Life is Messy

Keats said: “Life is divine Chaos. It’s messy, and it’s supposed to be that way.” And I get it. Yes. Life is messy. I’m not quite sure on the whole “divine” aspect, but in general, I’m on board with the whole chaos theory per Mr. Keats.

Here lately, chaos has defined my world … some bad, some good. It seems that along with being messy, Life has a sense of humor, and a twisted one at that. It sometimes gives you what you want, while also throwing obstacles — or downright tragedies, in your wake. Trials, tribulations, misfortune. Why can’t we just be allowed to enjoy the “good” without having the “bad” trail so closely behind?

After too many years of an unhappy — even, shall we say, hurtful, marriage, I began anew. It has taken adjustments, but it was necessary, and there is now a peace in my home that reigns supreme. Chalk that up to the “good” side. My kids are doing well on their respective paths to their future. Add a notch to the good column. I start a new job in a week. It’s been a long time coming, and I’m excited about this new route my own path is taking. Another mark to the good.

And then. Life, in all of its infinite wisdom said: “You know what? Things are just going a little to well for you and your family. I’m going to throw a kink into things. The mother of all kinks, in fact. Because, fuck you.”

Yeah. Life is messy all right.

My Dad, who this time last year was fine, now has Stage IV lung cancer. We know he was fine last year because for a few, non-cancer related reasons, he has scans done every year. That’s Life right there, flipping the middle finger. He’s a tough old cuss and if anyone can beat this thing, he can. But damn it, Life, get your shit together why don’t you?

 

Monday Morning Revelations

Here I sit with my early morning cup of coffee awaiting the child, who, after the 3rd call to arms was finally making an appearance, bemoaning her upcoming descent into hell (or what some call school) as she dragged herself slowly to the bathroom — deciding apparently that the Board of Ed’s set schedule was obviously meant for other students and not her.

It’s that time on a Monday morning when I contemplate my week’s required work, both professional and personal, and try to mentally set a schedule for each task. As I arrange my ideas and mental calendar, I watch the ne’er-do-well (aka Holly the evil cat) knock a decorative glass bottle off the antique dresser she’s not supposed to be on and in so doing, my eye catches sight of a business card — a business card that upon further inspection, announces a vet appointment for the hellhounds…an appointment first thing this morning that I had, of course, completely forgotten about until this very moment (okay, I still don’t remember, but obviously it’s meant to happen — why else would I have the card?).

I instantly regret putting off bathing the two hellhounds after their romp in the puddles during our walk late last night and I hang my head in preemptive shame for the looks I know I will receive from the vet tech over their raggedy condition. “Oh sure, do it tomorrow you thought, it can wait, you thought. It’s midnight after all, you thought. It’s not like we have to go anywhere first thing in the morning.” Great.

As the “I don’t want to go to school and I’m going to drag this out as long as possible” slamming and banging from the other room gets louder and louder, another memory creeps into my consciousness. The English project that should’ve been completed this weekend. “Hey! Did you get that character analysis done?” The clattering stops abruptly. Total silence. Of course.

With a heavy sigh, I finally take my first sip of the much-needed sweet and creamy caffeine-laden liquid pick-me-up in my cup…at long last. Too late, I realize my mistake. I forgot to put in the sugar. Blech.

I tip my imaginary hat to Monday. So it’s going to be like that, is it? Well played, Monday. Well played indeed.

 

squirrels-at-a-rave

 

 

Cleanliness is…not all it’s cracked up to be

Since my dirty little secret was discovered by my Dad a couple of weeks ago, I’ll just come out and say it. The backseat of my car looks like a landfill. Okay, fine, if we’re being honest…my entire car looks like a landfill. So much random crap has somehow piled up, I don’t even know how it got there. My daughter gets about 10 letters a day from colleges and universities about available scholarships or why she should pick their institute. Toss it in the back. On top of that I get my own fair share of junk mail. Toss that in the back, too. Then, there’s leftover plastic and paper from the fast food we get all too often (who has time to cook these days?). What else is in the trash heap I call my car? Oh, empty plastic bottles. Lots of empty plastic bottles. We drink a lot of water and soda in that car.

Somehow, none of this stuff, not the mail nor the bags nor the bottles nor the balled-up napkins, seems to make it from my car to the place it belongs…the garbage can! So what ends up happening is whenever someone has to get into my car I have to apologize like an idiot and blurt out something dismissive like “Oh, ignore the mess!” as I sweep away enough of the debris so they can sit down without making a loud crunching sound. It’s bad enough when I have to shamefully clear space for a friend, but it’s even worse when a family member, like my aforementioned Dad, has to get into the car for some reason. My fear when he returned from his foray into the confines of my precariously overburdened vehicle was that he likely thought something along the lines of, “Is this what I’ve taught my daughter to be?” Why yes, Dad. This is me in all my glory.

It’s so bad I’m not even sure someone could ride in the backseat if they had to. Not without doing a massive cleanup effort first. At the very least I’d have to shove the mountain of refuse to the side and whoever’s unlucky enough to be stuck in the back would have to lean on the pile lest it consume them like a tidal wave if I take a turn too sharp.

