Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Winds of Change

We all make promises. We even intend to keep those promises but change is just so impossible. Except it's not. It means doing something different, it means making a conscious effort to do that thing that has always eluded you and getting it done. After a wonderful vacation home in Mammoth, snowboarding, laying by the fire and just plain enjoying the snow (yes I said it midwest, ENJOYING the snow) it was time to head back to El Centro where I was blindsided by the winds of change. Quite literally.

For a week now there have been winds whipping through the region at about 35 to 50 miles per hour all the time. Where I come from they call that a tropical storm, here it is just "wind." The literal manifestation of what I had been thinking on the 8+ hour drive home spurred me into action. I was back, I had a writing schedule to keep, phone calls to make and things to get MOVING. If the wind could do it, so could I.

Day 1. The cold I had so valiantly avoided the entire time I was in Mammoth despite my husband getting sick firmly landed on my head and I slept for 23 hours. Literally 23 hours. I occasionally woke up to put some cold water on my parched throat or to try and ease the coughing fit that I was sure would end my life, but other than that, straight up sleep. Winds a tolerable 25 mph.

Day 2. I am sick of being sick and I am not letting THIS get the best of me. Die, microscopic virus, die! That meant going to get cold medicine. The trailer for the motorcycles is still attached to my truck so I go to the car. "Press," I push on the little button to unlock the car that had been sitting unused for 2 weeks. Not even a glimmer of light or the faintest whisper of a beep. Not good. Manually unlock the door to discover what I already suspected, dead battery. Chris works tonight so I let him sleep, round up the neighbor with a truck and jumper cables. Get all set up and then proceed to wake up the entire RV park as the alarm will not disengage with the car trying to start and every time you hook up the "negative" side of the battery an incredibly negative sound of echoing beeping blares out of the horn. Now the hubby is up as are the neighbors. We give up on the battery and just use one of the marine batteries we have in the RV so that I can go to town and return the non-working battery to Costco. That took way more energy than I expected AND I haven't even gotten on the road yet. Winds hitting 35 to 40 mph.

Day 3. In a drug induced, cold medicine filled haze I try to get some work done as I find out the neighbors are going to be requiring some massive help. Larry is now the color of a lemon and is in as much pain as he was when we left two weeks ago. Not good. After much convincing we get him in an ambulance at midnight on this day and I follow behind to care for his wife. When you have family who work in an ER the last thing they want is to see you there visiting. My bigger problem, I have been sick in bed for two days straight, I look hideous (at least I ran a brush through my hair and threw on lip gloss, thank you Carrie) and I am now face to face with all my husband's co-workers for the first time. Great. No one remembers me bringing in cake for his birthday because I slinked in so as not to disturb the "important" work of the ER. Next time I do something nice and I have make-up on, I swear, I am making a SCENE! Massive 45 to 50mph winds with gusts up to 65.

Day 4. Barely making it to and from the hospital. Helping Larry and Patricia get organized and deal with a heartbreaking diagnosis. I feel like I can barely think or move and then look at Larry who is really suffering and I keep telling my lungs to suck it up. When the Dilaudid is kicking in he is actually quite funny. Still cracking jokes, making light of his color and being transferred to San Diego. At one point he even calls to say it is happening and we won't possibly make it before he is on his way. I laugh at this knowing exactly how long a transfer takes and he is there for many more hours, enough time for his daughter and granddaughters to arrive via plane, via 1.5 hour drive. The girls and I start buttoning everything up, making plans and end with BIG, HUGE margaritas to wash away the day. Winds still at 50 mph.

While I have not exactly gotten on track with my "plan," I can say I am more motivated than ever before. I have watched two people have their plans laughed at by the universe. Their entire existence has shifted and Patricia likely only gets to enjoy her husband's company for three or four weeks. All the while the winds kept pushing, forcing their way in and reminding me in their very brutal way that today is all you have, so appreciate, have fun and do what you say you are going to do. The plan is underway. It has really only been about 24 hours since they left and since I was able to focus, but there are checklists and calendars and all sorts of intentions. Of course reality, like the battery, the cold and the illness are sure to rear their ugly heads again, but I think that is the real challenge of change. To do it anyway.
Winds, 25 mph, still peskily reminding me to be good.

Monday, April 1, 2013

23 Truths about Being an Adult

Make it stop!
I discovered 23 Adult Truths a long time back on my friend Lisa Bistreich-Wolfe's Facebook page and I couldn't help that think most of them are not only true but require a bit of personalization. There is that sad moment in life where you realize you are the grown-up. You expected to know so much more by the time that minute hit, but alas you realize the real truth behind the mystery of aging, no one knows what they are doing and we are the sum total of our life experiences. Which basically means all those times we thought we would know more, better or understand when we grew-up was a facade predicated by all the otherwise lost grown-ups in the world. For parents out there, the predicament is much worse as the faking  reaches new and epic proportions.

