When irony occurs, It’s both amazing and amusing. I’ve received several benefits and insights from that missed haircut last week. Go figure. Mistakes have a way of providing those things.
First, Kris, the stylist, was gracious about my no-show. How does he do it? I’m not sure if I could be as forgiving. This a good lesson. Second, someone’s cancellation provided an opening for me and while there, I found my black scarf I’d left last time. Third, my no-show last week inspired me to adopt an appointment keeping system.
PROCLAMATION: It is hereby noted that said turquoise 2020 planner will accompany me wherever I go.
How’s it going with the planner proclamation? Here’s how. The muses of time think my idea is a joke.
They’re laughing at me, “You know, Bobbe, your planner concept sounds logical, but it’s merely like a fart in a windstorm. You made a little noise, but it’s possibly already lost and forgotten.”
This became my reality as I exited the car for my makeup haircut. I held my wallet and planner. The wind blew that planner right out of my hands.The pages stood straight up from wind gusts. It slid down the sidewalk like a flat rock, skipping happily upon the water surface. There I was, chasing and being teased by my planner. Every time I reached it, poof! It took off again. And again. What a mean trick.
Clearly, becoming aware of a habitneeding attention is the first step. Then you really have to step on it. Eventually, I was able to step on it. More accurately, I stomped on it. There is now a huge boot-print stamped upon the month of January. Hopefully, the boot will kick me in the tush, every time I have an appointment this month. And I’ve got a bunch of them.
People driving by probably found paper chasing activity fairly typical of windy day activities. They wouldn’t know the pure irony of me chasing the planner.There I was, literally and figuratively chasing my appointments.
What habit are you needing to improve in 2020? And willing to share?
Once you speak it, it becomes real. And that’s a pretty big deal.
I considered some New Year’s resolutions. Then I thought, “That’s stupid. Just make better habits.” That’s all resolutions are: better habits.
Here’s my Happy New Year habit proclamation to all seven people reading this post:
“I will be punctual for appointments. If not on time, I shall be early!”
Simple. Everything’s written in my planner, iPhone, iPad and on the fridge. Do we have tools out our wazoos or what?
And yet, January 3rd, three days into 2020, I missed my 7:00 a.m haircut. Not late for it. I missed it completely.
First you wonder, “Why would anyone pick seven o’clock a.m.?”
The first appointment means no waiting. This time doesn’t conflict with other commitments. It’s the best slot.
Second, I love my hairapy. (Hair + therapy). If you are a good fit with your stylist, you know what I’m talking about. Every four weeks Kris cuts. We talk about stuff. What I’ve been doing. What he’s been doing. Travel stuff. Life stuff.
Also, short hair needs regular cuts. If stretched further, you’ll have wonky spots (i.e. basic bedhead or hat hair). Not pretty.
In December, I stuck the appointment card in my backpack-card-keeper. I wrote it in my planner. That should have taken care of it.
I should’ve done a lot of things. I should’ve typed it into my work calendar, which pops up with daily. I should’ve written it on the refrigerator calendar. I should’ve stuck the card on the door with a magnet like usual. I should’ve, but I didn’t.
And as I’ve said it before, “SHOULD IS A DUMB WORD!”
I found the card and realized I hadn’t read my planner the night before.
“NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!” I said. (Plus a really bad word.)
I beat myself up all weekend for being inconsiderate.
Kris will say, “It’s okay.”
But it’s not okay. I feel rude and irresponsible. Most importantly, when appointments are disappointments -meaning a no-show- the business loses money. Time is money. Believe it or not, someone else may have wanted that 7:00 a.m. And I disappointed. Like pearly white teeth, with a front tooth missing. That was me. Being late or a no-show makes me feel disrespectful. It shows how little I must care about someone else’s time. But it’s really not that. It’s not. It’s more like being Busy Bobbe. Too many things in too many directions. Kris should charge me anyway.
So I’m proclaiming it for all to read, “New habit. Right here. Right now.”
