Not overly impressed with the “big move,” Rufus’ opinion on our new place is simple: “If Mom’s here, I’m good.”
Not overly impressed with the “big move,” Rufus’ opinion on our new place is simple: “If Mom’s here, I’m good.”
So, the little salt and pepper shakers have been a matched set for 58 years now. 58 years. 5.8. I mean, I don’t even know what to say for my parents’ anniversary this year … it’s not often I’m at a loss for words, as you all surely know by now. The lack of poetic flourishes notwithstanding, I’m awestruck at the feat – I mean, 58 years! But also their obvious devotion, which has been on full display even more recently. Oh sure, sometimes they seem more like Tom and Jerry than Ozzie and Harriet, but the love binding them together for all these years remains a force to be reckoned with. And no doubt the best is yet to be.
As you can see, Rufus is very tired. What you may not know, and certainly can’t really tell from this very badly taken photo, is that he’s exhausted from a long day of protecting hearth and home from … mail. Yes. Villainous mail. While I was out and about doing human things, Rufus was at home tearing up every bit of mail his snaggly little teeth could reach. You can see some of his work on the floor by his bed … the rest is under his blanket, which is why his blanket is so puffed up. It’s not that the blanket is resplendent in and of itself — it’s the shredded stash of destroyed bills, correspondence, and sales papers under the blanket that make it so poofy.
So, here’s to Rufus the Invincible, my knight in shining armor. Saving me, once again, from the evils of capitalism.
Somewhere in my internet excursions, I came across this little gem as a profile for an internet dating site:
The first thing I had to do was to check and see if I’ve been sleep-posting to dating sites again. The second thing I needed to do was to install security cameras to catch whoever is spying on me, because really, this is just plain creepy. The third thing I did was to ponder this poignant missive, and wonder why there is rarely any truth to online dating profiles. As a service to you, my loyal readers and followers, I have decided to create a list of common dating profile phrases and define them for you. You’re welcome in advance.
Ok, I may seem a little harsh, but if you must know, my own online dating stories have been pretty much epic fails. From the guy in the questionable hairpiece (I swear it was moving) to the one who claimed he was 6’4” and was actually a circus midget in real life (no really, he was in the circus, born and raised), I have been stalked, the recipient of highly inappropriate pictures (which I didn’t ask for, I’ll have you know), and otherwise disappointed to the point that I hardly even change out of sweatpants for dates anymore. I have the escape text pre-programmed into my phone, and I carry mace in my purse. Not the spray; an actual mace.
What if online profiles just said what they mean? Read this one I recently posted on a dating site:
I’m just putting this profile up to get likes on the cute picture of me and my dog. I hate to go anywhere, and doing things is usually too much of a bother. My main profile picture is from eighty years ago when I was a cheerleader in high school. I may have gained five, ten, a hundred and ninety pounds since then. I hate people. I especially hate people anywhere near me. Ever. I enjoy the quiet comfort of my couch and a healthy dinner of chocolate cake and Captain Crunch. I snort when I laugh and have been known to belch at a funeral. I think I look sexy in my fuzzy sweatshirt with the coffee stain on the sleeve. Ok, on the sleeves. Ok, on the sleeves and collar. I think I look sexy in my fuzzy sweatshirt covered in coffee stains and chocolate sauce. I really want to find someone who loves me unconditionally and gives me the attention I need while leaving me alone 99% of the time. If you want to get back to me, that’s fine. I don’t really care either way. If we end up going on a date I’ll have to get dressed and leave the house, so it’s okay if you don’t contact me. In fact, don’t bother. I’m kind of a bitch anyway.
Still waiting on the right swipes to start rolling in. They’re coming though, any day now.
What if there was a dating site that matched you with pet profiles? What do you think? Wow, I wasn’t even thinking THAT, you guys are sick. Seriously. Ewww.
What I meant was, you could look at their profile and see their pets and connect through your love of animals. They could call it Puppy Love, and the motto would be:
“Who cares about the owner, check out this adorable kitten.”
It’s impossible to be disappointed with the outcome of any date that included a fantastic pet encounter as well. Heck, I’d suffer through a bad date just to hang out with a kitten or pupper. You just can’t go wrong meeting a cute bundle of fluff. The guy (or gal) might be an asshole, but hey, at least you met a new doggo! Can you imagine the break-up? Yeah, so, I don’t think this is going to work. You’re an asshole. But I can still visit Caden the Corgi, right? Right!?
