Husband walked in on me yesterday finishing off the large bag of potato chips I’d bought the day before.
“What?” I said, aggressively. “I’m eating my feelings.”
“Write them down!” He shouted. Which is particularly funny, coming from him, because his motto is ‘Never write anything down. It will incriminate you.’
But I did used to write all my feelings down. And writing them down helped because I was able to sort them out, make some perverse sense of them - or, I was at least able to find the funny in them. Lately, I’ve not felt like writing about my feelings. I’ve felt like eating those feelings, shoving fat and sugar and salt right on top of them and squishing them down deeper into my whatever to deal with later.
Later is going to be a holy mess.
With that in mind, as I was licking the salt and fat off my fingers and smearing the chip crumbs off my face, I told Husband he was right. I should probably think about writing again...
And then this morning, at Costco I realized that Husband was wrong. Why write when feelings can be smothered in dark chocolate covered mangos.
I may have bought multiple boxes - I mean, bags.
Let’s face it, chocolate might not fix a feeling but it sure tastes good smothering them down.
Husband and I went to a wedding in San Francisco this past weekend. Since it was the first trip away we’ve had together in five years, we added a few days on the front end and spent some time in our old neighborhood visiting with friends and family. We even managed to swing a day wandering around Carmel Valley. It was a lovely few days filled with fun and family and friends and sun, and – who am I kidding. It was wicked stressful, traffic was nuts and there were people everywhere... but it was lovely.
I think this picture of our shower in our Monterey hotel sums up the whole experience.
A perfectly placed hole in the glass shower wall so that you can reach in and turn on the water without soaking yourself.
Fabulous in theory, sure. But in practice, you step into the shower and the perfectly heated water hits your body, sprays out the hole, onto the floor and soaks the toilet. Which leaves you with a wet floor, wet toilet and perfectly soggy, utterly useless toilet paper.
Much like our trip. Lovely in theory; spend four days in the California sun seeing friends and family. The reality; we ran about, exhausted ourselves, had little time with any particular person and now we're perfectly soggy, utterly useless, well... toilet paper.
The dogs on the other hand had a marvelous time at their very fancy dog spa hotel.
So much so, I think they’re unhappy we came home.
Sucks to be them. We’re unhappy too.
This morning I woke up at 6am and, with my eyes half open, I shuffled myself into my warm pjs, grabbed my puffy jacket and boots, and let the dogs out of their crates. With a bit of coxing, I ushered the nutters down the stairs to the backdoor and had them sit while I put a leash on Tigger the Dog and shoved a jam jar in my pocket. I then spent a minute trying to calm them all down, telling them we weren’t going on a walk as I opened the door and hurried everyone outside – where they stopped, waiting for their leashes. Told them all again that seriously, a walk was not happening and tried to move forward. They didn’t believe me and they whined, whimpered, barked and begged for their leashes. I promised them I wasn’t lying and, trying not to trip over any of them, walked TTD and the other idiots over to the morning pee area. Telling them again, too loudly for 6am, that we were totally not walking, I encouraged them all to “Do the toilet. Come on, have a pee.” They didn’t believe me. I encouraged them louder. I’m sure the neighbors love me. Then, while the others went off to do their thing, totally pissed at me, I followed TTD around, holding the leash in one hand and the jam jar in the other as she sniffed the ground, looking for that perfect spot to do her business. When she finally found a spot that met with her liking, she crouched and I awkwardly shoved that jar under her rear mid-stream in an attempt to catch her ‘first morning urine’ for the vet.
She was not impressed. My aim was not accurate. Neither was hers. It was not pretty.
Two minutes later, the jam jar in one warm, sticky, stinky hand, I unleashed her, let her and the other two idiots into the house, gave them all treats and then took my ‘winnings’ upstairs to disinfect myself.
As I write this, there is a warm jam jar of pee sitting on many paper towels on my kitchen counter and I am having a deep Zen moment of awareness. I could look at this rocky awakening as a horrible mess of a start to my day; covered in pee at dark o‘clock in 24deegree weather, with two very disappointed dogs and third who I’ve just violated. Or I could look at it as beginning my day with a win; with one thing on my long list of musts for the day – the most unpleasant thing – checked off my list before 6:15am.
How I choose to see this start affects the whole day – mine, Husband’s, the dogs, everyone I encounter... Who knew a morning pee would bring such an awakening. Who wants to guess how the day is going to go for everyone around me? Am I going to be an Eeyore or an Winnie the Peeoh?
I’ve not been officially graded for ages. Once you’re out of school, that grading of stuff mainly falls on yourself. Sure, most jobs give you some sort of evaluation but in life, typically you’re judging yourself. I’ve come to realize lately that I grade myself way too hard. I’m constantly putting myself in time-out because of things I’ve said or done, sending myself to the principal’s office because I suck, hard. This year, I’m trying to ease up and give myself a “Whoop whoop!” or a “Girl, do better.” If you will, a pass/fail on all interactions, choices and outcomes.
For example, this post was supposed to drop last Wednesday but didn’t. There are lots of reasons why but they don’t matter. I was supposed to. I didn’t so… Fail. BUT, I was doing other things, other writings, other creative things and this blurt not posting isn’t the end of the world so… Pass.
Here are last week’s ‘grades’ such as they are:
I dog wrangled while Husband had several recording sessions. This was complicated because the sessions required the piano, which is upstairs and demands no ambient dog noises so we’re all quarantined in the back office. TTD is on several meds for a bacterial kidney thing and an anti seizure thing for a possible who the hell knows what. This means when her regular routine of “I must pee now” is interrupted, she freaks the heck out. Which means the other dogs freak the heck out. Which means I’m trying to play dog whisperer to three nut jobs while trying to be quiet and not disturb the epic Grammy winning recording session. Perhaps next time, I should video myself trying to do this. It’s tragic in the moment and hysterical on playback.
