Coming clean

There’s been a shift in the weather, and it’s a full moon, and last week the plumber came to fix the sink. Literally. He fixed the sink. And a few other things.

It all started with the plumber and the need to clear out under the sink.

I started to throw things away.

God, it felt good.

Crap that’s been taking up visual space and a little spot in my brain for years is in the trash and out of my life.

Okay, so if you look around my house you won’t see much of a change. Under the sink was only one source of crap and visual clutter. Much of the rest of it is either out in the open, or all over the friggin’ basement.

There is more visible, usable counter space on one side. But in the moment that I got one counter cleared off, a new toaster arrived which is taking up even more space on the other counter, along with the old toaster. I’ve got t0 keep the old toaster for now because when the new toaster heats up it emits toxic fumes.

I’m not cooking toast in toxic fumes.

So until we can get the heat to burn off whatever toxicity came with the new toaster, there will be two toasters. It may take awhile.

Toasters aside, what’s been happening since last Thursday is something I’d normally classify as Fall cleaning. But it’s not. I generally feel the need to do some seasonal cleaning, but the follow-through is usually lacking. This is something else. Cleaning out under the sink was the catalyst to looking at all of the crap in a new light.

Basically I look at stuff and think “Trash, recycle or donate?”

Yeah.

If there was a dumpster in my yard right now, I’d be filling that sucker up.

It’s not just the purging though. There is cleaning and organizing going on too. It’s probably a really good thing that the nearest Container Store is a couple of hours away.

There’d been a print sitting on the kitchen table for a couple of weeks. Pretty much everything that comes through this house spends a little time on the kitchen table. I’d gotten a frame for the print. Good. The frame was keeping the print clean, especially since it was on the kitchen table. I had a place to hang it, but hanging it required moving furniture and my ironing board and all of my sewing stuff.

Yes, the kitchen is also my sewing room.

Moving the furniture, which never gets moved, meant an opportunity to clean behind it.   It was, ahem, long overdue for some attention with the vacuum and a duster and a little elbow grease.

Generally, I don’t have greasy elbows. Just in case you were wondering.

In the end, a five minute picture hanging job took about an hour. But it looks nice and fresh over in that corner which is, once again, inaccessible due to all my sewing stuff being back in place. I even ironed the tablecloth.

I don’t know if you appreciate the gravity of me ironing anything.

I’m hoping I can maintain this momentum. It’s really gratifying to see small, positive changes.

And the basement awaits.

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Reset

When a new school year starts, I often see it as a new beginning for me as well as all of those people heading back into the classroom. This year is no exception.

Six months ago, during the last school year, my mom offered to buy, as a birthday present to me, a three month membership to her gym which has a nautilus circuit and a handful of cardio machines.

Her gym, I should point out, is at the local senior center. I am eligible to use the senior center facilities since their definition of “senior” is 50 or older. My definition of “senior” is whatever age you have to be to get a discount at Denny’s. And I’m not there yet.

But I thought, what the hell? It’s close, it’s cheap, and I won’t have to listen to deafening music that I can’t stand. And when I’m done I can browse the thrift shop.

The senior center thrift shop is a really good place to browse.

Who knew that the competition among old folks would be as fierce as it is?

I’m getting ahead of myself. Back in March, my birthday month, I said “okay, that sounds good,” meaning the membership. But I had to put it off because there was the surgery thing, and I didn’t want to lose a third of my membership time because I was recouperating. And then there was summer vacation and I didn’t want to lose weeks and months of the membership because I was away or off with the Boy. So I decided that when he went back to school, I would sign up.

But first I needed my doc to sign off on my new exercise regimen. After all, I’m a senior now.

Motherfuckers.

He was more than happy to sign off, didn’t know the senior center accepted non-seniors (me), and suggested that I would feel like an olympian compared to the 80-somethings I’d be sharing the circuit with.

He was a little right about that. I don’t yet need a walker to balance on one foot. But I might need a cane to beat some of them back when they start cutting in to my circuit.

I started last week, met with the trainer a few times, and have worked out on my own. Meanwhile I’m still walking in the mornings.

I had a little soreness, but that’s not the worst of it. I am fucking exhausted by 7:45pm. Sure, I’m up at 5:30 a.m., and I have a lot of energy for the first part of the day. Until around 3:00 p.m. when I need a nap in the worst way. It’s also about the time the Boy gets home from school, so the idea of a nap is a joke. Then, by the time dinner’s cooked, eaten, and cleaned up, I’m done. Totally, utterly, and completely done.

I don’t even want dessert.

Something is seriously not right. Me? Not wanting dessert?

Is Hell freezing over? Are pigs flying?

But maybe this time I’ll make enough progress to fit back into my old clothes. Because as I get fit and strong, I’ll also loose weight.

Right?

Right?

Please, tell I’m right.

Unless I’m sleeping. If I’m sleeping, just leave me alone.

Thanks.

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A Labor Day that would not be made into a play by William Inge

For one thing, we didn’t have a picnic.

Come to think of it, we did have a picnic. It just wasn’t much of a picnic. We went to the beach and got foot long hot dogs for $1.50 and fries for $1.00 (what year is it?), except for the Boy who got a cheeseburger he didn’t really eat. All of us were sitting there, having wolfed down our dogs, waiting for the Boy to finish his burger and fries so we could get our stuff and go sit on the beach; the two other teenaged boys eyeballing his food like the hungry seagulls flying around.

Mine! Mine! Mine!