We can have 100 excuses about why we‘re late or why we disappointed. None of them carry weight, other than laying on an ER gurney or searching for a lost child, parent or dog. Aside from those, they’re just excuses.
The bottom line is: it’s about somebody else’s time. And that’s a pretty big deal.
It wasn’t a new year’s resolution, but 2019 has turned out to be the “Year of the Friend” visits around the country. The only reason it happened is this: I invited myself. Ugh. I can hardly write about these impositions. Mom is, no doubt, rolling her eyes out loud at me, because people with manners just don’t do this. I’m a little sorry, but not a lot sorry, because I got to mix some biz with pleasure and spend time with really great friends.
My destinations included humans – and a few hounds – ages 4 weeks old to 94. The overall theme of these travels was, “If not now, when?” I’ve learned that with major miles and busy lifestyles among us, most people won’t outright invite others. I really don’t either, really. We all just assume, “They should know they’re welcome.” They haven’t met my mother, “Not until you’re invited, Young Lady!”
When imposing on others, I tried hard to abide by these ten tips. (My hosts may be rolling their own eyes after reading my intentions below…!)
Offer a few dates you could visit. Fortunately, I have honest friends who tell me when it’s inconvenient to visit.
Limit your stay to two days. I thought it was Mom’s rule, but just learned it’s not. “Guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.” Benjamin Franklin
Be a good guest. This includes bed made and room(s) tidied daily, particularly the bathroom. ESPECIALLY the bathroom.
Be gracious. Come bearing gift(s) or follow up promptly. If there’s a young child in the home, take a book or tiny toy. (Side bar: just found out that I mailed my thank you note to Christine and Family to Debbie’s house. Oh, Bobbe…)
Be cooperative. If there is a 6:45 p.m. dinner reservation, do whatever it takes to be ready…FIRST.Thou shall not wait on you!
Be agreeable. They want to go bowling and eat pizza. You’d hoped for TopGolf and Tacos. Toughen up Taco Head. Go with it.
House rules rule! I noted in 75% of the homes where I stayed. (Okay, 3 of 4) shoes were left by the door. Once inside, it’s best to ask before you tromp through their house.
Assess your pajamas. For some of you that may even mean, “GET SOME PAJAMAS!” Perhaps you sleep in bikini briefs, boxers or bare bottom. This doesn’t mean everyone does. Cover up buttercup. Oh, and while dressing, SHUT. THE. DOOR. You never know who might pop in. Awkward!
Spring for a meal. They’ll say, “No!” You say, “Yes!” Personally, I hate food funding fights, so I’ve gotten quite sly about handing off my credit card to the waiter unnoticed. I figure it’s the least I can do in exchange for lodging. #needtips?
Be self-sufficient, on both arrival and departure.This may include Lyft, Uber or car rental. Your hosts and hostesses appreciate not having to fetch you, although some will insist. On the other end, I’ve found that my friends are more than happy to return me to the airport. Hmmmm, what’s that fishy smell? Oh, ha-ha, It’s me! Bye, bye!
BONUS TIP: Board Bob the Beagle. Don’t even think of showing up with extra people or pets, unless encouraged. That is just rude. Ruff ruff!
My friend, Christine, said something which made me feel much better about inviting myself, “How can you invite yourself if the door is always open?” I like that philosophy. A lot. Hear that one, Mom? Is this new age hospitality?
Thank you, thank you, from Denver to Dallas to Charlotte. There was a common denomination among you all: loads of laughter. My emotional tank is now full to the brim. Thanks for the fill-ups, Friends! You all were grand hosts, I can only hope I was as grand of a guest. Bw
We’ve been hearing this phrase a lot lately. It’s a handy one. It can tolerate any pronoun:
That’s on me.
That’s on you.
That’s on us.
That’s on them.
I think this phrase be used a lot or a little. It depends. If we’re taking ownership in something we’ve done that doesn’t turn out particularly well. Well, that’s on me. I need to own it.
