The Bathtub, A Cautionary Tale

It started simply enough, my lifelong love of water. Water in any form, rain, snow, ice, steam, droplets, torrents, falls, even puddles give me a little thrill. I love how it looks, how it smells, and the curl it gives my hair.

Rainstorms were few and far between, growing up in Idaho, but when they hit I’d run into the deepest parts of the tree farm and get lost in the rain until the last drop moved on in its Easterly direction. I’d arrive back on my front doorstep and find myself hurried into the bathroom for a warm bath. A perfect day.

Fast forward to me as a responsible adult.

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The fourth time I didn’t, technically, drop my phone in the tub, just kind of dipped the top of its head in. Turns out that pissed it off far more than the three previous baptisms. By then I knew exactly what to do and was scrambling to shut it down. It was like watching my life flash before my eyes. The screen flashed pictures, websites, album covers and memes at me in lightning speed. Mocking my slippery fingers, it defied my attempts to shut it down until it was good and finished. Then in that glorious moment when I saw the shut down banner, when I thought I could save it one last time, it committed suicide. Right there in my own hand. It was heartbreaking.

I waited overnight, then tried a litte more CPR in the morning, but it wasn’t to be. Now, I realize that this is probably not much more than an annoyance for most people. They’d run across town to the (enter favorite cell phone company here) store and have their phone replaced. Well, I got my phone when I lived in Pittsburgh, and I’ve never changed carriers. My carrier doesn’t have a store in North Dakota. But guess what, that’s ok! I’ve waited three days for a new phone before, and I can do it again. I got online and looked longingly at that flashy red phone then ordered the refurbished silver phone like the responsible adult I am.

Two days later I checked on my phone which had been shipped according to the website, only to find that the new shipping date was Aug. 25-Sept. 8. WHAT?!? I checked the calendar, yes it was still Aug 14th. No, no way was this going to work. I made a desperate call to my carrier, but in the end all they could do was cancel my order. The phones are shipped by the phone company.

“Jeff, I can’t go without a phone till September!” I exclaimed again, as if just saying it a certain number of times, plus remembering the operator’s name would be the magical combination to instant gratification. It wasn’t. I fumed about it a day or two longer, looking at the website trying to find something that would work but knowing only one thing would do.

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Some of you might be surprised I didn’t send out announcements celebrating the arrival of my new phone. I thought about it. He really is the most gorgeous thing I’ve ever owned. I went without a phone for almost three weeks while I saved my pennies to splurge.

In those three weeks I learned a thing or two about myself.

  • I can wait for something I want bad enough
  • I like not being at everyone’s beck and call
  • I can drive across town without a phone and live
  • It’s amazing how many people sit together and just look at their phones. Amazing.
  •  I sleep so much better with no phone in my room
  • I missed my phone more than I miss a lot of people
  • I spend a lot of time on my phone, reading, playing, spying, stressing, banking, perving…you name it, I do it with my phone.
  • I can live without my phone

I CAN live without a cell phone but I don’t want to.

It’s better now.

Trust me.

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The Ideal Life

Two years ago when I stepped my newly determined foot on the pathway to the cure, I kept reading this phrase, it will get worse before it gets better.

At the time, I was feeling great. I had just started a detox program with my chiropractor, I was doing Pilates 3 or 4 times a week, and seeing amazing results. I was amazed and probably said something like, this is so easy, or, I’ve finally got a handle on it! Because all of a sudden the other shoe dropped.

A job was lost. Money dried up. After a few amazing months I had to stop everything, and try to control what I could at home. The anxiety that had become my constant companion was winning the day. I couldn’t run fast enough. The stone was crumbling beneath my feet. Despite the fact I never want to do that again, it was not the first time it had happened and I fear it won’t be the last.

You see, few things silence Carly more completely than stress. I can feel it even now, riding between my shoulder blades, gnawing on my spine. The weight of it presses me down so, that it’s all I can do to get through a day, and crawl to my bed. When I sit at the computer it whispers evil truths into my ear and binds the happy stream of words with the chains of my own idealism. Anxiety slithers along the back of my neck leaving shocking kisses that stop my heart. All of that is just distraction, it’s the first delicate tendrils of misgiving threading their way through my vision of tomorrow that do the most damage. I understand now, why she apologized when she call me an Idealist.

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I’m so dang tired!

You’re probably thinking I’m going to dish on something straight out of your Facebook feed.

Nope. I’d be crazy to weigh in on any of that crap.

I mean, I am tired. All the time. It started towards the end of April, my student reading her book out loud to me. I knew something was off when she opened to the first page and looked up over the rim of her pink glasses, “Don’t fall asleep!” She told me.  We both laughed, but she shook her finger and said, “I’m not kidding! Listen!” Two seconds later I jerked my head upright just in time to get another look over bubblegum pink glasses.