Yesterday. Whew. What a long day, for all of us.
Dad had the biopsy on his lungs yesterday. To say I was nervous and afraid is an understatement.
I decided to tag along to keep you company. You’re my mom, but you’re so much more. My friend, my confidant, my rock. And dad? He has always, always been there for me, no matter what. So of course, I was going to be there for him.
While thinking of you both last night, after all was said and done, I took a moment to reflect on the differences that separate us, and also those that connect us, as they do in any family. Politics? Please. Social issues? Ugh, no way. I have no doubt that you feel the same. I mean, I got my attitude from somewhere, right? Yet, through it all, I love you. More than you will ever know. You’ve done so much over the years for me; I want to be there for you like you are always there for me.
This is not to toot my horn, so to speak. Instead, it’s meant to offer up a heartfelt apology.
Yeah, I choked. Sure, I’m great at the lighthearted stuff. I can gossip about the mailman and tell terrible jokes with the best of them in an attempt – perhaps, a misguided attempt – to keep your mind off things. I can distract you from the bigger picture, if only for a little while, with any number of sarcastic and witty (in my own eyes, at least) observances. I can get super-charged and angry on your behalf; whether it’s at people or situations, I’ll gladly take it on to save you the stress or heartache. But the serious stuff? I’m at a loss.
They never taught this stuff in school.
Mom and dad, I wanted to say the right things. I wanted to do the right things, to offer comfort, hope, and a bit of light in the darkness. I just am so ridiculously backwards and awkward in serious situations that I don’t know what to say or do. It’s almost funny. Except, it’s not.
I’m sorry I’m not good at small talk or knowing what to say in a painful, frighteningly serious situation. And I was scared. Just like you were. I’m sorry I’m not better at comforting you; I truly wish I knew how.
I hope you both know that I love you more than anything in this world. I will always be there for you, no matter how awkward or backward I may be at the reassurances and encouragements and comforting phrases.
My heart feels it, oh boy does my heart feel it; if only my mouth could say it.
I’ve heard so many people repeat the old adage, “Home is where the heart is.” Home is also where my Oreo cookies and Doritos are, along with my collection of dust bunnies and dirty laundry. But what exactly do people mean when they say, “Home is where the heart is?”
I feel a sense of home in places where I’ve never actually lived. To me, West Virginia is home because of all the fond memories I have of spending summers there with my family. My grandparents just felt like home. Going off the main road and into the holler, I was home. As strange as it might sound, I also feel a sense of kinship and nostalgia for places I’ve never even visited, like Ireland. Perhaps more moving (for me at least), I feel a strong sense of calm and peace when my kids are both home for dinner or a holiday celebration. They are home to me. I feel that at that time, my home is heaven on earth; I feel that the world could collapse outside the four walls of my physical house and the three of us would be just fine.
The other day I was out with my daughter, and she started feeling sick. She wanted to go home. Now home wasn’t going to be a magical place where she would immediately start feeling better, and she knew that. She just needed to be in her own space, her own place, and the one spot in the world where she felt comfortable. It isn’t the brick and mortar home that she needed, it was the feeling that she needed. At that point, she needed to be on her couch, surrounded by cats, and the things she knows and loves. This house, or rather, the feeling that it evokes, is our home. My daughter doesn’t much care for our current house. Neither do I, if I’m being honest. We don’t like the location and we feel we have never truly belonged here. Even though we are moving in the somewhat near future, this is still our spot on the map, our space, our home.
I remember on 9/11, my now-ex-husband and I were out and about (trying to find a computer repair shop, actually) … I think most adults remember where they were that day. As the tragedy unfolded, all I wanted was to be home. It just so happened that home was … my parents. Never mind that I was married with kids and a house of my own, I needed to be with my family. My husband never understood that, and in fact, he even got angry with me for wanting us to be with my folks and not just “depending” on him. His sense of home never included extended family (mine or his); he always viewed extended family as “outsiders.” On the long list of reasons we are no longer married, this one is certainly in the top five.
I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately. “Home,” not 9/11. What makes a home a home? Home is where …
I’m not sure that “Home is where the heart is” means the same to everyone. To some, it is the feeling of the actual house, welcoming and warm through its doors. To others, it’s family and friends, or pets, and a favorite old movie you’ve seen hundreds of times. It’s a feeling of nostalgia, of calm, of peace, and of knowing that no matter how rotten you feel physically or mentally, there is a space where you can be free to feel however you are feeling.