Before slinging this phrase around, perhaps the best idea is to turn the phrase into a question “That’s on who?”(For you grammar gurus, I suppose it’s more correct to say, “That’s on whom?” Whichever, it is and right now, I’m getting confused about the wrong thing, so let’s move on, shall we?)
If someone is trying to throw blame on you for something, they might say, “That’s on you!”If it’s true, then it’s going to hit right where it hurts. Why? Because truth is hard. Truth can hurt. But the truth is the truth is the truth. And that’s the truth. Or as our Nick would’ve said it as a little kid, without front teeth, “That’s the troof!” And that’s okay. We need to hear a little more troof!
The problem with hearing the troof is that we become so damn defensive. It’s a natural response.If we don’t go down the defensive road, I know that for myself, I will just crumble into a puddle of woe. Woe goes like this:
“I’m so stupid. I’m such a loser. I should’ve known better.” Yeah, let’s be self-defeating. That’s so much more fun! This is because someone has just validated what I’ve known all along. And the troof can feel like crap. So, be careful before you sling around “That’s on you.”
However, if we’re to correct our actions and become better humans, then it’s important to know what troof feels like. I think I really like using this version (troof), because it makes me laugh. And maybe we all need to do that a little bit more when it’s on us. Bw
Recently, Sam Horn, Intrigue Agency, wrote about being Bolder in Boulder. She was entered into a 10K walk and almost let self-doubt demolish her plans. She asked us readers if we were being bold on our own behalf. I replied and she suggested sharing my reply, as others might relate. The last twenty-four hours have been a cacophony of “Should I or shouldn’t I? Be bold or bashful?” Aha! I was practicing the exact self-doubt demolition to my idea. Would readers think I was a nutcase or normal? Asking for affirmations and compliments? My people will always think I am a bit of a nutcase, only because of my trudging through a number of human struggles. Oh, right, like everyone else. In that spirit, here is my attempt to be bold today. Read it, reap it or recycle it. It’s simply my offering.
My body image brain has two heads. On one hand, I am the wellness program coordinator for our company. It pushes me to participate to the fullest as an example, if I’m leading the program. I would probably workout with or without the program; always have. I am proud of the fact that as one of the oldest employees at 62 and 11/12 , I’m in decent shape, energy-wise, fitness-wise. Last Thursday, I wore a pair of slacks to work, or rather, they wore me. I felt fat around the waist all day. I started doing that thing I do in my head.
“You don’t work out hard enough.”
“You don’t work out often enough.”
“You finally let yourself go. Great.”
“You’re getting the middle-aged spread.” I have felt that I delayed the onset (like it’s a disease) until 63.”
And so it went for a few days. I was so angry and disappointed in myself, that no matter how much effort I would throw at my waist, it would never be enough. You see, I’m a recovering enoughaholic. Yes, I suffer from Enoughaholism. I’m considering writing this idea for a book title, but would enough people want to read it? There I go again.
Saturday morning, I signed up for Pound Class with my daughter. I was forced to stand in front of the mirrored wall of truth. However, during the forty-five minute class, some switch flipped. I was actually able to look at myself objectively. This is not an easy thing for PLU (People like us) to do. Somehow the wellness demon decided to ease up. Perhaps she had seen me berate myself enough the last two days. I assessed myself from head to toe. I didn’t hate what I was seeing, as much as expected. First, were my shoulders. One time a physical therapist described them to his co-worker as, “Well developed.” I liked hearing that. My upper body workouts were actually having a positive effect. Who knew? Next, were arms. There was a little jiggle underneath them, but overall, the biceps actually had definition. Moving south, the waist and tummy were next. Ehhhhhhh, they’re not HORRIBLE. Passable, I suppose. “However,” I reminded myself, “Remember, Young Lady, you’re wearing LOTS of Lycra.” Oh, for heavens sake, who let in Bobbe, the Body Bubble Burster? The self-sabotager. Finally, I looked at my legs; they aren’t twigs by any means, but they’re strong and they still work. Good grief, listen to me!