I wrote it off to stress, to work, to worry and declared I’d think about it tomorrow. Here it is August and I’m still dealing with it. GRRR You’d think I’d just pick up the phone, call the Doc and head in for some blood work. Well, I did. They can’t get me in till December 6th. Now I’m staring down four months of kindergarteners and I’m already exhausted. What is a woman to do? I’ll tell you. You pull out the voodoo, just like mom taught me, back in the day. I did some muscle testing. It’s my Adrenal Glands, my muscles tell me. I’ve ordered some pills and I’ll let you know in September how well my muscles know me.

See, now you’re judging. How do I know? I did it every day of my life when someone would call on the phone asking mom to test for them. Yes, she was well-known for her, um, ability. The most people know about me is that I don’t love doctors. I went the rounds with a few of them in Pittsburgh. I kept going in with, I acknowledge, vague symptoms and every single visit I head the same thing. “We can’t find a thing wrong with you. Would you like some anti-depressants?”

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Louise! If I had a dollar for every time I heard that. It took years of fruitless appointments for me to start asking myself, “What the hell’s wrong with you?” I’ve said that everyday this summer as I’ve sat down at my keyboard, only to be woken up a few moments later by the sound of my own allergies rattling in my throat. It’s beyond annoying, and I’ll think I’ve got a handle on it and the next week I’m back to square one. It’s made writing just hellish this summer.

The only upside, I’ve spent hours and hours in that vague place between almost asleep and totally asleep. I’ve some killer story ideas in my notebook, and as life pushes back up into Drive, I wait impatiently for the day my adrenals are ready to get off the bench and keep me awake at my keyboard.

3 Times Your Teen Will Talk

Parents everywhere love to complain about their lock-jawed, teen offspring. I’m not one of them. I survived round one of The Crying Years and I, for one, was more than ready when he subsided into nonchalant silence. I loved it when he disappears into his room or the bathroom for hours on end. I’ve spent 17 years listening to his voice, I’m good. These tips are for the rest of you. These three times are pretty much guaranteed to bring on the talk.IMG_1422

Your teen will always need to talk to you if you are rushing to the car. Whether it’s a warning light that flashes in his eyeball like a dying Terminator or just the sound of a door opening, your teen will have something desperate to impart. Yup, might be the fact you are out of Oreos, could be that he needs a suit for prom this weekend, or perhaps he’s just hoping you have time to stop at 5 Guys  for his favorite specially made burger. I’ve learned to pad my departures by a few minutes to allow him to wander by with his special requests. I like hearing a mostly grown boy say, “Thank you, mommy.”

Another vital time to plan for almost-adult conversation is any time you are alone. There is nothing like a Saturday morning with the girls still gone on sleepovers, and just me, my coffee, and my computer, to bring out the Hi Dottie in my teen. As I wait for my coffee mug to be filled, I’ll feel a head coming to rest on my shoulder. That isn’t the start of the conversation. After he’s made himself a bowl of cereal in my eight cup mixing bowl, turned on his PS4, and plugged his headphones into his controller, I sit down at my computer but don’t bother booting it up. As soon as I’m seated, the questions begin.

What are you doing today?

Where is everybody?

Can you tell the girls to be this quiet every weekend?

There’s a pause, but I don’t pick up my mug, I know he’s not finished yet. I scroll idly through a news feed. The part where he tells me his plan is about to begin.

“I was thinking I’d go to the lake today with Dyl an his parents. They’re going to camp but I’d just go up and back today.”

I nod, “Okay, that sounds good.”

“I was at Dvorak and saw a car that would be a good one for me. It’s a Mercedes C-class, I think it’s around $20,000.”

I look back at him, sprawled on the couch. “You can have yours after I get mine.”

“You don’t like Mercedes.” He says.

“Exactly.” I agree.

He rolls his eyes, putting his headphones on.

The one other time a teenager is guaranteed to want to chew the fat is when you are so exhausted off your ass you’d have a hard time identifying him as your child. That’s right, 0 dark thirty. If you really want to know what’s going on in that head, this is when you’re going to hear it. In fact, just last night I got an ear full from my own teen. At 2:45AM.

You read it right.

In the wee hours of last night, my son decided to ask my opinion on him getting a “small tattoo of a soccer ball or something, on his leg.”

“Really?” I don’t think I sounded as blurry as I felt. “Why?”

He then took the next fifteen, twenty minutes to explain that he thought it would be fun. Here where we live you can get one at 16 with a parent’s consent. He’d been talking about it with his best friend Dylan who also thought it was cool. “Britt freaked out though. She said if I did that she wouldn’t go out with me anymore. What the heck? I think she’s totally overreacting.”

“Totally. Overreacting.” I say, wondering if I heard him right.

“So, what do you think?”

“I think you’ll be 18 in October. That gives you some time to study up on tattoos and decide what you want to do. You’re dad will not be down with this at all. Also, you should think about placement and being able to cover it up for work or other places. I expect you’ll read about the dangers of it too.”

“Yeah, you know I’ll do that stuff. But what do you think about it?”

I glance at the atomic clock on the wall above the computer reading 3:05AM. “Did I tell you about the time, in Hawaii, when I drove Jen to get her ankle tattoo? I was in college; I was curious; I also didn’t want to do something I’d regret later….”

