Monday, May 30, 2011

Blog Days

My Sunday “B” day has been temporarily moved to Monday because I had an expired license renewal sticker on my car. Actually I’ve had the new sticker for over a month but never bothered to put it on the car windshield. It was one of those “I’ll do it tomorrow” types of things. After all, the current one on the car didn't expire until the end of April.

So when I agreed to drive the car pool to Midlothian, TX for a Sunday afternoon rowdy game of Mexican Train with a wild bunch of librarians, I planned my morning quite carefully: Get up early, read the Sunday paper, have breakfast, walk the dogs, fill the gas tank, and get the car its semi-annual bath and grooming for the upcoming 40 mile drive. This would still leave me plenty of time to shower and dress and write my blog. So I thought.

With the car now spit-shiny, the expired license sticker loomed menacingly on the windshield, almost like it was just waiting to flag down the first patrol car it saw so it could embarrass me in front of my friends. No problem though. It’d only take me a minute or two to retrieve the new sticker from the glove box where I’d shoved it until it was time to apply it. I hadn’t counted on two things: one, the clutter in my glove box and two, the renewal sticker not being there.

New problem. When I had the laminated flooring put in a couple of weeks ago, I had to remove all my papers from the computer room. I hadn’t moved anything back yet (another one of those “I’ll do it tomorrow” things). This meant that I now needed to search through boxes and sacks crammed with very important papers to try and find my license renewal. Papers and cuss words flying about, I was determined to find that damn sticker as if my life depended upon it. And in a sense, it did.

We baby boomers pride ourselves on our keen minds. We can accept the sags, the wrinkles, and the aches, but we cling to the façade that our minds are as sharp as ever. I knew I had put the renewal sticker in the glove box, damn it! I remembered thinking that if I did ever pulled over by the police, I could pull it out of the glove box and say, “See, I have it right here.” I had to have put it there! Where else would it be? Then I remembered. Duh, I’d put it in my purse to put into the car’s glove box. So I hadn’t lost my mind; I just hadn’t complete the process.

Lessons learned? I still need to work on that clutter, I need to stop the “I’ll do it tomorrow” mentality and I need to relax more. My first blog happened to be posted on a Sunday morning so I made a rule that it always had to be done on Sunday morning or I might never do it again. Wednesday evenings also became a “B” evening as I now write a library blog and you got it, my first posting was on a Wednesday evening. Ah, the ruts we crawl into because of fear. Hurray for the ruts we can crawl out of if we allow ourselves to do so.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Spiders and Snakes and Poodles and Marigolds or the Perils of a City Baby Boomer Gal

No baby boomer blog today folks. I am too pooped out from protecting my castle and my rescue pups. My nerves are frazzled. My back is aching and I need to take a shower. You see, I just finished planting a flat of marigolds in the once-upon-a-time luscious but now barren flower bed near my back door. To plant these pungent annuals, I first had to dress for gardening: long pants, heavy socks, tennis shoes, long-sleeved t-shirt covered with a long-sleeved blue-jean jacket, a hat, and elbow-length rubber gloves. The temperature and humidly was already high this morning when I finally ventured out to the back yard carrying a shovel, a spade, a rake, a foam rubber cushion, and my cell phone.

A bit over the top you think? Not if you’re allergic to wasps and fire ants, suffer from arachnophobia, and had an encounter with Fred, the snake, this past week. Now I confess that I have a few phobias but fear of snakes isn’t one of them. As long as they aren’t poisonous. A major point as I’m not an expert on snakes so unless I see “red and yellow will kill a fellow”, I don’t know for sure if they are or aren’t. I also don’t like snakes well enough for them to be house guests. But nevertheless, Fred, the snake, was determined to be one this past Wednesday when I came home for lunch to let the pups out. We met almost face to face as he crawled up the brick wall by my back door. I screamed and ran. He stuck out his forked tongue and moved closer to the door. The door that I hadn't closed all the way!

I had to stop him, protect my pups and myself. But how? The front door was locked and he was blocking the back door. I did what I had to do. With my eyes glued to his, I inched along the opposite wall until I could reach the door knob and pulled the door closed. I ran again. The 3 foot plus long snake refused to take the closed door hint and leave. I had to get the pups to safety now and remembered the garage door opener in my car. I carried both pups into the house and saw my neighbor’s car. Hurray, Bill’s home! Being a good neighbor and fellow Midwestern, Bill came to my rescue and with shovel in hand, politely suggested that Fred move away from the door. Thank you, Bill!

Bill took a picture of Fred with his cell phone which I used to ask everyone what kind of snake he was. I was told that it was copperhead, a rat snake and red tail boa. It was finally confirmed by a snake guru that Fred is a harmless rat snake. I still don’t like him as he seems the pushy kind of snake who can still grow another 4 feet, I’ve been told. No one had suggestions on how to get rid of snakes other than moth balls which are poisonous to my pups. I read on the Internet that snakes didn’t like the smell of marigolds so I brought a flat that evening. They are finally planted and I’m rather proud of myself for braving the wild to do so. They probably won’t deter the likes of Fred but at least they will add color and beauty to the barren flower bed.

Now if I can find some way to deter that darn little poodle that chases me and my pups whenever we go for a walk…..