After class, I glanced once more in the mirror as we walked out. I’m used to being the oldest in most classes. It’s obvious, I’m not as lithe and flowing as younger specimens, but, by golly, I’m there. I’m okay for turning 63 in six days. Yes, I could work out harder. And more often. Push, push, push. Does it ever end? Or are we working ourselves out to death, literally and figuratively?
Choices I make are just that: choices. Live with them or make different choices. Ease up and give a little gratitude to the physical abilities I have and start bursting those bubbles that say, along with my rationale,
“Not strong enough,”
There will always be someone stronger.
“Not coordinated enough”,
There will always be someone more coordinated.
“Not thin enough”,
There will always be genetics that dictate body type.
“Not flexible enough”,
There are always ways to improve flexibility.
“Not smart enough”,
There will always be someone smarter. Hello genetics.
“Not pretty enough,”
There will always be someone prettier. By whose standards?
“Not rich enough,”
How much is enough?
“Not popular enough.”
There will always be the high school mentally.
”Not successful enough.”
There will always be someone with more drive, better timing, more bravery.
Sound familiar? Any of it? If yes, then let the mantra be,
“Enough OF enough.”
“Enough IS enough!“
I’d love you to PM me if you struggle with Enoughaholism too. Or am I the only one? Be bold. Be brave. I just was and it wasn’t that bad. The first step is recognizing what we’re doing to ourselves. bw
When learning the speaking and writing business, we were taught, “Avoid speaking about bodily functions, seeing as everyone’s “ick” tolerance and privacy levels differ.” I’ve adhered to this advice for seventeen years in the business. No breastfeeding, colonoscopy or incontinence discussions found here. The only thing I might discuss would be: January 13th is my annual mammogram appointment, because it’s the same day as my annual vacuum maintenance
at Sears. And, yep, they both suck. That’s about as far as I go.
Anyway, as I finished eight loads at the Wash Tub Laundromat Saturday, I reflected on the prior weekend. The wash consisted of 14 bath towels, 7 beach towels, 11 hand towels, 2 dishrags and 6 pairs of socks. I’m breaking my rule today to write about how humor in the home place is sometimes, well, hard.
It started at work, Memorial Day Saturday, at 8:37 a.m. BAM! I got the Urinary Tract Infection (UTI) from hell. Just. Like. That. It’s always perplexed me how the elderly can contract UTI’s, but have no clue until they land in E.R. for observation, antibiotics and fluids. Dad’s symptoms would mirror a stroke or brain tumor. The prognosis was typically “UTI”. In contrast, before drop #1 ever hits the toilet water, some of us KNOW we’ve got a UTI. Or is it “an” UTI? Whichever, I’m not kidding. Vengeful symptoms escalate hourly. These delightful symptoms include, burning from your wa-hoo to your tonsils, urgency and frequency, oh my! I helped customers between bathroom visits, alternating between the east end and west end of the building’s restrooms, so the staff wouldn’t think my frequency odd. Why I even cared is beyond me. I couldn’t leave work for staffing reasons.
My co-worker recommended an over-the-counter remedy. I flew to Wal-Mart out the back door. $50 later I owned every AZO product on the market. After work, I sped to Ambulatory Care for labs and antibiotics. The nurse said, “Doctor is in the procedure room, so you’ll need to wait.” Translated: a woman was getting stitches in her hand. I nearly laughed out loud. WHAT? WAIT? Seriously? So I sat near the restroom.
The frequency lasted all day and night, leaving me exhausted.
Sunday, my “tee-tee tsunami” calmed. I resumed normal activities through Memorial Day. Jeff returned from a fishing trip. By 8:45 p.m. we were ready for bed. I ran down to the laundry room to grab sheets out of the dryer when I stepped into half-inch deep water.