You going to eat that?

Finally, he declared himself full, and there was a free-for-all; his remaining food disappeared before he could say “Mine.”

That was the picnic. No spinsters. No gossip. No scandal.

And school started last Thursday.

First day of school. He can barely contain his excitement.

First day of school. He can barely contain his excitement.

The rest of the afternoon was spent trying to get sand out of places it wasn’t invited.

And eating ice cream.

Not much conflict there. Except that, since it’s the last official day of the season, some of the ice cream choices were sold out.

Boys and rocks

Boys and rocks

We had a nice day. It seemed like a Sunday, instead of the last hurrah of summer vacation. Which it wasn’t. The last hurrah of summer vacation was last week, because, y’know, it was very important to the district that school start two days before Labor Day, so way to rain on our last hurrahs, school district.

Don’t worry, I’m not going there. I’m worn out with that argument.

What is it with boys and rocks?

What is it with boys and rocks?

Emma and I had a lovely day chatting at the beach and spending some time with our boys. Even though, technically, our boys didn’t really spend any time with us. At all.

Teenagers.

Hurrah.

Happy Labor Day.

Posted in Boring Family Stuff, My Search For Intelligent Life, Useless Trivia and Other Crap | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

The confusing world of Minecraft and cake

I don’t get it. In Minecraft, with milk and sugar, you can make cake but not ice cream. Cake without ice cream is just cake. Who wants that?

Not me. NosirreeBob.

I’m just clarifying here. I know there are people out there who actually like cake. I did recently have a piece of cake that was soaked in rum. That was a really good piece of cake. It was even good without ice cream. But in general, in my world of dessert, cake is a waste of dessert calories.

I have Minecraft on the brain because the Boy and his friend, the mighty Robert, are in the other room playing a two player version. In it, they find ways to blow up each other’s buildings or ships or something. Explosives increase the fun quotient. Minecraft has a weird, spooky, Halloweenie soundtrack. It makes me thinks of Plants vs. Zombies. It’s good though. I can always tell when the Boy is playing. And it’s not offensive. It’s almost new-agey – like someone should be giving me a massage while he plays the game.

I could use a massage.

And some rum-soaked cake.

The items they collect in Minecraft make things that don’t make sense. But my favorite things are the Glittering Squids of Durpey. I don’t know what they do. I do know that I have the name wrong.  My ignorance of Minecraft puts me firmly in the “Moooooooommmmm” category (think of Cartman whining “Mooommm”). That’s okay. I’m starting to accept that I’m no longer in my 20’s. I’m firmly in my 30’s now – about 33. (I changed it from 34. I just didn’t feel comfortable with 34.) I don’t have to be current when it comes to video games.

As long as there’s dessert.

And rum.

Posted in Aging Disgracefully, Parenting-the final frontier, Useless Trivia and Other Crap | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Loss: personal and public

Yeah, I’m going there.

On Monday morning my uncle died. On Sunday much of the family gathered to visit with him. I was unaware of the turn for the worse he’d taken, and no one thought to call me until later that evening. When I arrived in his room on the hospice floor of the hospital on Monday I was about 45 minutes too late. He was gone.

My cousin had been there with him at the last, and for that I’m grateful and happy for both of them.

There was nothing preventing me from being there Sunday, had I known. On Monday I could have gotten there earlier, but his condition had been downplayed and I went about my morning chores. If I’m being honest, I don’t know if I would have gone earlier in spite of the chores. But the fact remains, I wasn’t there.

Monday was a tough day.

Monday evening, when I finally got home and logged in to Facebook, I read about Robin Williams.

My uncle touched my life in ways known only to me. He was a singular person, a man of few words. He was always there for us though, in spite of the lack of conversation. And we didn’t always see it, but he had a wicked sense of humor. In that dry, understated way of his. There are a lot of cousins because he was one of six siblings who survived to adulthood. He was different with all of us, primarily due to the 15 year spread in our ages as well as proximity and ability to get together when we were younger.

Robin Williams touched lives as well. The world mourns him because his influence went beyond family. Like many people I have a Robin Williams story. Unlike most people, I have a lot of “Unc” stories.

Two deaths in one day took the wind out of my sails. Then, Tuesday night, I heard about Lauren Bacall. I have a Lauren Bacall story too. My celebrity stories aren’t really that interesting, so I’m not going into detail here. The point is, I’m sure there are many people out there with celebrity stories. It comes with the territory. It’s the personal family stories which we share with our small circle that really matter.

Suffice to say, three deaths in two days is enough for now. Even though I didn’t know two of those people personally, I can’t help but take it personally.

For now, I am channeling some of that energy. I’m collecting and printing and mounting photos of Unc for his memorial service on Friday. It’s fun to look at all of the pictures, see his wry smile when he did deign to smile for the camera. It’s satisfying to put my creative energy into something everyone can enjoy. It’s a small thing but it’s helping me feel less left out.

Here’s my take-away from all of this:
Don’t let laundry get in the way of what matters.
Don’t take my mother’s word that someone is just “not great” – get a second opinion.
Celebrate the people in your life who matter to you.
What you might consider a very small gesture can be a big deal to another person.
Don’t wait for a significant event to keep in touch with people.
Be thankful that you can grieve in relative anonymity, unlike the families of celebrities.

I’m sure I could come up with more, but you get my drift.

So get off the damn computer and call someone or send them a postcard.

That’s it.

Rest in peace.

Unc in sweatshirt w coffee

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