Saturday, July 5, 2014

Hurricane Preparedness, 20s vs 50s

Hurrricane Arthur blew threw Rhode Island yesterday and has since been demoted to a tropical storm.  It's the economy.

I remember, back in my young adulthood, when news of an approaching hurricane brought a prickly excitement.  We'd make plans to meet somewhere for tropical drinks and dance parties.  We might tape a glass window, because who needs that kind of downer in the middle of a great party, plus it added to the themed decor, and we made sure there was plenty of alcohol and snacks,  but otherwise, we didn't prepare much.   In the north, where I come from,  hurricanes tend to be a little tamer by the time they get here, with some exceptions.  We all grew up preparing for nor' easters, but hurricanes didn't trouble us much.

Flash forward 30 years and hurricane patterns haven't changed, but the routine has.  Do we have batteries, have the gutters been cleared, are the drains working, have the lighter outdoor items been stored, do we have bottled water and food we can eat without cooking, does S want to come over and ride out the storm with us, did you know electricity can flow through the water, it can, I'm spending all day  cleaning because  if tomorrow is sunny, I'll want to play, damn, we should have cut those old trees in the back, the lady next door will have a conniption if another one falls on her phone lines, hey do we have wine and beer....

I guess some things never change.

Chicken out

Friday, July 4, 2014

Independence Day - Letting Go

My husband and I were having a discussion one day.  I told him about a problem I was having.  As soon as I laid out my problem, he began  trying to solve it. That's what we are wired to do,  I think, is solve problems.  I remember saying to him, "I don't need you  to solve this, I just need you to listen!"

Of course, as a parent, it's totally different.  I must solve each and every problem my children present.   It's called being a good parent.  


My oldest finished college in January and is currently job hunting.  It's been a frustrating experience and not as expedient as she assumed it would be.  She's learned humility and patience.  I've learned to step back.  

Way the hell back.  Like, look behind you.  See that mountain?  No?  That's perfect.  That's just about far enough.  

It's the hardest thing, to support and help without fixing.  I'm  sure there's a trick to it.  If I live long enough, maybe I'll add it to my bag.  For now, I'm just very lucky that we communicate mostly by text.  It allows me to offer suggestions, which I then erase and replace with, "I'm so sorry.  That stinks", or other equally short, supportive statements.

She doesn't need me to fix this.  She can fix this.  She just needs me to listen.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

And occasionally, I'll climb on a soap box...

I won't be picketing Hobby Lobby on  Saturday, but I won't ever be shopping there, either. I disagree with their religious beliefs, particularly the ones that wish to dictate what rights I should have. They've always been religious, though, so their reluctance to cover Plan B contraceptives makes sense and, if it were an isolated case, I'd be okay with that.  People work there at their own will, and if people want to work there and want to purchase PlanB contraceptives, they will have to make that purchase out of pocket, the same way they probably had to do it before healthcare reform.  This isn't about a woman's right to choose. We can still choose.

It's the precedent that is concerning.  More than half of us, if this article by Aaron Blake for the Washington Post is accurate, are employed within "closely held" companies. How many of these companies are preparing to roll out their own deeply held beliefs and how will that affect our insurance plans?  As much as it's not about a woman's right to choose, it's also not about religion anymore.  At this point, religion is just the getaway car.  Plan B contraceptives represent the tip of the deeply held religious beliefs iceberg.

I'll leave the legal arguments surrounding the decision to someone more articulate, not to mention educated, but the fallout that seems likely  from this decision is not going to be pretty.

I have a deeply held belief right now, despite the "now now, Princess, don't upset yourself" tone of the Washington Post article, that a lot more privately held companies are about to find God, even if their only deeply held religious belief is that Obamacare should go away.  

Chicken out

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

My Dead Relative Went to Heaven and All I Got Was This Lousy Dime

I spotted a dime on my walk this morning and I stopped to pick it up because a.) I felt bendy enough to do so, b.) I was in a waste not/want not frame of mind and c.) I thought it might be a message from my dead father.  Or mother or, for that matter, dog.

I've read that those who once lived and once loved us can learn, once they get to the other side, to manipulate matter.  It's not easy, though, so mostly they leave small things in our paths to help us find them and to let us know they are watching over us.  Things like pennies and dimes and the odd ring or beads.

This makes total sense when you think about all the little things out there lying around, all the pennies and dimes and tiny rocks.  They didn't just get there by themselves.  They are gifts from heaven.  So when I see one, I pick it up and say thanks.  It usually sounds something like this:

Thanks Dad.  Or Mom,  if that was you.  Or Sam or Uncle Ken....Tony?  Anyway, thanks all youse guys.  Sure do miss you. 