I hated to break the news, but had no choice, “JEFF…WATER IN THE LAUNDRY ROOM!!!” Jeff’s frustration resembled fire and fury, putting it mildly. Since I’d been the only one home, he started quizzing me on what I’d done in excess to tax our sewer system. Let me clarify, the standing water was crystal clear, thankfully.
“Why’s it always my fault?”
“I’M NOT GUILTING YOU, I’M SIMPLY DOING THE MATH!”
No wonder I hate math. (He speaks very loudly when he’s trying to learn me something!)
As he vacuumed water, I fetched towels and more towels. Not exactly our idea of fun at 8:45pm on a “school night.” His questioning continued. It was logical and necessary, I must admit.
“DID YOU TAKE LONG SHOWERS?”
“Nope.” Mine are fast. You know that.
“DID YOU DO LOTS OF LAUNDRY?”
“Two, maybe three loads tops.”
“DID YOU FLUSH THE TOILET A LOT?”
CRAP. Well, NOT crap, exactly… “I had a bladder infection, O.K.?”
“DID YOU USE TOILET PAPER EACH TIME?
“Uhhhhh, yeah.” (There’s another option?)
“ABOUT HOW MANY ROLLS DID YOU GO THROUGH?”
“I don’t know… 3? 17? 2? Yes, maybe 2.” Typically, I don’t keep a running toilet paper inventory, except when it’s the last roll, right?
“WELL, TWO ROLLS OF NON-BIODEGRADABLE TOILET PAPER WADDED UP IN THE PIPE WILL DO THIS.”
“Could it be the tree roots (again)?
“IT COULD, BUT STILL, HOW IS A WAD OF CHARMIN THAT BIG (holding his hands the size of a giant watermelon) GOING TO PASS BY THE ROOTS? IT’S NOT. THIS IS WHAT HAPPENS.”
Any and all humor had gone done the drain with the toilet paper.
As hot, tired and sweaty as we were following clean up, showers and flushing were forbidden for now. In the morning, the basement was dry, so I took a 10-second shower before work. I didn’t even wait for it to warm up. I couldn’t have used more than one gallon of water. No way.
When entering work on Tuesday, my co-workers asked, “How was your weekend?” So, I told them…about my infection…about the water and how it came down to T.P inventory. And how tonight, Jeff and Donnie would rent the sewer snake to break through El Waddo, (and roots). It got funnier. I called for my lab results and the nurse said, “You DEMAND to see every tissue square of those two rolls that you used to clog the system, do you hear me?”
I demanded. The guys laughed at me, because the wad was heading downstream somewhere. Seeing the two of them sitting on the basement floor rolling the snake out and then in, was like watching two little boys play in a puddle. They were in heaven.
And they lived happily ever after, Bobbe learning her lesson, of course. And Jeff might get a sewer snake for Father’s Day. And the next time when a UTI attacks my system, I’m heading to the Holiday Inn Express. I belong to their rewards program. Huh? You see, I’ll get “points (for toilet) paper! And I’m pretty sure each room has at least two rolls and industrial sized pipes…
While in St. Louis, my daughter-in-law, Jenna, treated me to Cycle Bar for spin class. I spin occasionally and do other cardio workouts, so I was certain I could hold up for 45 minutes. Walking Lily used to be cardio, but, seriously, how many 77 year olds do you know who can clip off a four-minute mile? But, I digress.
We received emails and texts, welcoming and preparing us for class. I was fitted with shoes and given a welcome water bottle. It was even personalized. I loved this place!
Our bikes #25-26, were located on the second tier. It felt like we were sitting in the piccolo section of an orchestra room. Our instructor, Michelle, adjusted my bike. I think LeBron James had ridden this bike in the previous class. The seat reached my armpits. Michelle lowered the seat and locked my shoes into the pedals. However would I escape in the event of fire? I’d be the last man out dragging the damn bike with me, because I wouldn’t be able to unhook my shoes. In previous classes, I’d worn my own shoes. I must admit, I felt smugly professional in the clamp-ons.
