if you want to. I'm always open to new music! Hope you enjoyed my list.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Why I Hate Surprises

Because I'm a control freak.  Because I hate being put on the spot.  Because it will take me a day to think of a good comeback.  Because sometimes the only thing you can do is curl up into the fetal position and wait for the surprise to disappear.  Because I hate change.  Because once it happens, it is over, and where do you go from there?

Now when people think of surprises, they think of good ones.  A diamond ring dangled on a proposal, a birthday party, an unexpected windfall, a vacation, a raise, a new car, a present of some kind.  All of these are good things, great things even, but still things I don't want to be surprised about.  On the rare occasion when someone has said to me "I've got a surprise for you", my stomach knotted and I prepared for the worst.  I have always hated surprises. 

To me, the only good surprise is being scared shitless.  Does that even count as a surprise?  I don't know but that adrenaline rush from someone jumping out at you in a haunted house is excellent!  That I can take.  There's nothing in this world that can match being scared to death. 

I don't know why I've always hated surprises.  I don't know if there was something that happened in my childhood that since has rested dormant in the repressed recesses of my mind, lying in wait for a good hypnosis to jerk it back to the forefront of my reality.  Maybe a creepy clown jumped out at one of the birthday parties I attended as an incredibly introverted child and scared the dread of surprises into me.  Or maybe someone said that to me with a very different idea of what constitutes a good surprise, and it left a sourness in my throat. Or still maybe it's because I hate being the center of attention, all eyes on me, because that's what a surprise does.  It marches you to the front of the classroom where those privy to the secret watch with baited breath for your reaction...which is what? Disbelief? Happiness? Disappointment? Feigned joy? Chants of "Speech, speech!" ring out for you to comment on this horrid encounter you've just been tossed into against your will. Well, I really can't recall, I just know I hate them.

I quite enjoy quiet surprises--when I found out the gender of my babies, either through birth or the doctor, waking up to three inches of snow and a quiet world, getting an email from someone I thought had forgotten about me and finding out they missed me, too. Are those surprises or unexpected events?  Are they one in the same? I may never know, but since I enjoy them by myself in peace and privacy, they are good.  

I will never be a fan of surprises.  They mostly fall short of what I really want, and I don't want to hurt anyone's feelings, or pretend that I love what I don't.  And what do I want?  For someone to understand this about me and accept it. That would be a good surprise. 

Dirty Paws

It is another cold, rainy day in Georgia. My backyard is pine straw and mud, which means when the dogs go out and actually venture off the deck, they usually are waiting by the door with muddy paws. That's 16 hairy feet I have to wipe before they can enter. They are usually fairly good about waiting their turn, they know the order, and although they hate when I do it they know it has to be done.  Because sometimes life is messy.  Sometimes its soggy.  Sometimes it's dirty paws.

With a puppy in the house (Crash, my grand-puppy, almost a year old but it will be hard to think of him as anything but a puppy no matter how big he gets) sometimes the order turns to chaos. Sometimes he refuses to leave the deck until he absolutely cannot hold his bladder or his bowels another second. Sometimes one of them poos on the deck itself.  We make our guesses but just like with kids no one's talking and everyone looks kind of guilty except Jack who just looks oblivious so you can either yell at all of them or none of them.  I choose the latter. Poo on the deck is the least of my worries.  Coming home to poo in the living room, and dining room, and hallway...well, that's another story to be dealt with on another day. Sometimes in his mad dash for his best bud Maggie (who sometimes doesn't go down but watches over the rest with a powerful stance, sniffing the air, sometimes pacing, ever-protective of her best bud Crash) Crash will fly right past the other dogs and me, leaving small muddy prints from the sliding door until landing in the recliner, his refuge when his Grandma starts yelling. There he sits with an innocent look on his little adorable black face, as if saying "It wasn't me. I was in the chair. See?" He hates when I yell, he hates to get in trouble, and fortunately for him he's so damned cute no one can stay mad at him for long.  Not even when he lunged at my face and hit my nose with his teeth, leaving a bruising mark and tenderness for a couple of weeks. He was playing of course, with his usual puppy exuberance, and I certainly can't fault him for that. But still, I'm left with his paw print trail, and if there's one thing I can tire of quickly it's cleaning up after dogs. I know, I know, I bring that on myself, but it doesn't mean I have to like it.

But that's what happens. Things get marked, they get dirty, dingy, fogged, and we have two choices--leave it and live in the muck and mire, or grab a rag, some cleaner, and get down there and wipe it up. Sometimes it takes quite a bit of muscle, scrub a dub dub, and sometimes it doesn't completely come out. I no longer remember the original shade of my carpet, but it never ceases to amaze me that almost every new house comes with light colored carpet. Really? That seems like a good idea NEVER. One answer would be imitation hardwood, but with that comes other issues, like furball tumbleweeds, toenail scratches, dogs slipping and sliding...well, it's always something. That's life, after all.  If it's not one thing it's another. If you've cleaned it up, chances are it's gonna get dirty again, and so begins still another repeatable cycle in your own little circle of life, and as much as I tire of cleaning paws I am thankful that I'm still able to do it. I can get down on the floor and get back up again, with relative ease and range of motion.  I can chase that puppy and get him chasing me.  I can still do what needs to be done to keep that cycle going, one of many in my circle of life. I'm grateful.  I'm 48 with all of my original equipment, and I can emphatically state beyond a shadow of a doubt that nothing else I've owned still works after 48 years. My Presto Air Popper came close, at 20+ marriage is going on 30, also quite the feat, but sadly no cigar. I would love to squeeze another 48 years out of my circle, but I plan to make the most out of whatever I have left. Life is for the living. Breath is for the breathing. Dirty paws and all.