It's just a dime, but that dime, it raises a lot of questions, assuming a dead person did just leave it there for me to find.  Questions like, is it really here for me?  I mean, I spotted it, but is that the way it's supposed to work?  Am I stealing someone else's dime?  And how am I supposed to know who it's from?   Do  dimes always mean it's from Dad?  I would  think he'd leave quarters because he was always collecting those new state quarters, but maybe he can only push around dimes right now.  Dad, if you are listening, can you send me a quarter?  Georgia would be nice.  I don't have that one.  But I'm not picky, you can choose.

My parents died a few months apart and for a long time afterwards I kept finding these little green beads everywhere.  Those things were worse than the barbie shoe infestation that we suffered when my girls were little, but not as bad as the lego infestation of TWLITB's youth.  That sounds ungrateful, I know.  It's not that I'm ungrateful, but dimes are a lot more useful so I'm happy they've exhausted their green bead supply.

After my father died, my youngest, who was three, spotted a black cat in our backyard and told me it was my father.  You can bet the hairs will raise on the back of your neck when your toddler announces the presence of your dead relative in casual conversation.  The cat kept showing up, so we named it Butter (after my father).  We started feeding Butter because we thought he was a stray.  Naturally, Butter started hanging out at our house a lot more often.  Then one day, my son kicked his ball over our fence and when he and his dad went to find it, they met Mike.  Mike and his  cat, Lucy.  Lucy looked a lot like Butter.  As it turns out, my father apparently inhabits the body of a cat named Lucy.  Now we call her Lucy Butter.

I feel really badly because I've lost that dime.  I can't find it anywhere.  I guess it wasn't mine, after all.  I was a vehicle for the dime, which  is kind of creepy.  If you are out and about today, and you spot me doing back flips down some stairs, please call the priest.

Chicken out

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

An Owl on Morning

I like being up and about early in the  morning.  There aren't many people around as I walk the neighborhood.  I see a guy weeding his garden and a woman walking her dog.  That guy over there is playing musical cars.  If you've ever had a long, narrow driveway, you've probably played this game.  One or two cars must go out on the street so that the innermost car, which inevitably must leave first, can get out of the driveway.  Then, depending on the valet's level of conscientiousness or the local parking ordinances, the other cars may or may not go back in.  It's a lot of fun, particularly in snow storms.

I'm happy to have this time alone with my thoughts.  They roll around like a tumble weed in that vast empty space up there, occasionally catching themselves on something pertinent, like meal plans, before rolling away again as I imagine myself on a stage with a guitar performing the Charlotte Kendrick song playing on my Pandora station.  I'm so good, y'all, you should come hear me play sometime.  I'm here every day at the open mic  night in my head, singing all the old songs and a few new ones.

The thought tumbleweed catches on my to-do list and I make a mental note to wash towels later, and buy rice for dinner, just before it occurs to me that this is the perfect time to practice walking confidently, and so I do stride along for awhile,  arms  swinging lightly, and think about getting a "Sons of Anarchy" tattoo somewhere hidden, just a very small skull, perhaps.   I  pass a yellow lab sitting complacently in a driveway, watching me watch  him, as I pass by.  Is it a little creepy that he doesn't bark  or even cock his head?  Is he a mute dog?  Can dogs be mute?  Can you really train a dog not to bark at strangers walking by on the street?  Wait...did that really even happen, did I really see a dog?  Maybe it was a statue of a dog.  I add "have eyes examined" to my mental to do list.

I'm walking past the twins' house now.  Two sets of twins live in that house.  And the mother of the twins has a sister who also birthed two sets of twins.  It's a pretty big house.  I wanted to have twins-two babies for the price of one labor-but I missed out on that sale.  I paid full labor for each of my four.

I watch as a smallish bird swoops down on an even smaller bird, its little wings spread to ride the wind.  From behind, in its purposeful, silent glide, it embodies the persona of an owl.  I wonder if, like me, a rock star in my own mind, the bird imagines itself as an owl, deadly, talons spread wide, ready to grasp the unsuspecting prey below.  Ka-Boom, gotcha, hahahaha.  The smaller bird, the prey, throws his wings over his head, God blast it, you psycho, why you gotta sneak up on me all the time like that.  I hate that!

Ah morning, with all its promise and delusions of grandeur; there's nothing like it, is there?

Chicken out