Two towels hung on each bike. One was for sweat; the other to cover the dashboard. Michelle explained that in classic spin classes, the dashboard was utilized to motivate us to reach “push” levels. The stats revealed velocity, degree of difficulty, caloric burn and minutes remaining until my legs might fall off. Or my tush, whichever came first. I’d forgotten how unforgiving the hard saddle was. Fortunately, the class was taught mostly from a standing stride.
Rather than being dashboard directed, Michelle helped us attain limits from desire and inspirational encouragement. She motivated us by getting into our heads. I do adore psychobabble! Did I mention I loved this place? Michelle’s mantra unfurled in a smooth, but convincing voice, fit for a DJ. Her monologue was punctuated by dancing lights and playlist that could rev up Rumpelstiltskin. It went like this. (My internal reply is in parentheses.)
“What do you want for yourself today?” (“I don’t know, but let’s get it, Gurl!”)
“Come to the edge, farther than before!” (YES! Show me the razor’s edge!”)
“Leave behind all that which does not enhance your existence.” (Bobs is leavin’ it in the smoke, Baby. Raaahhrrrrr!)
It occurred to me that pacing myself, regardless of my stoked inner power, might be wise. I backed off a teensy bit. Jenna dialed up her resistance and velocity. She meant business. I merely hoped to leave Cycle Bar on something besides a gurney and oxygen. Like my legs.
At the end, everyone applauded Michelle. She was an amazing instructor. I felt like I’d attended Tony Robbins’ seminar. Shortly, our compiled stats were emailed to us. This was new. I’d no idea I was being assessed. How cool is that? Jenna read hers first. She’d nearly ruled the class, being ranked for effort and workload, ranking her #2 out of 23 participants. Impressive, but not surprising. She is a fitness machine, that one!
“Check yours!” Jenna encouraged. “It’s in your email.”
“Oh, I hope I didn’t perform really badly…” I envisioned being #10-11…middle of the pack.I was pumped. I’d pedaled hard. I felt gooooooood! I LOVED THIS STUFF!
My recap showed that I’d burned 263 calories, my average speeds and workloads. Then in all its glory, we read my ranking…. #23. That’s out of 23.
WHAT? I WAS THE WORST?I HATE THAT PLACE!
Devastation flooded my head, for, like, one 23rd of a nanosecond. Then we started laughing. It got funnier. Take two bikes, side by side. Jenna was nearly the best in class; I must’ve had a flat tire.
Yet, here was the method in the madness: numbers don’t always justify results. I felt great and had a great experience. Nobody could take that away from me, #23. The laughter was pretty great too. Pedal on, my friends. bw
Most of my writing referenced Dad, be it customer service, strength or humor. It was safe to say that Mom lived in his shadow, but was no shrinking violet. I looked up shrinking violet: it means shy or timid. This was not my mother. Call her, “Quiet Steel.” Man, she was/is a strong woman! Most acquaintances did not experience this quality about her. Here are examples.
CRYING: I’ve seen Mom cry, oh, maybe three times in my life. If she’s 93, this averages once every 31 years. Not often. It doesn’t mean she was unfeeling and certainly, it wasn’t that she didn’t feel sad at times. She just expressed it without tears. She was a soldier when all else crumbled around her.
WARM & FUZZY: Not. My sister, Cathy, and I regret we didn’t get many hugs, kisses or “I love yous,” from her. This was just Mom. It is one thing, however, Cathy and I have vowed to do differently with our own children and grands.
DRILL SERGEANT: If swim practice was scheduled, my fanny was in the pool, on time, every time. She slid on ice into a ditch once, on the way to practice; we eventually made it. Piano lessons? We were there. Dance class: in our tutus, on time.