 

 

 

 

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A Request

In late May of this year, Sue posted about the Liebster Awards. Here’s where I’ll admit I have no idea what all these awards I see are about, don’t know who starts them, and honestly don’t really give them a second thought.

That said, SueBC very kindly commented that she would like to simply read my answers and no need to do all the other stuff. I filed that bit away, saving the handy list of questions for a rainy, lazy summer day. Which today is. Here we go Sue…

 

What is the best movie you have seen in the past year?

Wonder Woman without a doubt. Though Thor Ragnarok has yet to be released or The Last Jedi…I’ve been waiting for Wonder Woman and I was not disappointed!662e5bb4fb7a33893e23e7b6012ab274

 

What is the most memorable live theatre and/or concert experience you’ve had in the past year?

LOL…..do you really have to ask? I’ve never been to a concert, like a band or Garth Brooks or anything like that, and we don’t get much Broadway here, so I’m going to go with the only live theatre I went to last year. My mom is rolling in her grave!  4

 

What is the best book you’ve read in the past year?

Well a quick scroll through my Kindle shows me lots of self-help titles this year. Blah. One interesting little gem has pinged my radar several times. Joey W Hill’s Branded Sanctuary.  I don’t know if it’s the panic-stricken nights of the delightful heroine Chloe or the quiet, steadfast, sizzling sex appeal of Brendan, I find myself paging through this story incredibly often.

Chloe has always been a creature of joy and laughter. Since a brutal attack nearly a year ago, the trauma she experienced has gotten worse. She has started hiding from her life, even putting up walls between herself and those she cares about most. During a panic attack one night, she impulsively calls a number that she’s had for many months. Chloe met Brendan at her boss’s wedding. With confidence and seduction, he easily steps into the role of helping her manage her fear. By the end of the long call, they’ve indulged in some serious flirtation and mind-blowing phone sex—and she’s feeling things she’s buried for too long.
The problem is that Brendan is the perfect male submissive—and Chloe isn’t wired for the D/s lifestyle. While their attraction is undeniable, Chloe doesn’t know if she can be everything Brendan needs. As a submissive, Brendan would never ask her to be something she’s not—even if it will break both of their hearts to turn away from how they feel about each other.

Joey’s been doing new covers but I love this old one so if you’re tempted to read, click here for the new cover kindle version.

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What is your favourite photo of the past week on your mobile phone and are you willing to share it?

My foot warmer when I’m writing. This was a time she snuck up on the bed for a little Sunday nap. Little Luna.

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What is your favourite photo ever of your favourite actor or actress?

 

What songs are at the top of your playlist right now?

Some of these really show my age….

Can’t Stop the Feeling – Justin Timberlake

This is what you came for – Calvin Harris

Cheap Thrills – Sia

I surrender – Billy Gillman

I drove all night – Celine Dion

 

What is the most recent TV show that you binge-watched?

Last Tango in Halifax

LOVE LOVE Loved it! I adore watching Nicola Walker and I’ve never forgiven Spooks for killing her off in the bleeping last (second to last?) episode.

 

What time of day do you usually write and/or blog and why?

My brain lights up at 3pm but I don’t usually get to write till after dinner…..dang kids.

 

Does your avatar have special significance and if so, what is that significance?

My avatar is a picture of me from two summers ago. It does have special meaning to me. It’s one of two selfies that I took late one night in bed. I’d had my hair cut and gone to the work of curling it and decided it should be documented! They were taken for a specific person and when I look at them I see how blasted happy I am. The quality isn’t amazing (pre-iphone) but I consider them pictures of my soul. Here is the other.

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In your real life, how open are you about the fact that you have a blog?

Not very.

I struggle writing if I get too wound up in who’s reading. I do have some family members that read the blog and sometimes it ties me up a bit. It’s a battle I keep fighting.

What are the boundaries for you in terms of how much of your real life you share on your blog?

I think that if you read my blog you know quite a bit more about me than anyone who actually knows me, bar one or two people. I feel quite at home being myself here. What I generally won’t share here is anything relatively current about my kids, my political views, and anything very religious. Though I know I have ranted a bit about the way I was raised, I’m not interested in blogging about religion.

Hm, why am I blogging? lol

 

Hot Hot Summer

I can tell from the sluggish nature of a lot of blogs that summer has well and truly arrived. We’ve all decamped to the nearest water feature and ……

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well, that’s what the girls are doing.

Along with a little of this.

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I am doing this.

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With quite a bit of this, on the side.

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I’ll also admit to being glued to this like there’s no tomorrow.

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It’s my summer reading book stack, my track down the boy app, my where is the closest ice cream map. Amazing freaking tool.

Ahhh, Summer!

 

Independence Day

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With genuine apology to Caty and Helen! This just made me giggle.

In general, I don’t talk, tweet, post, or blog about politics in America.

I do my civic duties, I try to be the best member of society I know how, and I always take my turn and vote my conscience.

I am proud to be an American. I love my country, and the blessings she has surrounded me with. I love the opportunities that abound here, for me, and my children. I love the beauty of this country, the hope it embodies. I feel truly blessed to call the United States of America my home.

Happy Independence Day!

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