Hanging Tough

After two plus years, I’m finally hanging curtains.   Breathe people, I haven’t been your neighborhood voyeur for 24 months.   I’ve kept my modesty, my dignity and my name out of the papers by keeping the blinds appropriately closed.   And with just one or two minor mishaps, wardrobe malfunctions if you will, I have kept a solid rep with the people next door.   I think.   I hope.   No, I don’t care.

But I’m hanging curtains now.   And I wonder why it’s taken me so long to do it.   And I also wonder why my new curtains have given my tiny house a ‘finished’ look.   And with this big brain of mine I wonder why I’m wondering why and secretly hoping that this doesn’t cause a major mind fuck that leaves me pondering curtains and houses and life in general for days.

No matter.   I’m going to try and sort this thing out here and now.   You’re along for the ride.   Buckle up babies…we’re going in-depth.

The simple act of hanging curtains is not so easy. I’ve been in this house for over two years.   I’ve had these curtains for a month.   I’ve had the curtain rods since last night.   I have a hammer and a step stool (#shortgirlproblems).   And yet, I am only half way done hanging five lousy curtains.   I suppose I could count the one I simply replaced and say I’m 60% done with curtain hanging…but blogs are supposed to be about laying bare of one’s self and to hedge or fudge the numbers just doesn’t seem right.   Hence, I’m only half way done.

And it’s not that I don’t like these curtains.   They are exactly what I wanted.   They fit perfectly. They’re my taste, my color and my style.   And yet here I am, talking about hanging curtains when I should be actually, you know, hanging the damn curtains.

Hanging curtains is hard.   There’s measuring and pounding of nails and all kinds of shit.   I suppose a level should be involved if only I gave a damn whether they hung straight or slightly a-tilt.   So there’s the mechanics of hanging curtains that’s bringing me down.   I’m not good at the hammer and nails.   I don’t have the patience to measure and level and be precise.   I just want to hang a dumb curtain…or five.

So I guess in a way hanging a curtain is something of a barometer or measure of my ability to live a self-sustaining life.   You may think of it as a stretch but try and remember the last time you hung a curtain.   Now think of whether or not you had any help.   Now in the interest of full disclosure, I admit to having the daughter hold one end of the curtain rod while I hinged the other into the thingy I nailed into the wall.   Crooked.   Without any manner of style or command of a hammer.   But putting her small and totally unenthusiastic assistance aside, however appreciated by a grateful mom, I did it…am continuing to do it…by myself.   And that’s a metaphor of my life.

In the last few years, I’ve taken on so many new challenges and conquered so many new obstacles.   I know there were people who were waiting for me to fail.   Waiting for me to admit defeat and with bags in hand and pride in a dumpster, see me at my lowest.   To date, that hasn’t happened.   Close calls sure, but I’ve fought and learned and have kept afloat. So I guess hanging curtains is a good sign that I’m going to be okay.   It’s my way of thumbing my nose at my critics, few that there are, and maybe even giving them the one finger salute.   Like a “fuck you! I’ve hung curtains!   Take that, you rat bastards!” kind a moment that makes me feel both proud and a little embarrassed at the same time.   Rat bastards, really who says that?!?

So getting past the actual physical part of the hanging of the curtains, which I’ve yet to fully conquer but admittedly am well on my way to doing, what does hanging curtains mean?   What does it symbolize?  In a house, curtains seem to be the finishing touch.   You buy a house and you’re so busy with the big picture of financing and insurance and taxes and then there’s the issue of where is the garage door opener and the seal is broken on this window so where’s the lifetime guarantee papers.   You’re up to your ass in boxes and you can’t find your favorite sweater let alone a spatula to turn the eggs.   You in a spiral of trying to hold your house together while at the same time you’re trying to hold yourself together.   Curtains are the last thing you think about.   You’re just glad you have windows! So maybe once your head stops spinning and you’ve gotten some of your bearings, the little details begin to matter.   Like curtains.   Its life’s way of saying, ‘look at you! You’ve got your shit together for the most part.   Now for the detail work.”   Curtains are the minor details of life.   Not necessarily permanent, but definitely a sign that you’re getting there.   Curtains tell you that you’ve made it this far and the odds are ‘ever in your favor’.

I’m pretty damn proud of these curtains.   When I walk into the room, I’m drawn to them.   They give me a sense of accomplishment and a sense of badass that I’m a walking success story.   I feel good that I did this little home project myself even if I did have some help and even with that help I am still not finished.   And they really make the room look nice.