DISCIPLINARIAN: Whenever we went out to dinner, if we even hinted at misbehaving, Mom pinched my thigh. YOWSER! I’ll be good. I’ll be good. She didn’t tolerate back talk or eye rolling. Cathy tested this more than me; I remained very afraid. At age four, I shoplifted (one and only time) at Illinois School Supply. I was so excited about my colored pencils I showed everyone in the car. She made my sister march me right back in the store and confess. Geez.
HEBREW SCHOOL: Every Thursday. Get over it girls and learn something.
ORGANIZATION: Mom planned and executed. She made a list for everything. Even into which dish the broccoli should go. We never – I mean NEVER – went anywhere, when she didn’t say, “Do you have your raincoat?” Even during a ten-year drought, we’d have our vinyl raincoats or ponchos rolled up tight and stashed. Just in case. (See photo of Bobbe in her raincoat, age 2. Yes, even then.)
THE SOFTER SIDE OF SHIRLEE: In 1970, some unusual events inspired Mom to write the booklet: “Love Is…” It is profound. She never promoted it, obviously, when I unearthed a shoebox full of them in their house. I also found a treasure she wrote and here it is. It’s rather deep and I had no idea Mom’s brain was so prophetic. It almost makes sense it was written in the 70’s, except I know mom didn’t smoke pot! (I’m sorry, Mom, I realize I could get my thigh pinched for that one!) Interpret it to your own needs…
WALK WITH ME
April 4, 1971
Walk with me in the sun or in the dark – the sun melts your tension and the dark holds you close to let you think. To walk alone is to free yourself from the bite and snap of the scene about you- to feel the wind, whether it’s warm or cold, is like a shower in the morning that wakes you and makes you tingle and get alive again to face what will still be there or what is yet to come-
The walk alone is needed; but to walk with another is better. To talk is to walk with the mind as well as the body. It can be brisk and pointed, sharp and stimulating; or it can be quiet and meaningful and an easing of doubts and soothing to a tired soul. One can be alone and walk, but then you walk with your God; and in thinking, you talk with your God and you are not alone.
To walk with another is to be aware of sharing, but even then, two alone cannot live on an island and survive for long; neither can just two walk together. Each one must reach out to many whose lives touch and whose paths meet, some in love and some not.
A family shares and family loves; and where there is strain within that unit, you find an ingredient so vital that it pursues your whole direction. One cannot turn off the emotional self- you are surrounded by it and cannot walk away from it – it can surround you like barbed wire and there is no escape, then you walk in a circle; but in walking, you are doing, and to live and survive you must do something. Then you are making the motions of being alive and find there is always a way out of the circle that seems to close in like a whirlpool in the water, first pulling you down, then releasing you once more to tread the water up and thereby walk again to life –
Walk with me and share life with all those who touch my life –together. –Shirlee Schecter, 4/7/71
Nurse White shops for Korey’s recovery. (Note: side pocket wine is for the nurse.)
Last week, Korey, needed a nurse for post- dental surgery in Washington D.C. Mom to the rescue! Does having four wisdom teeth pulled in eighteen minutes count as surgery? I don’t know, because:
I never got wisdom teeth. (Hold the jokes.)
If the dentist looks 12½ years old is it called, “Surgery or science class?”
In either case, me helping her was laughable. Neither of us likes blood. In seventh grade, Korey missed school the day after getting her ears pierced, because a blood droplet was on her earlobe. Me? I could never look at Nick’s, appendectomy incision. Not even once.
During the morning, I made multiple trips to the grocery and CVS. Here’s the shopping list:
Hefty bags: gallon and quart
Bounty paper towels
These were supplies for teeth extraction? Anyone who visits a child, sibling or parent shops like this for the host. I met friends along the way: Deli Shop Sammy and Young in the grocery. I purchased obligatory ice cream, pudding, Jell-O and Sprite too.
