Monday, January 23, 2006

When In Doubt, Throw It Out And Other Highlights of My Month So Far

~~~Someone, whose privacy I have vowed to protect so I can't mention her by name, but if you're really curious, e-mail me or give me a call and we can make fun of her behind her back, called me over the weekend for some advice regarding a jar of homemade sloppy joe sauce, which was maybe a little old. Thinking it might be as much as three years old, in which case I wouldn't eat it, I said, "When's it from?"

She said, "It's from 1993."

Okay. Even if the sauce were not awash in harmful microorganisms, even it were perfectly safe to eat, I would think there would be some serious deterioration in quality. I mean, if after twelve-plus years in a dust-covered jar in a musty corner of the pantry (or basement or wherever one keeps a jar of sloppy joe sauce for 12 years!) without benefit of the industrial strength preservatives found in store-bought canned goods, it still tasted exactly the same as it did when it was brand new, how good could it possibly have been to begin with?

~~~A friend who owns several rental properties around town was running an ad that specifically said, "No pets." Imagine his delight in receiving three seperate calls in an 18-hour period in which the caller casually mentioned, "I have a cat." We're all aware that many pet owners, myself included, consider their pets members of the family and it couldn't be clearer that most cats do not consider themselves pets, but let's remember that by the strict definition, cats are, in fact, technically pets.

~~~While working on a display window for Valentine's Day, I put a strand of heart lights inside a reproduction Victorian bird cage. K, a guy who sometimes helps out at the shop, but who is mostly a Shop Groupie (one of a group of colorful people who would make great Blog Material if I ever get around to it), was watching me with a raised eyebrow. "And just what is the significance of hearts in a cage? Is your heart a captive of love?"

Gosh, I almost wish I'd been clever enough to think of that, but no, as I told K: "The significance is I am lazy, the bird cage takes up a lot of space and cramming the hearts in it tied it in with the holiday theme with almost no effort on my part."

The window, despite my admitted laziness, has gotten some compliments, but with its white lace, gauzy red tulle, and gold accessories, it turned out a little too Best Little Whorehouse In Texas for my taste.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

A Change Would Do You Good... says Sheryl Crow and, as it happens, Mr. High School. He's become something of a personal life coach--like Dr. Phil, but nowhere near as smug and annoying with the added bonus that I respect his opinions way more than I do Dr. Phil's.

In the time we've been back in touch, Mr. High School has made some changes of his own. He quit his job at a place he'd been working--underpaid and underappreciated--for almost 13 years. He's now in a new job, which he loves and where they truly respect and appreciate him. He has been challenged in this new position in ways he hadn't been for years. He's become an enthusiastic proponent of change--swears by it as a positive thing.

We have a lot in common, Mr. High School and I, but this isn't one of the things. Change--even when it's my idea and even when it's a change for the better--is Big Scary. It can be overwhelming and I tend to resist change with all my resources, even when embracing it might be for the best, or at the very least, more energy efficient than digging my heels in against the inevitable.

Hubby can vouch for this trait of mine. Some of our most heated trivial arguments* are about rearranging the furniture. If it were entirely up to me, every single thing would be exactly where we put it the day we moved in here (eight and a half years ago). If it were entirely up to Hubby, the tinkering (he prefers "improving") would never end. As a result of our ongoing tug-of-war, our house has a look and feel that's a hybrid of "lived in" and "just moved in." While we've clearly been here a while--as evidenced by the clutter--nothing seems quite finished or settled.

As is my geeky habit, I've given a lot of thought to where Hubby and I picked up our respective attitudes toward change--he craves it; I shun it. Not surprisingly, our childhoods were very different in regards to change. After the age of 5, Hubby lived in the same house in the same tiny town in New Hampshire while I bounced from place to place.

Maybe we're all hard-wired to certain traits and attitudes and we'd have both ended up at opposite ends of this spectrum regardless of our circumstances growing up, but I sometimes think of our adult lives as prolonged rebellions against our childhoods. He was stuck in one place, with no choice in the matter. I was yanked from place to place, with no choice in the matter. Now we have a choice and we're making it, stubbornly, logic or what might actually be best for us be damned.