Peppered throughout the mess are useful things, things I need. Things that just haven’t made it into the house yet but that I will eventually, most definitely need to use. Whenever I have to find one of these things I end up tossing litter over my shoulders while I swear up and down that tomorrow will be the day I finally get around to cleaning the car once and for all. It’s always tomorrow. And tomorrow never seems to come. The intention is there, it’s just the follow-through that’s lacking.

Recently, my daughter and I were driving to the sole convenience store in our rinky-dink little town. We were laughing because, just like every night after 8pm, the roads were pretty much deserted. It’s like the town rolls up the streets at dusk and a curfew goes into effect because nighttime is when the zombies come out — you know how they do. Oh, and in a complete and utter horror story mash-up, I must say that with the way this store is situated, when we leave and I look out across the parking lot to the other side of the main street, I fully expect to see Michael Myers standing there, under the street light, his hockey mask gleaming in the faded yellowish glow…or is that Jason over there? Why hello, Jason. Excuse me while I freak out a bit over here. That’s how creepy my town is after 8pm.

So anyway, on this particular night, after we were done in the store and getting back in the car, my daughter reminds me to look in the backseat just to make sure no zombies or axe murderers are hiding back there. Cause you never know. It’s always a good idea to look in the backseat. I mean, we’ve all seen the movies. We know how that ends.

Then I realized that even if a zombie or axe murderer or kidnapper wanted to hide in the back, they wouldn’t be able to hide. Too much junk! He’d be flailing around back there like a kid in a ball pit at Chuck E. Cheese, only noisier. At the very least, his presence would be quickly detected by the loud rustling, crinkling, and crunching from all of the discarded papers and plastic bottles. It would be very similar to the old Looney Tunes cartoons where all of the mousetraps or tacks are set out for the hapless victim…you just couldn’t miss one if you tried and hitting one would start a domino effect where you landed on another and another and another. It would give even the most stealthy of zombies away in a heartbeat…okay, well, ummm…maybe not a heartbeat since they’re zombies…but it would be pretty damn fast, let me tell you.

So, that’s the bright side I’m choosing to focus on. My car has its own handy-dandy alarm system that I installed myself one piece of junk mail at a time. It’s a rather cheap alarm, but damn if it’s not effective. And since the “trash” has been re-purposed as an anti-theft device, technically I’m also recycling at the same time. Go me!

Soooo…we’re clever, smart, frugal, AND most importantly – safe.  A win-win situation…unless you’re a zombie.

Grocery Store Madness (Or, Is the Zombie Apocalypse Upon Us Already!?)

Not long ago I went to the grocery store with my daughter and I could swear that news of the Zombie Apocalypse had just broken.  And I was worried as I crossed the parking lot because frankly, I’m just not ready.  Once those sliding glass doors inviting us inside noiselessly parted to allow us entry, I was suffocated in the full-blown frenzy that was housed within those walls. Pushing my cart through the aisles was like playing a game of Rollerball. All that was missing was an announcer on a stage, columns of flames shooting up behind him, bellowing, “Welcome to my Pleasuredome!” After navigating through the lanes and getting all our food items without suffering any serious injuries, I saw that the real madness was waiting for us in the checkout lines.

Now this particular grocery store has 9 different check-out lines. Want to wager a guess as to how many were manned by cashier personnel, given of course the mad-house state the store was in?  Three. Yep. Three.  The lines wound all the way back into the aisles. Did we accidentally stumble into a buy-one-get-fifty free promotion? It was like a Black Friday sale at Walmart.

just one line meandering around and into a loop

just one line meandering around and into a loop
doesn’t do it justice at all

Sensing the waves of consumers crashing their gates, another checkout line opened up to alleviate some of the stress. While I should have been first for that line (since I had obviously been waiting longer than anyone behind me) it instead turned into a full-on logistics operation trafficked by the woman behind me who had apparently appointed herself as the line coordinator. She immediately started organizing the queue. “You go, then you go, then I’ll go, then you go,” she said. Normally this effort at streamlining operations would be commendable except that she completely forgot about us. Or ignored us. She was the bouncer at the velvet entry rope and my daughter and I weren’t on the list. Not surprisingly this pissed me off.

Sure, I could’ve just gone over to that line and made a scene since I was in the right (and in a mood), but it just didn’t seem worth it. Let everyone else act like the end of the world is approaching. I didn’t want to be part of the rabid tenacity that skewed rhyme and reason all for a dozen eggs. It ended well enough. No one was killed, the zombies didn’t come, and all was tranquil when we made it outside again.

I’m proud that my patience and my sometimes sharp tongue (okay, okay, no laughing from the peanut gallery over there) were held in check. It reminded me that sometimes the fight just isn’t worth it. Know when to pick your battles is an adage I’m trying to follow. Saving five minutes in the grocery store isn’t one that I’m willing to fight and recognizing that (for once) made me feel pretty good.