I’m unsure which of us was more nervous. Friday @ 1:30p.m. Korey arrived from work. I walked from her apartment. I’d have been on time, except D.C., like many cities, has 2311 M Street, Northwest, Southwest and East-by-Northwest. Of our founding fathers’ brilliant ideas, street naming wasn’t one of them. My walk was supposedly .6 mile. Google said 6.7 miles! Guess who was going to be late and lost? Korey answered my S.O.S. and I recalculated.
Korey was a good patient (ice, rest, fluids, “This Is Us”) and Saturday night we went out for pasta!
As scheduled, Korey conducted a 2-hour webinar Sunday, for associates. We silenced the T.V., phones and apparently everything but Bobbe. As the webinar commenced my throat tickled, forcing me to stifle coughing with a pillow. It wouldn’t stop. I considered available remedies, such as honey, Jack Daniels or peanut butter. Desperation. I landed on almond butter. It tasted weird, but worked.
I read for a while, then decided to nap on the couch, falling asleep fast. Before long, Korey was wiggling my big toe, “Shhhhhhh. They can hear you snoring!” I couldn’t do ANYTHING quiet. I got up and read again. Jeff texted us, “What’s for dinner?” I replied and Korey informed me that our family-wide text was crawling across the webinar screen. Jeesh.
Korey was beyond frustrated. We tried. We really tried, but Murphy’s Law of Silence ruled: the quieter you try to be, the noisier you will become. What can I say? This nurse was a helpful, but noisy one. And, yes Virginia, there IS a tooth fairy. Even at age 29.
It’s recommended that we find our “third place” to write, do taxes, work, read, pay bills, think, study, sketch, paint, workout or meditate. I tried a Third Place on Sunday.
What and where is your third place?
It’s not home, or work.
It is a neutral, mostly distraction-free zone. Think: coffee shops, parks, libraries, gyms and beaches.
Third place-why? First and second places tempt us with many diversions, such as:
An instant burning desire to wash, dry, and fold every last article, which includes ironing Jeff’s Jockey’s or sockies.
Without hesitation, you’re outside the house or down the office hall chatting with neighbors and co-workers, whom you’ve ignored for years.
-Eating: Before starting, you need a little snack, which turns into a full out pantry and floor sweep for crumbs, expired spices and old food in the fridge. Sure, the kitchen sparkles after this effort, but you haven’t done one intended thing yet.
Home closets, credenza drawers or under your work desk are favorite diversionist destinations. A simple pen search evolves into sorting envelopes, medications and paperclips. There’s something safe about diving deep into closets, drawers and other dark spaces.
Why are these activities appealing distractions? Google it. I’ve decided to term it: “Ostriching”.
A flightless swift running and the largest living African bird with long neck, long legs and two toes per foot.
Myth: ostriches bury their heads in sand to avoid predators.
Fact: they would die from asphyxiation.
Fact: When nesting, they dig shallow holes to bury their eggs. From afar, ostriches appear to be burying their small heads, when they’re simply tending their eggs.
Human ostriches (i.e. procrastinators):
People who refuse to face reality or accept facts, such as finite time. While ostriches are actually engaging in functional activity in their nests, humans, on the other hand, creatively try to avoid the intended task by burying their heads into places like closets, washers and refrigerators.
Our third place isolates us from distractions and enables us to stay on task.
Starbucks was my third place Sunday morning. I sat in the corner with my ear buds inserted and thought, “I don’t know anyone here!” Which was shocking. Then, a man, whom I scarcely knew, approached me while chatting, but I couldn’t hear him, of course.
I decided I had to give him the finger or he’d stay all morning. Mom always gave me the finger too. The “Wait-one-second-I’m-in-the-middle-of-something-on-which-the-survival-of-the-human-species-depends” finger. To further indicate my intention to stay on task, my eyes remained on my paper; ear buds stayed inserted. I felt (a little) bad being rude, but these types of people are easily encouraged and hard to disband.
What I learned
If you want your time uninterrupted, you must be willing to protect it.
When I happen upon someone who’s obviously busy, I will resist the urge to engage him or her in mindless chatter. Unless my pants are on fire. bw