So, I'm thinking I should start trying to see change in a new--more reasonable--light. Maybe Mr. High School was right: change can be a good thing. I'm just glad he doesn't have Internet access--I wouldn't want him to see this post and get all smug and Dr. Phil on me.

*If you are now (or have ever been) in a long-term relationship, you know exactly how heated a "trivial" argument can be. If, however, you've never been in a long-term relationship, you probably think "heated trivial argument" is an oxymoron and any explanation would serve only to confuse you further and perhaps make you take a vow of chastity and then I would feel guilty that you ended up a hermit all because of an offhand comment in a blog, so let's just skip it.

Friday, January 13, 2006

An Answer To Your Financial Prayers

So my five-year-old niece was here the other morning, toting an adorable baby blue corduroy purse. She says, "Guess what? I have real money in my purse! Because, you know, money grows in purses."

No, I didn't know that--maybe that's been my problem all along. I've always been more of the wallet-you-can-stuff-a-few-essentials-into-and-tuck-under-your-arm type. Considering the lack of fiscal growth in the wallet I do lug around, I've got to assume that it's time to switch accessories. Or maybe the wallet would work, too, if only I had the right fertilizer?

That would be a truly miraculous feat even for Miracle-Gro, wouldn't it?

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Perspective, Courtesy of the Spiral Notebook

I had a crappy day yesterday--not for any reason, really, except for maybe the realization that I was at work on a Monday, when the two previous Mondays had been spent relaxing (ha--have I mentioned I have three teenage sons and an eleven-year-old daughter?) at home. It was drizzly and rainy and while nothing went spectacularly wrong, nothing was quite right either.

Sometimes when I've got the crankies for no reason, I like to dip into the old Spiral Notebook journal that I've kept since I was fifteen. Here's the entry I stumbled upon last night--at the time, Son-One was four, Son-Two was two-and-a-half, and Son-Three had just turned one. I was a few months away from returning to the workforce, but employed full-time tending three boys, whose sole job was attempting to drive their mother insane. Oh, we also had an 8-week old border collie puppy...

Wednesday, August 19, 1992

11:08 AM--There was no toilet paper this morning when I got out of bed. I thought maybe it was the TP Fairy, but I looked everywhere and I guess she forgot to leave the money. Son-Three's diaper was full (of record-breaking, rancid, green shit). My bra situation has gone from desperate to hopeless. I could find two this morning, one had dog shit on it and the other had a gaping hole in the left cup. I washed out the second one and offered the first as a sacrifice to the gods in charge of this day. I hope they appreciate it--it was a hell of a good bra, it served me long and well and I loved it dearly.

I make this pit stop entry in an effort to dispel whatever evil spirits may be hanging over my day. When the first hour I'm out of bed goes like this, I've got to do something. I'd cross my fingers for the rest of the day, but I'd probably break a nail or put an eye out.

Yeah, yesterday was pretty bad, but if I made it through August 19, 1992, I'm pretty sure I can survive anything this week has in store for me.

Friday, January 06, 2006

A Resolution I Can Keep

New Year's Resolutions are proof that hope springs eternal--foolish, blind hope that is disappointed time and again and yet comes back to the table for more.

Late on New Year's Day, my sister-in-law said to a group of us assembled around the table: "Okay, what are your resolutions everyone?"

I answered, "My resolution is to not make any resolutions this year."

It's the best resolution I've ever made. Think about the very nature of New Year's Resolutions--we spend the first few hours or days of the New Year thinking about all the ways we aren't good enough, all the changes we need to make to be worthy of this New Year. Here's a little secret, though--yeah, it's a New Year, a new day, another chance, blah, blah, blah, but I'm the same old me and odds are my energy will be better spent being the best me I can be and accepting all the ways I fall short of the goal of perfection rather than struggling to become more, better, faster, stronger.

So here I am on the 5th of January and I haven't even wavered in my resolution one teeny bit. I think I may have set some kind of record.