To me, it’s a combination of all these things that make me feel like I am home now, and I will be home wherever I wander next.
Exactly 1,792 years ago, in the Central Italian town of Terni, a little boy was born who would grow up to be the subject of over 150 million greeting cards a year, second only to those sent at Christmas. His name was Valentinus of Terni. As an adult he was quite good at converting the Romans to Christianity. This didn’t sit too well with the Roman Emperor Claudius. When the 43 year-old Valentinus politely refused the Emperor’s suggestion to stop converting Romans, Claudius had him beheaded on February 14th, 269. Ahhh. Good times.
And that’s why on February 14th of every year we celebrate Valentine’s Day by giving flowers, candy, jewelry, and greeting cards to those we love. Yeah, I’m sorry. I just don’t see the connection. It actually wasn’t until the Middle Ages that people started celebrating Valentine’s Day. Now, here we are, centuries later, with the notion of gifting our loved ones with chocolates and over-sized bears a part of our cultural fabric, except for that brief, yet fun, period when insults were all the rage.
It starts in kindergarten. First, making a little construction-paper and doily covered mailbox to hold all our valentines – that was my favorite part, I’ll have to admit. Then exchanging little cards with each other, the teacher making sure that everyone got one. In grade school, we’d make construction-paper red and white hearts for our parents and a select few of our more crush-worthy classmates. In junior high (this was in the years before “middle school” became a thing), we became much more selective, and secretive, when acknowledging Valentine’s Day with classmates. With high school (at least, my high school) came the single roses or carnations sold by the PTA for $2 a piece…flowers that would be delivered to the classrooms at some point in the day for all our fellow students to behold and admire.
As adults, we moved on to more serious gift giving. Last year, Americans spent $19.7 billion on Valentine’s Day gifts. I’m pretty sure that the majority of that money was spent on gifts to soothe ruffled feathers, hold on to troubled relationships, or for relationship “prospecting.” But hey, whatever moves the economy along and provides for 50% off candy the day after, I’m all for it. At least, the 50% off candy part.
As for me, I’m spending Valentine’s Day as a single person this year. Believe or not, I find it quite liberating. Single adults have been emancipated from what I call “The Great Valentine’s Day Duty Dash.” You’ve all probably witnessed this great phenomenon. It is a double tidal wave of frantic people flooding CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid, and 7-11 stores across the country, desperately looking for something (preferably not too expensive) that they can give a significant other to celebrate a holiday that somehow was able to sneak up on them.
The first wave arrives on the evening of February 13th. They look like a horde of locusts stripping a Kansas wheat field. Candy, cards, cheap perfume, wine, flowers, teddy bears, candles, Gillette Venus shaving kits.
The second wave arrives around 5:00 PM on February 14th. Rush hour. The stores have desperately tried to restock the shelves, but not much is left. People begin to realize that if they don’t come home with a Valentine’s Day gift, they might as well just not go home. When they discover that the last of the Snickers bars and My Little Pony Lip Gloss are gone, they fall to the floor and begin flipping about like tuna on the deck of a fishing boat.
As a single person, you don’t have to prove anything to anyone. The angst of buying the “right gift,” or any gift, is gone. The decisions about the appropriateness or cost of a gift are non-issues. After spending more years than I would like to admit stressing out over being faulted on my gift choices – as well as my reaction to gifts given to me, I’m glad to have a break in the routine. When I was younger, I didn’t think it would ever be possible, but my experiences have dimmed the shine of cupids and hearts and hastily thrown together reservations at that candlelit Italian restaurant. And that’s okay too. That life was not all it was cracked up to be, trust me, and no amount of Valentine’s Day pageantry would’ve fixed it. I’ve since found that what I want in a relationship is something deeper, something real, something that doesn’t need to be glossed over with decorative red and pink trappings to keep it afloat. Now, I have different romantic goals.
When my soulmate and I do connect on Valentine’s Day? It won’t be with heart-shaped boxes of candy and cards and cute stuffed animals or a reservation at that exclusive, yet somehow still overly crowded, restaurant with a fixed holiday menu. It will be with whiskey and action movies and dancing in the living room. And ice cream. Or cheesecake. I’m good either way.