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.
... and, par for the course, I'm already behind.
I was going to write more - which I have. On this blog - which I haven't. But, since one of my NY goals is to stop beating myself up for things I've not done, I'm going to celebrate what I HAVE done.
This week I stripped a bunch of wire for trees, painted a bunch of bases for trees, cut, polished and drilled twelve pieces of glass for swings, made two new trees and messed about with four more that - depending on how I feel next time I look at them - may or may not be finished. I've actually managed to do a bit of meditation each morning that has been 'enhanced' by the dogs. I've also started a few writing projects, messed about with a few others and thought 'deeply' about a few others. AND, I've read three trashy novels and cleaned up after Joe's disastrous 'poop is dangling from my butt so I must run as fast as I can so it can't get me' episode IN THE HOUSE.
So. Yay, me!
Below is proof of forward movement on trees. Maybe next week I'll post more but for now, celebrating this little thing.
Today is our FIFTH Houseiversary in Nashville. Honestly, not sure if that should get a "Whoo hoo!" or a "sniffwhimpermoan." I Five years ago, we signed the papers on a lovely foreclosure that had a teal kitchen, hidden rat carcasses and drawers filled with poop. We've had five years of Owl babies throwing cuteness all over the yard as they learned to fly. Five years of Deer and Bobcat and Coyote and Hawk spotting while trying to keep the dogs from being their dinner. And five Husband lying to my face about this not being a fixer-upper, that "all the work is cosmetic. II promise."
Dude! Widening a driveway because your car won’t fit down it is not cosmetic! Putting in a new kitchen because it is too small to bake a pizza in and also, it was filled the aforementioned drawers of poop, not cosmetic! New windows for the whole house because the wind/snow/bugs kept coming in, not cosmetic! Tearing out a pink moldy master bathroom in September and still not having the replacement done months later with no sign of forward movement, NOT COSMETIC!
But you know what is cosmetic? Paint. So, after years of asking, begging, pleading and teasing, I painted, (had painted), the outside of the house while Husband was in Scotland on a memory lane eating tour. Before, the house sported a lovely faded salmon pink fascia and soffit with sun-bleached mint green shutters. Both of which I hated with a passion normally reserved for, well, for Husbands who don’t do what they say they’re going to and finish the f-ing bathroom by Christmas.
Now, the house no longer irritates me. Well, the outside of the house no longer irritates me. And it no longer irritates The Mayor Of Our Street, who loves to let us know about all things we could improve, actually pulled me aside and thanked me for painting it because it "was really not appealing.” Bonus! The house now blends into the background instead of letting all who drive by it think that we are color challenged and/or incapable of change. Amongst the mansions that are springing up around us, we are almost inoffensive. Life goals.
Now, if that bathroom were finished we’d be done…
Bwahahahahahahaha. If. Only. Husband has decided our “It’s not a fixer-upper. It’s merely cosmetic. I promise.” house needs a front porch. And a screened in kitchen deck. And an attic master suite...
I, on the other hand, might need a new Husband.
Whelp, 2017 was a rough year, filled with icky, stupid people making horrible, hideous choices that have and continue to affect us all… but I don’t want to focus on that. Today is my birthday so focusing on good things that happened to me this year. Sadly, I’m a hacking, sniffing, coughing mess so stopping at six(ish) good(ish) things and then heading back to bed. Age ain’t nothing but a number until you can’t breathe without coughing, swallow without pain and your nose is as red as Rudolph’s….
1. I started the year walking. Considering the boxer broke my ankle in three places and I have a plate and eight screws, I think this is a major achievement. Now I can tell when the weather is below 70degrees and sometimes walk like a drunken pirate but I am walking. Apparently, my right side is now a hair shorter than the left but that adds to the pirate-like aesthetic. I’m still considering getting tattoos on the scars. No idea what kind of art I’d get, the scars are pretty nasty… But since my last one had to be done twice and – and this is a thing – the screws in my ankle might WORK THEIR WAY OUT (!!!) - I might wait on the tattoo.
2. I’m still married. YAY!!! Considering we’ve been without a master bathroom and closet since the end of September, this is a big deal. Sharing a bathroom with someone who doesn’t share the same views about toothpaste in the sink is hard! Somehow, how he chooses to use the toothpaste or leave the toothpaste is not as tragic when there’s a second bathroom to escape too. Not to mention trying to find your clothes in the mess that is a pile on the guestroom bed can be a challenge. It’s a good thing he’s funny. It’s also a good thing he’s talented with a saw and paint. If it weren’t for his abilities, we’d still be in the 1960’s pink moldy bathroom, fighting over the sink. If it weren’t for his abilities, we’d still be in California and not in Nashville. Pretty much everything is his fault – good and bad.
3. We still have three dogs. This is a major thing (see above) because I’m pretty sure they keep trying to kill me. Joseph, the boxer – again – pulled me over and bounced my face off the sidewalk, Pepper constantly stands behind me and tries to trip me up and Tigger the Dog is actively trying to push me down the stairs. So far they have not been successful but they are ever hopeful. Joking aside, it astonishes me how many folks have asked if we’ve gotten rid of Joe. I never know how to respond to that. He’s a pain, has caused me pain, has covered the house in drool but he’s ours. Our dog. Our family. If your child is annoying or wrecks the car or gets bad grades, do you give them away? It’s nutty to think that people would think we’d do that. Broken ankle and face aside, he’s a good dog.
4. I quit social media. First I limited my time sucking each day, found that wasn’t as productive as I’d hoped so I quit. Cold.
And lasted twelve days. Twelve days without Facebook or Instagram or Twitter.... I wish I could tell you I spent my time in a much better way than scrolling through folk’s pages, judging them or judging myself but, nope. Most of those twelve days, when I wasn’t reading trashy books with happy endings, were spent loudly proclaiming to all who stood near me how awesome I was that I wasn’t on social media. The rest of the time was trying to figure out how to get information for folks who were on social media so that I could stalk their lives.
5. I lost 14 pounds. I’m hoping this lose is more permanent than my social media vacation. I’m pretty sure the weight loss started because I spent the first few days of the year lying on the bathroom floor since our 2016 New Year’s Eve was a lot more liquid than it should be for our age. My doctor was very proud of my weight loss. My cardiologist though, was only slightly impressed. I was just sad that he wasn’t as cute as I thought he was two years ago. Apparently my standards for heart health have changed. I’d like the guy feeling me up to be good looking enough to affect my heart rate. I realize that this is counterintuitive but it must be that I’m lightheaded from the lack of sugar in my diet.
6. Finally, I am still creating trees, albeit slowly and only when the mood strikes me. I am still writing, albeit slowly and only when the mood strikes me. I am still trying to manage my social media addiction albeit slowly and only when the mood strikes me. And I am still working on seeing the silver lining in every dark corner…
As the Lakota medicine man I met last Thursday told me, the year has been full of lessons. I hope I am able to take these lessons and grow forward. Heck, I hope we all are able to grow forward - especially the stupid icky people.
Be well. Be happy. Be healthy. Be joy.
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