Lunchtime Madness

  
It’s 12:30pm. Lunchtime. My brother is camping out on the couch watching football highlights. It appears he has just consumed an entire bag of fancy nuts.

“What? It’s my lunch,” he explains and crumples the plastic bag in his hand.

He leans back and closes his eyes, “I’m on break now.”

It seems that he will be on break for the rest of the day.

As for me, it’s a peanut butter and honey sandwich kind of day, a variation from the normal PB and J. Maybe I will add in a apple and a cookie for good measure.

12:30 means the oldies are sipping their soup, taking their afternoon pills, and preparing for a nap. They might answer the phone but they won’t be happy at the interruption in their schedule.

It means the rest of the world is taking a break to woof down whatever they packed or grabbed from a nearby restaurant, catch up on banking or read a few pages from a book, walk around the block, and get back to work, that is what 12:30pm means.

A computer screen with names and numbers, diagnoses and concerns stares at me while a phone buzzes on the desk. There are notes scattered about, a coffee cup with old tea, and a stack of books. This is life now as a working adult.

I remember waiting for lunch in grade school. My stomach rumbling and gurgling as I stood in line. The lunch ladies really cooked then, patties and veggies, brownies and rolls.

There were so many options. White or chocolate milk. One slice of pizza or two.

The future was wide open then and it still is, sort of.

The chances of becoming a professional athlete or brain surgeon have narrowed at this point, but I can still have a different sandwich for lunch everyday if I want.

How is that for keeping the spice of life?

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peanut_butter_and_jelly_sandwich 

  

letting go

Does throwing out the empty boxes my husband stores with the intention of using someday make me a bad wife? Or donating his old t shirts, video games and unmatched socks? In my mind, it’s being tidy. At least, that is what I tell myself as I flip open the lid to the trash can.

Hoarding should come naturally to me. After all, I come from a long line of stackers, packers, fill the closet/cabinet/garage and shut the door tight. Plus, I think I was a squirrel or a mouse in a past life.

However, now I am the courageous defier of clutter, sworn to fight hoarding or die trying.

Woe to the fool who dares to meddle with the order of disorder.

Of course, Messy Boy thought it fitting to bring up my solemn vow when sorting through the contents of the closet. I held a black purse in my hand and a fanny pack in the other. Coats were strewn across the back of the couch. The cats were sneaking into position on the coats, targeting the black, wool one on which to shed their fur.

“It’s still a good purse,” I fretted.

He raised an eyebrow, with a questioning look that said, Really?

What if I need a mid-sized black purse? What if I lose my normal purse and need a backup right away? What if I go another year without using it?

I don’t want to end up in a house with stacks of boxes leaning against the walls, shelves of tiny teacups and a horde of porcelain cat statues, but I also don’t want to be a minimalist. By that, I mean I want to keep my husband and just a few cat statues.

So I am working on controlling my impulse to pitch what looks useless or dust covered especially if its not mine. Instead, I slowly move those of-concern things towards the door, little by little. Sometimes, they move into the trunk of my car for another chance to be noticed and rescued.

Then I think about how Messy Boy would miss his old baseball helmet or the extra cutting board, and how much he loves his old sweater. Maybe I could use that black purse?

And the junk/treasure moves back inside, and I realize that you can’t always fight what’s in your nature.

Wasting Time 


Listening to a training on a new computer system that breaks people down into statistical data

Reading an email asking for stories proving otherwise to make the company a tastier treat for a bigger, hungrier fish

Considering what to do with my life in a world driven by motivations that aren’t mine

Wondering how to get a job feeding orphan sloths in Costa Rica?

Sloth Fact Sheet:

http://www.worldanimalfoundation.net/f/sloth.pdf

Professional Avoider 

The phone lights up and vibrates next to you, taking on a life of its own. You knew it would at some point today, but didn’t expect it this soon. Or maybe it wasn’t soon enough. You wonder about the delay. Really, what took so long?

You have to face the music, or do you?

Don’t be a chicken-shit, you try to bully yourself into answering.

As much as you want to do the right thing, accept responsibility and talk things out mature adult style, you can’t bring yourself to hit the “accept” button. It’s not even a button, it’s just a glowing green circle on a screen.

Swallow hard and take a deep breath. The crisis dies with the unanswered call.

Now, you have time to form a game plan, a better game plan than you came up with thus far. However,you must admit, the whole don’t-give-any-answer-and-avoid-all-potential-conflict strategy worked perfectly at securing another few consequence free hours.

Another buzz disturbs your relieved thoughts.

You have a voicemail.

Nausea overwhelms your senses and you consider the possibility that you aren’t really a people person, after all.