And maybe I’ll hang one more curtain and call it a day.   Maybe I’ll leave this last one, the one where I nailed the damn hook thing crooked and the angle is just all wrong for a left handed novice of hammering such as myself.   I’ll leave it as a reminder that yes, I’ve come a long way; but I’m nowhere near done yet!

Hang (your curtains) in there kittens!

Digging Below the Surface

Perception is reality.   We’ve all heard that.   You see two smiling faces in a photo, arms looped around each other, and you assume happy times.   Conversely, you see someone with an ACCESS card and you think drug addled bum. Our perception focuses on the shallow visual and so often times mistakes happiness for deep sadness or laziness or weakness for a struggle that we would never be able to fight.  We judge by what we see. And then we’re left looking like asses.

That’s why we need to take a minute to know the backstory.

By taking the time to understand a situation rather than quickly jumping to incorrect conclusions, we could actually become human again.   Today we live for soundbites and conflict.   We associate with parties or beliefs or paradigms that if we dug beneath the rhetoric or the ‘first impression’ we could discover that we had absolutely nothing in common with these affiliations. We would be forced to actually learn the facts, study both sides and form an independent thought. Instead, like a lamb, we allow ourselves to be herded into one corral or the other, hoping to become a sweater and not a stew.

We need to consider humanity.

We need to be more conscious of our country by starting with ourselves. Don’t sell yourself short by just following party lines or cries from a pulpit.   Make it your mission to learn for yourself. Read. Don’t watch.   Study history, not conjecture. Love first.   Hate only as a last resort. Let the lines blur until you see the person across the isle from you as human. No labels, no assumptions. Simply human.

And the beauty of it all is that you have to start small.   No, no, no….don’t you go out saving the world just yet.   Start with your neighbors…no better yet; start with yourself.   Look in the mirror and lose all your labels.   Overweight.   Underachiever. Unaccomplished.   Dependent. See yourself for the miracle you are.   Then look at your family and shred the labels. There’s no black sheep, or cry baby, or smart one. There are just humans with hopes and insecurities who are judging themselves enough for you both.   Take your judgment back. Allow them, and yourself, to be who they are. What a gift you would give; the gift of acceptance.

The start of a new week seems like as good as time as any to look beyond the superficial and get your hands dirty with humankind. Let’s try to know someone and resist the label.   Let’s try and be our own leaders and not dependent upon those who need the unquestioning masses for their own justifications.   And let knowledge and compassion be your divining rod when looking upon our fellow man.

We need a depth of understanding of the human plight.   And we need it now.

Peace, love and knowledge my friends! Namaste!

The List – The Art of Cohabitation

God, I love a list. It most likely plays into my slight (haha) compulsion disorder – never diagnosed but I can pretty much tell these things – that makes me love them so. Like that awesome golf swing or that beautiful kiss (notice my dear people which made the #1 spot), lists just do it for me. So I’m going to do it for you while I’m doing it for me and try and make it sound like its mutual.

Whatever your current living situation, be it blissfully alone or wonderfully coupled it’s about a 100% chance that you have, at one time, lived with another person. And I’m confident in that prediction because I’m going to include parents and children in the living with someone scenario.   In case you just met me, I don’t like to be wrong.   I find it alien and unpleasant.   So I try to always hedge my bets to continue what can simply be called the genius that is me.

But I digress…

Living with another human being poses some great obstacles that are often the cause of great strife in a household.   And usually – although not always (because I don’t want to be wrong here) – these disruptions to the tranquility co-existence can be avoided if one follows some simple rules.

Alas…the list!