GRADE: Dogs are still alive and the recordings were not disturbed by a dog kerfuffle. And, bonus, nobody got bit… I give myself a Pass.
On Monday, I counseled a friend in a bad place. Points for me. Yelled at said friend because they weren’t listening, were going bats**t crazy, justifying it all with a “they all suck” argument that does not help anyone at all, least of all them and were spiraling into a panic attack. Points taken away – and then given back because, damnit, I spoke up for myself, pointed out their irrational behavior, encouraged them to correct it and put myself out for a timeout because the whole thing was stressing me out. When my heart rate went down to only slightly crazy, I sent them a well-crafted email, (I thought) explaining myself and encouraging them to get help from someone who doesn’t have my particular WebMD degree in psychiatry. They have not responded. Sigh. BUT, another point for me for recognizing that this whole thing is not my issue. This is their issue, their problem. We’re not in high school, I don’t need to call them up and make sure they’re not mad at me.
GRADE: Even though they may never speak to me again, I am counting this as a win. Spoke my piece, held my own, and I am still breathing… PASS
On Tuesday, I had coffee with the ladies group I’m in. (Yup, moved to the south and joined a ladies group. Just call me Ms. ej and pass the fan.) During coffee, while I was inside chatting away, telling inappropriate stories, my poor Smart Car was ticketed. Ugh! I accept the blame for this as I chose to interpret the ‘No parking from here to the corner’ sign as not technically applying to me, it was it was pointing sideways, ya’ll. That doesn’t count. Right?
GRADE: Even though I feel should only get half a ticket for my half a car, this was a … Fail.
On Wednesday, I spent the $25 gift card to Target someone gave me on cookies and chips. I came home and hid said cookies and chips in various places in the house where Husband couldn’t find them. I then proceeded to spend the next few days eating all of the cookies and chips. By. Myself.
GRADE: Honestly not sure if this is a Pass or a Fail, the scale says one thing, my soul says another so I’ll grade on a curve (pun intended) and give myself a… Pass.
Thursday I was propositioned to join a polyamorus relationship. Or Husband was. Or neither of us was. It’s hard to know from a text message. We’re both still not sure if that person was ‘asking for a friend.’ Or just asking, (nudge, nudge wink, wink) and neither of us are inclined to learn more. The answer, by the way, is NO. NO, he’d not be okay and NO, I’d not be okay. Making one person happy is hard enough. Why would we add someone new to the mix? That’s just asking for trouble. We’re over here alternating between giggling, because we’re twelve, and freaking out because, well, because sexy time with more than one person!?!
GRADE: Yeah, not grading this one. It’s flattering (ish) if they were asking, embarrassing if they weren’t and just a good story over all. Calling it even.
So that was last week. Overall, not bad, didn’t spend too much time in the principal’s office or relieving things I said or did at 3am. This counts as a win for me. This week, so far, I’ve over-shared in a public place, made a bunch of stuff and played lovely assistant to Husband as he tiled the bathroom. So far so… eh, who am I kidding. I’m going back to grading myself hard. Who am I without angst and over-evaluation and middle of the night conversation do-overs? This Pass/Fail stuff is not for me. It’s too ambiguous, too wishy-washy. I need hard, cold letters to let me know where I stand in life.
Giving this post a D.
Had a conversation the other day with a guy about his roommate situation that has apparently gone to hell.
“Caught myself staring at my bat the other day for way too long.” He said.
“At least it wasn’t your gun.” Husband joked.
“My gun is the in cabinet behind my bat,” he said.
We all laughed awkwardly. I mean guns aren’t something to joke about, but we both understand; living with someone is HARD.
At first it’s a breeze, you both do your best to put your best foot forward. You do little things for each other; you put the new toilet paper on the roll and dispose of the empty one. You wipe the toothpaste and shaving cream out of the sink instead of leaving large hairy globs behind. You close closet doors and put your shoes away instead of leaving them in piles about the house. But slowly it changes. Sometimes it’s because you’re caught up in your life and you forget to change the roll, or close the cupboard door until it whacks them in the head. Sometimes it’s because you’re so comfortable with your roommate your true self comes out and you happily decorate the house with empty shoes. And sometimes it’s because it’s what you know. My mom told me a story about the new house they’d built in Kenya, and how the housekeeper never washed the floor. She swept it daily but never washed it. Mom though she was doing it on purpose until she realized that the woman didn’t have a floor in her own home, her floor was hard packed dirt. So sweeping it was what you did.
But there are times when the little kindnesses are something you don’t want to share with your roommate because you think they don’t value them. When that happens, living with someone becomes a battle of who blinks first. For example, the large globs of toothpaste someone leaves to dry into hard crusty bits in the sink. Whomever it bothers the most is the one who folds first and cleans – all the while cussing their roommate blue.
In our house right now, the battle is raging over the soap dispenser. Since acquiring Joe two years ago, the soap dispenser depilates quite quickly. When you have 68lbs of dog drool on every surface, you are obsessed with hand washing. I buy the soap and I fill the dispenser because I fold first, every time. Honestly, I know I’m the only one in this war but I am not as manic as my roommate, who uses large amounts of soap every time he washes his hands and yet, I am the only one who fills the soap dispenser. Every. Time.
Now, none of this is a “staring at my bat” situation. My roommate and I are quite adept at yelling each other’s faults at each other. Well, to be accurate, I’m brilliant at muttering obscenities and then exploding at him over something totally unrelated but you get the idea. We communicate. But this time, I have drawn the line in the sand, or in this case, soap. I will wait him out.
I will not lose this war.
My name is ej. I'm a girl. I say that because with the short hair and the short initials, folks aren't always sure. More brilliant insights to who I am in About me