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Moving Walls

Ah, the joys of remodeling. It was supposed to be a simple job. “It should take only a day to install them,” the contractor assured me when I ordered my new laminated flooring. In a perfect world perhaps, but then my world has never been perfect! They started on a Monday and finished on Saturday. (And no, it was not a full 8 hours each day although it seemed that way to me.) Between ripping up the old carpet, cleaning the cement, sanding, sawing, vacuuming, hours after hours of the smoke alarms screaming at the top of their decibels, the sounds of continuous hammering along with nail guns shoot-outs, to say it was an ordeal for my five senses is putting it mildly.

End results? I hated my new floors. They were too dark, too rich-looking. They made the tile floors I’d been so proud of before now look drab and dull. And I was left with having to move everything back that I’d moved out—only after I cleaned off the inches of white dust frosting. I felt overwhelmed, exhausted, and depressed, my life seemingly in chaos and my decorating taste questionable.

That was last week. With major help from my dear friends David and Lesly, adequate rest and food, I love my new floors now. I’ve rearranged furniture, electing not to move everything back which in turn, makes me feel freer, less stressed. My walls aren’t closing in so much. I hadn’t realized how confining my world had become. Even my rescue pups had been too confined, their world being their crates and the front of the house. With the new floors, I’ve given them the freedom to roam the halls and explore my bedroom in the daylight with only the two spare bedrooms with carpeting off limits. Whenever I’m home, that is.

Who knew that getting new floors could move walls or give me and the pups a “get out of jail free card”? Too often I think I need to make major changes – get a face lift or change jobs or move – when in reality it’s the little changes that count. Hindsight, I’ve been making them already. I had my hair highlighted, cleaned out my closet, and even signed on an online dating service recently (for blogging research only, of course). And yes, I had my first date in thirty years this past week. (Probably won’t do that again anytime soon! Lol)

So what’s next? I turn 65 this summer. Up to now, I’ve been guilty of thinking like a teenager-- that becoming 65 will mean that I will really be old. But I’m also smart enough to know—only if I let it. So I guess I better get busy and get rid of some more clutter, both physical and mental, so that I can move more walls.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Paying It Forward - Happy Mother's Day

Well, this is a hard one. How to blog on Mother’s Day without making it sound morose and depressing when many of us, baby boomers and not, no longer have our mothers with us? I don’t think I’m that good of a writer. I take that back; I know I’m not that good of a writer. I know this because I have tried writing about my mother many times before and still can’t do her justice. So I’ll fall back on the cliché that says a picture is worth a thousand words.

This old snapshot of me holding my son, Jeff, captured the love and pure happiness I felt as a new mother. It was a moment out of a lifetime of joyous moments I've had being a mother. When I look at this picture, I hear my mother’s voice saying over and over again, “It makes me happy to make you happy. Someday when you’re a mother yourself, you’ll understand what I mean.” She was right as usual. Happy Mother’s Day.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Having A Shredding Time

When I moved into my new house seven or eight years ago, I moved only what I needed. My new abode was clean and uncluttered. Closets were neat with the only bare essentials folded and stacked; countertops and table tops barren. I relished that feeling of freedom from “stuff”. Yet, I was told by a friend or two that I needed some warmth in the house, some colorful knickknacks, and items to personalize it.

Well, let me tell you --my house is now so personalized that no one would want to come into it except for the most of loyal friends. Two little dogs have done more than their fair share of “personalizing” my carpets, gnawed wood moldings and sheetrock, and scattered their toys throughout. This is why I am spending this weekend cleaning out drawers and moving furniture so that the laminated flooring I have ordered can be installed. It shouldn’t be such a big deal since I’m only doing my computer room, the hallway, and my bedroom. However, it is day three (I took off Friday as a vacation day) and I’m still working on the computer room. That tells me that I may be part of problem myself. It’s time to admit to myself and the world that I am a paper hoarder.

It’s not all my fault though. I blame most of it on those darn credit card companies who insisted on cluttering my mailbox with blank checks. “Just fill in the amount you want and spend, spend spend,” they shout. “We’ll only charge you 32% interest and your first born child” they whisper after handing you a ballpoint pen. I’m not dumb enough to fall for their lines but I’m also smart enough to know that if a garbage thief got a hold of the blank checks, I could be in big trouble. So I add them to the ever-growing stack of other papers that are waiting to be shredded so as to avoid identify theft.

The other papers I store are important and must be protected. Insurance policies and income taxes and receipts and bank statements, many of them way past their expiration date, but again, what do I do with them? I can’t have a bon fire. It’s illegal plus Texas has had too many wild fires already. So I’m back to shredding. I’ve burned up three shredders in the last three or four years. My latest purchased shredder has said, “Enough” so I am now hand-shredding. I figure it should help firm up the part of my arms that wave “hey there, I’m old”.

Finally, we get to those papers that don’t need to be shredded but need be tossed: my unpublishable short stories, essays, three novels, and the beginnings of the five or six novels that never made it past the first ten pages. I can’t do it though. They are a part of me that I can’t destroy. Not yet.

What does this blog have to do with baby boomers? Not that much although I can’t see the generations coming behind us being paper hoarders. Maybe they’ll be floppy disks hoarders? I doubt it. I know I’m keeping my sack full of them. Flash drives? Probably not – they’re so small that they are easily lost any way. (At least mine are in all the clutter.) What’s left then? The cloud? Could be. Oh well, that's in the future and I'm in the now so back to shredding.