Souvineer Shopping

image

FYI: Sweet, delicious and delicate cookies, called macaroons, do not travel in a suitcase on an airplane very well.

I suspected that one or two might be cracked or bruised from their hour and forty minute flight, but felt hopeful that a few would come through unscathed. I am working on maintaining a glass is half-full mindset.

However, as I watched the neon-yellow vested workers move the bags and suitcases from the luggage cart, I knew with absolute certainty the cookies would be more than merely bruised.

The madmen threw the baggage with all of their might onto the conveyor belt. I saw them heave each piece into the air and cringed at the thud of the forceful impact as the bags hit. Bottles of lotion exploded and hair spray detonated, and toothpaste oozed out, punctured by an errant nail file; I imagined the chaos with my X-ray vision. Woe to the fool who packed a precious framed photo wrapped in a sweater or brought along a favorite cologne, the glass would surely shatter into a million pieces and a wonderful fragrance would seep from an otherwise odorless bag.

My husband sat next to me in disbelief at the abuse of the luggage. Bag after bag endured the same treatment. We watched wordlessly until a green bag, similar to my own, passed through the hands of the men.

“Bye-bye macaroons,” my stoic partner commented sadly.

Unpacking later that day held no surprises, the contents of our suitcases were both well shaken and stirred. I rummaged through the clothes and pushed a pair of shoes to the side to extract a crumpled bag. Inside of the bag were two crushed, plastic boxes holding the hopelessly crumbled and unrecognizable remains of the macaroons.

Macaroons seemed like the most obvious souvenirs to bring back from our nation’s capital, at the time.

Now, I’m wondering, with only crumbs to show for our travels, if we should have gone with the matching t-shirts of the upcoming Papal visit?  Once again, hindsight is 20/20.

Heaven is an Apple Orchard

Heaven is an apple orchard in September on a cloudless day.

It is a moveable place of wonder kept safe by the confines of my memory.

With each fresh crunch of an apple, I return.

  

Mullygrubs 

  
Rainy days are the worst, unless you have the freedom to curl up with a good book and wait for the world to dry out.

As for me, I am at home allegedly working. My work phone rings and I watch it buzz and vibrate like a trapped cicada. It is my prisoner and I don’t choose to be a kind guard today.

Dripping, grey skies bring out the bad employee in me. It brings out the whining, resistant to change, let’s-push-everything-out-until-Monday, really bad employee. Normally, I am at least half way compliant, sort of positive, and willing to tolerate company shenanigans. 

Another call comes in, this time from the couch as I sit in this impossibly hard-backed chair.

“Come, have a lay down. Your book is welcome, too.”

I try to find another reason to resist.

I am almost done with Steinbeck’s Travels with Charley. A day like this would be perfect to find out what happens in Texas, his last stop. It is likely more of nothing, just another case of the mullygrubs. Still, I need to know.

Plus, my priorities are set around escaping reality, especially when Monday through Friday, so this would play right into my main objective.

Before committing to anything, I ask, “What about the cats?”

“Don’t be silly. They’re already here, waiting for you.”

As if on cue, the little one looks over the arm of the couch and gives me a sleepy mew. I see she has been warming up my favorite spot. The other two are curled up, deep in their normal 20 daily hours of beauty sleep.

My will power is weakening and I am walking towards the big, tan beast that beckons from the next room.

Just a quick nap, I bargain with myself and promise to work twice as hard in twenty minutes. Closing my eyes, I briefly consider that rainy days might not be the worst, after all.

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=mullygrub

6 Tips on Preparing for a Job Interview 

On preparing for a job interview
1. Don’t go out drinking the night before with your old college roommates. Celebration shots should come after a job offer, not before the interview.

2. Do remember what you wrote in the cover letter about all of the “relevant” experience you bring to the position.

3. Eat breakfast – passing out in front of your future boss and co-workers will definitely leave an impression, but not the best one to start building your street cred’.

4. Lint roll the cat hair off your best (only) suit. Hiss and show your teeth at the cats if they try to approach to re-apply. Don’t trust the purring, they don’t have your best intentions at heart.

5. Leave early- the world will conspire to make you late.

6. Take a deep breath and relax, you were made for this.

  

Deja vu sewer days


I am in a reflective mood, thoughtful and quiet, possibly poisoned by the noxious sewer gases creeping up through the wooden floor boards. Yes, the sewer lines are clogged from tree roots, the head of my niece’s Pretty Pony, and whatever else fell into the “terlet” over the past year.
Black sludge oozes from the relief pipe in the front yard, and pools around the laundry room drain. This situation is not going to fix itself and there is no more time left to wait it out. The smell of rotting debris and human waste hastens us towards action or insanity.

