Monday, April 13, 2015

    I can't believe Easter has come and gone.  Pretty soon I'll have a summer on my hands.  Normal humans would think this is a good thing.  It is in some respects.  Sleeping in is always a plus.  Our beach vacation is a huge plus.  I managed to get a summer camp lined up for our six year old.  I can hope to God it works out.  My problem will be what to do if it doesn't.  I think a concrete plan B would help.
   I'm adjusting to this whole new having to keep on top of things world our daughter has dragged us into.  It appears I no longer have the luxury of being a "pantser".  Things book up.  In a sense it's good to know I'm not alone in trying to keep a kid occupied during the summer.
   Now that there's actually a discernable season, Spring also means yard work.  It's especially true for us as we contemplate moving.  I had recently taken my mother on a long drive to Pennsylvania.  We got home around 3pm and my mom looks around our yard and pronounced it a nightmare. "You really need to clean up all this dead stuff!"
   While I agreed with her initial observation, it was the timing that threw me.  Immediately, she had us ripping out weeds, raking leaves and pruning annual flowers.  Thankfully, my spouse was right in there pitching along with our daughter.  She got bored quickly and mercifully, hurricane mom-mom ran out of steam. The problem was we were knee deep in a project we just couldn't stop in the middle. Eight trash bags of leaves and a couple of trash cans later we came in the house and collapsed.  Did I mention we were a tad behind in our outside maintenance?  (Let me emphasize "were".)
   We were lucky in that we had the weekend to recover.  In the end I admit I'm grateful we got it done.  The problem was the day was raw and cold and the entire episode was the last thing I was in the mood for.  My mom reminded me of something. I told her that our girl complained a lot about mommy 'making her do her homework and other things she hates'.  I was actually able to explain to our six year old that 'Mommies make you do things you don't want to and guess what?  They never stop!'  

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

For your consideration, a dated essay that's still true dammit.

    And they all lived happily ever after….a work in progress.  Who are all these happy bastards and how do I join that club?  Is it because I frequently find myself sucked into my own personal vortex that I can’t see clearly?  Maybe it’s because I’m too busy looking upward wondering what hit me that it’s so hard for me to learn whatever it is life is trying to teach me.
    Recently, I’ve been having a hard time understanding and acting on these lessons.  I think it’s because I haven’t been able to get past the initial hurts to see them clearly.  Over the last five years I lost three people very close to me.  The first, my Dad, was not surprising as he’d been sick.  It didn’t hurt any less knowing that it was coming but at least I had the chance to say everything I needed to before he was gone.  
   I guess it was the next two that I have the most trouble with.  The first issue I have is with God or the higher powers that be.  It’s because they were sudden and, in my opinion, undeserved.  Al was my former fiancĂ© and while he wasn’t the right spouse for me, he was still a good person.  The last time we spoke he was just getting his life together.  All the issues that had plagued our relationship were finally becoming clear to him.  I even told him that it was good that he was figuring these things out now while he was still young enough to make the changes he wanted.  He was worried he was too old.  We had no idea he was right.  Three days after we spoke, he was gone.  
   Are we fated to live only a certain amount of time?  Why take away a person’s chance for a fresh start just when he was finally ready?  In Al’s case it was a freak accident while cleaning his truck.  My regrets are small potatoes compared to how unfairly his life was cut short.  I was sorry I hadn’t kept in touch with Al more closely over the years.  
   The last loss was probably the hardest and most shocking.  It was the hardest for me because I had so many regrets and missed opportunities.  Connie’s loss ripped a hole in our family.  I lost my sister, her son lost his mom, and my mother lost a daughter.  It doesn’t get much more shocking than a brain aneurism late at night. At six weeks old, Claire didn’t understand her Aunt’s funeral. 
   In the following two years, the only time I’ve seen my mother happy like she used to be was when she spent time with my daughter.  Why do I never hear about these kinds of things happening to bad people?  I remember a friend once remarked ‘What makes you think God wants the bad people any more than you do?’ 
   There are plenty of things I’m still struggling to understand.  The basic things I get.  Appreciate the time you have since you can never tell how much you’ll have.  Cherish your family and loved ones since they are only on loan from God.  Do what you love, life is short.  
   So why do I find myself stuck in my own personal vortex instead of acting on the lessons that hurt so much to acquire?  Wasn’t this sinking in?  Was it complacency and fear of the unknown?  I’m sure that’s some of it.  My vortex is a comfortable place, after all.  Breaking out of this pattern I’ve established takes more than courage, it needs justification, too.  If I’m not earning money, cleaning something, or spending time with Claire, I’m goofing off, right?  Focus on writing for the joy of it and the rest will take care of itself.  Have faith.
   Treating the pursuit of my dream as important as a job – what a fairy tale!


more drama

  I am writing a post to all the mommies of school age children to see if I can get some help.  My first grader, who is, by all accounts intelligent, has the focus of an overcaffeinated squirrel.  I am wondering what tricks if any I can use to get her to kill off her homework instead of dragging out the agony like painful peanut butter.  My grown up brain can't understand why she hasn't figured out the advantage to getting it over with.  I refuse to turn on the TV or let her have her ipad until it's done, you would think that would be some shred of an incentive.  I'm open to suggestions on this.  The funny part is first graders don't get much homework.  Meryl Streep also hasn't figured out that it only gets worse from here. I would have said that it's cabin fever by this point of the year but we've been going through this since September.   A therapist has pointed out that maybe she needs exercise right after school to blow off some energy in the hopes she'll be able to settle down.  I wouldn't have thought of this because she's thin.  I am planning to try it though in the hopes I'll save money on alcohol (not for her).  I hope your spring is going well.