  1. Unless you’re going to fold the entire load, take only what you need out of the dryer.   Let the dryer gods lord over the remaining laundry and protect them from the wrinkle gremlins.  That’s not to say that you have an open ended treatise with the gods…after a while they’ll assume you’re a lazy slob who doesn’t care about wrinkles and move on.   A final note:  don’t make this a habit or you’ll be scrambling for underwear because the washer-woman is on strike.
  2. Dirty clothes go into the dirty clothes basket.  Not beside it.   You get your crime posted on Facebook for doing that.
  3. Don’t bring a glass out at the exact moment your housemate is finishing the last of dishes.  You’re liable to have it inserted into your ass as a remembrance to ‘police your glass’-wear on a regular basis.
  4. Since we’re talking dishes and such, I’d like to also add that if someone has done nothing more than push a few buttons on a microwave in order to feed you; it’s still a lot more than you did and you should therefore be eternally grateful.  You’ll die if you don’t eat so someone popping a bowl of beef-a-roni in the microwave has literally just saved your life.   Give that person a thank you and refer to #3 above.
  5. Sandwiches made by someone else are way better than ones you make for yourself.   I can’t explain it but it’s a proven fact.   So spread the love and make ‘em a ham and cheese.
  6. The great toilet paper over or under debate is a damn waste of time. No one cares.  Not even me.   However, if it really bothers you, always be sure to put a new roll on with the tail the way you want.   Sneaky! (See what I did there, right?)
  7. It’s always a good idea to fold the towels neatly over the towel rack.  It looks nice, sure, but it also keeps your roomie from trying to suffocate you in your sleep because she’s straightened the towels five times that day.
  8. You’re at your most vulnerable when you’re on the toilet staring at an empty roll.  You better hope you’ve chosen your words wisely in the moments/hours/years leading up to this unfortunate event.  Otherwise, it could be a long wait.
  9. Blankets don’t refold themselves.  They haven’t evolved to that point and apparently neither have you.  (As an aside, I even refold blankets at friends’ houses.)
  10. It’s not always the dog who farted.   I am not that dumb.   And the dog is not that gassy.    Otherwise, he’d float.
  11. And speaking of dogs or pets in general; they are usually on better terms with your housemate than you are at any given time.  So give Fido some cred; he’s probably more well-liked than you.
  12. And no, I don’t think you can have too many kittens.  And yes, there is a screening process for potential new cat parents.
  13. If you live with a female or, god forbid, many females, it’s is more than imperative to consult the calendar as to monthly schedules.   If you are feeling particularly snarky and want to exercise some of that new-found wit you’re so proud of, make sure she’s not getting ready for her period.   A fate worse than death awaits you’re sarcastic ass if you decided that day 21 is the perfect time to tell her she’s anything less than perfect.

I can go on, but I think I’ve made my point.   It’s a tricky business trying to live with someone and it’s not for everyone.   But with a little time and patience and ample amounts of wine, chocolate and red meat, living together can be quite fun!

Now get out there and cohabitate!

The Friday Bitch – Rise of the Toys

People, women, men, whatever, are not toys. They aren’t there for your amusement or enjoyment and then to be put back on the shelf until you feel like playing again. People are real. They live real lives and they live important lives and you have no business being part of that life if you’re just playing. Life is not a game and there are people out there every day just acting like it is.

So just stop it.

And I’m just not referring to romantic relationships. Or just adults. I’m talking about people interacting with people on a frequent basis. Friends. Co-workers. Lovers. Wanna-be lovers. People use people and act like it doesn’t matter. All you’re worried about is your own personal gain. Be it a new sweater, an ear to listen or a piece of ass.

People are not disposable.

And then I just love how these users and game-players turn the tables and blame their toys. They twist and turn reality to fit their mold. They use endearing words and count on their toy’s open heart and genuine affection for them to continue the game. All those empty words and gestures are meaningless. The toys see through it. They are just hoping for the day the game stops.

But the game doesn’t stop, does it?

No. Not until the toy decides that it’s had enough. The toys has the ‘ah-hah’ moment and realizes that there is no amount of willing or wishing or hoping or acquiescing that is going to make it real. That no matter how many times you agree to come back or agree to accept or agree to just be patient; it’s always going to be a game. There is not going to be a moment when the toy is valued for more than it can provide. There’s not going to ever be a time when the toy’s needs are put above the others. The game players don’t know how to care about their toys; they aren’t evolved enough to grasp the idea that all things need to be cherished. They’re tiny user brains can’t figure out that caring for someone in a genuine way is the true key to happiness and contentment. They are single-order organisms only looking out for their base needs. Even scum knows it needs to stick together to cover the pond. Users and game-players don’t get it.

I’m tired of seeing people being used and quite frankly I’m tired of being used. If I see you using someone or if I’m being used, you better fucking believe I’m going to tell you about it. Call me cold or hard or just plain too stubborn for my own good; it doesn’t matter. The days of playing games are over.

This toy is done playing.

Seeing is believing

You’re asking for blind faith…or unconditional submission or something that I’m just not capable of. I need to know. I want facts and plans and timetables. Statistics and probabilities. Worst-case scenarios even. I just want to know. I know a lot of this goes on emotion and adrenaline and a splash of whiskey, but I can’t close my eyes and trust.

I’m not wired that way.

Sure, I can – do! – trust but not to the limits you want. And I can dream and aspire and take a leap of faith. You’re asking me to step off a platform swaying in the stratosphere without thought or consideration. You want blind faith. You’re asking me not to ask, simply be, without promise or even a subtle whisper of what’s to come. No pressure, no questions and no complaints.

I can’t do that.