Dark, wet crumbs from the litter box are now mixed in the laundry room mess. It appears that the cats, unable to restrain themselves from the lure of the unknown, ran through the growing sludge pool. Something about the way it felt then triggered them to streak and spin through the rest of the house like berserkers.

These are the days that pets and home ownership are more of a delight than usual.

For once, we know what to do after catching the cats and cleaning off their dirty feet.

“Call the guy,” I say.

“What guy?” my husband asks, not quite on the same page yet.

“The guy. You know the one who came out last year.”

“Oh him, already called him. He’ll be here before lunch.

You see, one year ago, the same thing happened after less than a month of living in this house. I remember the day clearly because it contained a series of unfortunate events, beginning with the pilot light to the water heater whiffing out. We tried everything to restart it without success. On the positive side, we also didn’t manage to blow ourselves or house up. So we begrudgingly agreed to race through ice-cold showers before calling for help, which is when the tub started to fill with dark water. The shower plan was immediately cancelled.

Then we noticed the water in the toilet rising higher and higher. If this wasn’t the effects of global warming, then it was surely the end of the world. We looked outside, certain that this was the apocalypse. Perhaps the rapture was about to take place?

Instead of the good souls being taken up into the skies, black sludge spewed forth from a white pipe in the front yard, just like today.  I flashed back with a shudder, it was all so familiar.  Still not the end of days…

We survived a year ago just like we will today, only this time we know who to call for help.

May this house stand until an ant drinks the ocean and a tortoise circles the world.

Jonathan Carroll

Float On


This post is about a very expensive bath.

It happened at a float spa. Although, I suspect that a very similar experience could have been had at home with low lighting, a big, bath tub and a generous handful of Epsom salt. I was lured in with promises of relaxation and untold health benefits. All I needed to do was soak in salt saturated water, Dead Sea style, without the sea part, for 90 minutes.

Did I mention it was in a pod that was meant to be completely dark and silent? Sensory deprivation was part of the salt-water-soak to cure what ails a person that added the potential for psychedelic visions and enhanced creative abilities. So maybe, it couldn’t have happened at home.

How’s that for a selling point?

The salt soak was the newest in a long line of health and beauty fixes with which I have experimented, ranging from algae for breakfast to healing stones strategically placed under my pillow at night. If someone tried to sell me snake oil, I would stop them and say, “What, just one bottle? I need the entire case.”

With each approach, I hope to find a type of magic, a way to reverse the aging process or to replace good old fashioned diet and exercise. Could floating in several hundred pounds of salt and water for 90 minutes be just what Dr. Merlin ordered?

I had to find out.

I booked two floats, one for me and one for my mom (who has dabbled in even more quackery than me). When my brother and I were kids, she sat us down at the kitchen table each morning and dosed us with charcoal, strange pills, and foul smelling liquid vitamins, as she used a whirring machine that guaranteed youthful, hairless skin for just six payments of $19.99.

I was in good company. We are a pair of believers and adventurers, willing to take a risk for what could be the next big thing as long as it comes neatly packaged, more or less.

There were three rooms each with its own shower and glowing pod. We entered our neighboring rooms with a parting wave and prepared to have a real experience.

Sliding into the lukewarm water, I closed the overhead hatch, like the last member into a submarine with one last wistful look behind me. Settling in, I bobbed up and down on the water, surprised at my own buoyancy.  I tried to relax in spite of being naked in a glowing pod full of room temperature water but just couldn’t bring myself to turn out the lights.

So much for sensory deprivation.  Maybe I should have asked for a partial refund?

Afterwards, I admitted sheepishly that it was too creepy to float in total darkness, to which my mother said with her usual lack of a filter, “You are such a wimp.”

If I were to further analyze the situation, I’m sure this could be key in understanding my unresolved childhood issues stemming from the same mother who happened to be floating next door as free as a bird.

Really, who has time for rehashing the past?

The first thing she asked when we rejoined in the lobby was, “What spirit animal led you? I actually became a starfish.”

Still lethargic and covered in salt, I was speechless. Nothing was how I expected it to be after 90 minutes away from the world.  I’m not sure where I was during that time, but it was nice.  I came back too relaxed to have a conversation.

I should have guessed that she would have an out of body experience (OBE) as a spiny, multiple armed, opportunistic sea creature. While she was spinning and stretching her extra arms to embrace sea life, I refused to admit that I too had an experience as a sea snake, gliding from one end of the pod to the other.

She didn’t need to know. Sometimes, OBE’s are not meant to be shared. Of course, the same could be said for bathwater, but that didn’t stop me from stepping into the pod of recycled water or writing this post.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Out-of-body_experience

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