Ants

.ants

Ants

Thousands of small, red ants swarmed over a dish turning the white into a vibrating mass of red. Some left the main huddle to seek out more crumbs on their own, while others marched in lines over a newspaper from last week, onto a clear plastic box of dehydrated greenbeans, and around the edge of the table following an invisible path.

I was unsure where to put my paperwork with the table so very occupied. I considered smashing my binder down onto the table crushing the adventurous crew that dared to split from the main gang on the bowl and sweeping the bodies onto the dirty carpet. I could transport the bowl and its many passengers to the sink and rinse the entire thing with scalding hot water.

In a few strategic moves I could exterminate the entire colony.

Nah, I shook my head. Live and let live, I decided, especially when in a client’s home. I left my blood lust in the car with the windows cracked just a bit so it could properly breathe.

A woman sat across from me, watching me through sightless eyes with amusement.

The ants were no bother to her.

I completed the paperwork on my lap and did not mention her visitors.

There was no need.

“A pity beyond all telling is hid at the heart of love.” W.B. Yeats

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Hirsute Roommates

mad cat

Most days I work from home.

Sure, I miss going to the office to see other people and a different set of walls that those of my home. However, I don’t miss getting up early, scraping ice from my car every morning, fighting traffic, or micromanagement. I get up a little later, power up my computer and am suddenly “at work”. I take breaks for laundry or to grab a coffee with a friend and leave as needed for meetings and home visits with clients.

It’s a mostly perfect arrangement, aside from three problems, the roommates.

They never leave. This is naturally very exhausting so they spend most of their time sleeping. When they are awake, they are fully energized for at least a half an hour of chaos and disruption. Even worse, they use discretion in choosing their times of mayhem, which is generally limited to when I’m on the phone with my supervisor, a client in crisis, or a conference call.

Just yesterday, I was on the phone with someone who was about to lose her home. She was crying and explaining how it all happened when the gang came barreling down the hallway. The two sisters were chasing Big White like cheetahs racing across the savanna after a doomed antelope. Big White ran for her life and leapt onto the table for my protection.

In her big clumsy hurry, she knocked my coffee mug over. The cheetah sisters followed Big White’s trajectory onto the table and over it after her as she continued to flee, now drenched in coffee. I muted the call and fortunately, the woman had a quite a story to share and was none the wiser. It was about this time that the sisters overtook Big White and a terrific fight ensued.

They were all put into the backroom from which they promptly escaped by the collective power of meowing and pounding on the door. Once they broke free, silence returned. I breathed a sigh of relief wrongly thinking I could return to work for a few hours until they were recharged again.

A few peaceful minutes passed before they had regrouped and returned with a new mission to obtain food.

First, they jumped on my keyboard to make sure I was paying attention. Then, they started to meow together like they had practiced this performance and Big White was the maestro. Lastly, the littlest one hopped onto a potted houseplant (not toxic to cats) and started to bite off the leaves and looked at me, as though to say, “We will find our own food if you don’t feed us immediately.”

What did I do?

I caved, of course.

I can’t refuse those little hairy roommates anything.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hirsutism

On Love

Dear Readers,

Today I have a gift for you from one of my clients. 

It’s not much, just a little piece of relationship advice.

 

When you start sticking and stabbing your partner

and you know the day is coming

when you’re going to cut him too deep and he won’t stop bleeding

then it’s time to go.

 

She was married for 54 good years.

The secret?

They lived in different states.

 

Her separated husband told her one day that he had a dream.

The Lord came to him and said, “Hang on, Georgie, she’s gonna come back to you.”

She laughed and said, “That’s funny, ‘cuz I’ve been praying to the same Lord to never see you again.”

 

He passed away a few years ago on July 15. Lord rest his soul. 

 

As I opened the door to leave, a tiny cross-eyed man arrived at the door.  He peeked over my shoulder from the doorway.  The woman spotted him and yelled out, “Oooh-wee, you ain’t brought nothing for me to eat, but get in here anyways.” 

He shuffled in past me and jumped into her outstretched arms. 

I left with the woman’s sage advice and knowing that In the end, love prevails or something close enough to it. 

Love is…

Sharing a set of hearing aids between an old couple who can’t hear anyways

A nearly blind wife making her own extra absorbent pads for her incontinent husband

Buying an extra quart of ice cream so a demented wife who refuses to wear her dentures has something soft enough to eat that she likes

Being a demented wife who refuses to wear dentures but shares her ice cream with the husband who just bought it for her

Understanding when your kids steal your narcotics because they have pain, too

Not always filing a police report

Keeping a terrible cat that smells, vomits hairballs and your husband hates

Watching out the window for your social worker to make sure they make it to their car

Spending hours on a dinner that is eaten in a few minutes

Letting your wife blog away the evening hours without too much of a complaint

Love is confusing, between people and things

Thoughts and actions

And sometimes, just sometimes

It’s the only thing that makes any sense

Love in the time of Layoffs: Chaos

Image

For people living on love in an economy in which love hasn’t been paying well, prospects are not promising in a time of layoffs.  Today was the fateful day when my darling man found out that he was to keep his job, while 800 others lost theirs.

On learning the news, we were somber and grateful, sad for the others and happy for ourselves, all at the same time.  Swirling around our heads and hearts, these emotions mixed and melded into a sense of guilt that weighed heavier on my man’s shoulders because he was the survivor.  I was just there to greet him in the life boat and pull him away from the wreckage, but he was the one to helplessly watch his friends and co-workers be left behind in the choppy seas of unemployment.  However, it is because he is a survivor that we will be able to pay our rent, keep the lights on in our small apartment, and put food in our pesky little cat’s dish.

We aren’t the only ones trapped by this sense of guilt and helplessness at the chaos surrounding us.  Five minutes of watching, reading or listening to the news tells me this truth and more.  It tells me that we are just a microcosm of the society in which we live, a mere reflection of our humanity and current civilization.

The walls are crumbling down around us on many levels with the government on a shut-down since the folks in D.C. can’t get along, killer bees wreaking havoc on the countryside, diseases like measles and rubella breaking out when vaccines are available, and the cruel attempt to provide affordable healthcare to people who need it but are fighting it tooth and nail (in my neck of the woods, anyways).

We have entered a time of chaos.

So what can get us through and give order to our lives?  For me, it starts with embracing simplicity, mindfulness, appreciating the little things, and wine.  Of course, wine.  It helps with living on love and maintaining hopes for the future.

What is going to get you through the jumble or disorderly mass that we call life?

Here are some articles on coping.

http://www.skillsyouneed.com/ps/stress-tips.html

http://www.cdc.gov/features/handlingstress/

photo: The Lorenz Attractor, found on http://plato.stanford.edu/archives/fall2009/entries/chaos/

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