Because the problem with blind faith is that you have to open your eyes some time. And what you see isn’t always what you thought you were getting. You’re right, nothing is guaranteed which is all the more reason I cannot accept blind faith. Things change and a person stumbling along with blinders on doesn’t always see that new twist or turn in the pathway. When you’re not actively looking, a lot of things change. Sink holes open up and swallow you whole.

And I won’t do that.

But I want what you’re hinting at. I want it more than I want to breathe. I want it like I want chocolate and puppies and soft blankets. And if I keep my eyes open, I can see it up over a small knoll and around the bend. But you want me to keep my eyes closed. When I do; there is nothingness. Darkness and worst of all – doubt.

So let me walk into this eyes wide open. Let me know and feel and experience. Let me see you for all the wonder that you are and let me believe in you because you are real in front of me in all that I’ve come to love so much. And believe in me. Let me help and soothe and bring that beautiful smile to your face. Let me show you what can be when two people fully see what lies in front of them and choose it together.

And this, we can do.

The Art of Horrible Parenting

Want to feel small? Impotent? Totally without ability or even a fucking plan when your world is crashing around you? Try standing idly by when your kid is in trouble. Try propping up your prodigy when you yourself could use a crutch. And try telling the human you made that everything is going to work out when you’re having trouble believing it yourself.

I’d rather pull my own teeth out with pliers first.

Children. They are our greatest source of joy and our doom. Our pride and our fall from grace. Nothing can make you hurt more than seeing your child suffer. As parents we are hard wired to protect and nurture and guide our creations to greatness. And when that goes to shit, we suffer – more so than if it was our own misstep.

We don’t even blame our children for their mistakes. There’s only so much blame to go around and God knows after we’ve taken our share, there’s none left. We feel one hundred percent responsible for the trials of our children. They are us more intimately than any other thing on the planet. I carried these beings inside me. I’ve made it my life’s work to study and get to know them. Who better than me to understand how they work. Who better than me to be their fall guy. After all, were it not for me and my selfish need to procreate, they would be doctors and lawyers and rocket scientists. Hell, there are times I’m convinced a pack of wolves would have done a better job of parenting than I have.

So when they fall; I feel ultimately responsible. I hit rewind on their young lives and critique my parenting every step along the way. Where I was too harsh; too lax; too absent; too smothering. Too flawed.

So many ways I’ve let them down. Too many to count.

So instead of some insightful, slightly uplifting sentiment with a curly-que of hope and a humor cherry on top, this post is an apology to my kids. I’m sorry if was a less then par parent. I’m sorry I let you down. And I’m sorry I didn’t raise you to have every opportunity in front of you. You all are wonderful people and you deserved way better than what I gave. I wish I had it all to over again. I would not have burdened you with such uselessness.

And those times that you are soaring, and there have been many, know that I am proud of you beyond belief. Not only for your great accomplishments, but because you managed them in the face of great obstacle. Namely, your crappy parent.

Go get them kids. Show the world you don’t need good parents to make something of yourself.

Love Ain’t Just for Tennis

Blogger’s Note: I started this post about a month ago and sadly it still relates. Prepare for my dark period.

Relationships are a lot like my golf game…in my mind, it’s a beautiful thing; in practice it’s fucking messed up.

Yes, that’s an original quote by your favorite non-blogging blogger. It came to me last night, oddly enough while I was doing two of my favorite things: drinking wine and listening to live music. And I thought that magnificent quote and immediately tuned out the rest of the patrons and (gasp) even the wine and I began to think and expand and tear down that tidbit of quotational genius.

Relationships, be it of the friendship or a romantical category, often are not how we envision. We expect made for TV love affairs with heart touching scenes played out in soft summer rains. Or we want to have that tear inducing moment when a friend we’ve lost comes back into our lives and forgives us our sins. We play these moments in imaginary time over and over, willing real life to just once imitate the beauty of what we dream.

Kinda like me fantasying about that perfect tee off shot. I know it can happen, but rarely do I experience on the sixth hole. And never on the ninth. And not too much on the remaining seven.

And no amount of wishing is going to change that.

So what is? I don’t have a damn clue. I can’t say for sure if it’s even possible. Maybe those kinds of relationships can only exist in our minds. In the harsh light of our waking hours you can’t have that perfect love or that magical moment. We might come close, but the pure mystery and magic as it plays out in our minds just cannot cross the filmy mist between reality and the beautiful dream.

Pretty deep shit, I know, for a breezy Sunday morning. Makes it wonder whether … well it probably makes you wonder a lot of things … like are quotational and romantical real words, whether that’s just orange juice in my glass and just how bad is my golf game. But maybe it also will make you think a little about relationships how important it is to protect what happens when two beings connect. Cherish your person; love your golf game; and handle both with care.

See you on the back nine!