1. Sometimes I'll look down at my watch 3 consecutive times and still not know what time it is.

I count this comment up to the fact we have filled our brains with useless information that soaked in during our youth. Our brains our sponges, indiscrimentent sponges when we are young and we just plain run out of room. So you will always remember all the words to "Ice, Ice Baby" to the shock and dismay of the young people who have rediscovered the song (seriously, who knew!?) but you will forget the time repeatedly.

2. Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.

In your youth I don't think this realization ever hits, maybe because your memory is better so you are never on the wrong side. But when you are older you can be oh so certain that you are reciting facts and suddenly you remember the moment when you really did move the keys, say something you forgot or any number of other things that make you wrong. Now you must decide, how do you back down yet keep a tiny bit of your pride?

3. I totally take back all those times I didn't want to nap when I was younger.

Sleep is that thing you always want but don't want to waste your time on, until you get to an age where you want desperately to shut your brain off. What did we think we were missing when we were kids?

4. There is a great need for a sarcasm font.

My ability to communicate is desperately diminished by the lack of a sarcasm font. I think I should develop an app for that. Make some joke about how sarcasm is the cheapest form of humor, I don't care, it's necessary. Have you met the morons in this world!?

5. How the hell are you supposed to fold a fitted sheet?

My friend Wendy actually taught me how to do this. You have to fold the corners into one another and then sort of partition it off in three pieces. Despite the excellent teaching, my solution: fold twice and roll into ball.

6. Was learning cursive really necessary?

In the computer no. I do still think it looks pretty.

7. MapQuest really needs to start their directions on #5, I am pretty sure I know how to get out of my neighborhood.

Now Google allows you the possibility of skipping your neighborhood, but even then the directions are a bit tedious. I want a way to say "start from the liquor store on the corner and..."

8. Obituaries would be a lot more interesting if they told you how the person died.

I stand by this statement 100%. It is not that they would only be more interesting it would stop me from sitting and wondering for hours how the person who was only 43 died. Now, in the days of Google I can usually find out, but that is 15 to 30 minutes of procrastination I don't need to be talked into.

9. I can't remember the last time I wasn't at least kind-of tired.

Actually, this is not true, but only because I don't have my own kids. Usually my "tired" now has much more to do with me not wanting to do whatever it is I am supposed to do. I participate in procrastination sleep.

10. Bad decisions make good stories.

This is something kids probably don't need to know as it might encourage more bad decisions, but I can say when looking back on my life, we are rarely telling the stories when "things started to get a little nuts, so I went home to go to bed." It is much more like, "it looked like a really bad idea for her to try the jump in the dark and 10 hours later we were finally being discharged from the ER with a list of local AA meetings."

11. You never know when it will strike, but there comes a moment at work when you know that you just aren't going to do anything productive for the rest of the day.

And you can't fight through it so don't bother. Go get a cup of coffee, a soda and stop by the desk of every person who might just have a minute to chat until the day is over. Or get on Facebook.

12. Can we all just agree to ignore whatever comes after Blue Ray? I don't want to have to restart my collection....again.

I have replaced portions of my movie collection multiple times. I don't even plan to fully upgrade to Blue Ray. Now I just use a program to put RedBox on my iPad and delete most of the movies when I am done watching them. Great for a plane ride! On that note, so many movies are just not as worthy of being watched over and over again as they used to be. Or maybe there are just too many of them.

13. I'm always slightly terrified when I exit out of Word and it asks me if I want to save any changes to my ten-page technical report that I swear I did not make any changes to.

This is why I have 30 versions of long projects on my computer and no matter how I choose to use the file name/date combination I still can't figure out which is the newest version. The one time I didn't do that...replaced a file with one that was incomplete...rewrite hell!

14. I keep some people's phone numbers in my phone just so I know not to answer when they call.

You know who you are. Okay, maybe you don't.

15. I think the freezer deserves a light as well.

Why should you have to turn on the glaring overhead light to get an ice cube in the middle of the night? Okay, let's be honest, I meant ice CREAM.

16. I disagree with Kay Jewelers. I would bet on any given Friday or Saturday night more kisses begin with Miller Light than Kay.

While this is a relatively funny idea, I will never forget the time by 14 year old sister said that statement out loud and realized it meant the letter "K" and was a play on the spelling. 2 weeks later I was telling the story to Craig who is 30-something and had never put that together.

17. I wish Google Maps had an "Avoid Ghetto" routing option.

This is much more important than the "skip neighborhood." Of course, what would the people do who live in the ghetto? Would it refuse to help?

18. I have a hard time deciphering the fine line between boredom and hunger.
For me it is more procrastination and hunger, but same general idea.

19. How many times is it appropriate to say "what?" before you just nod and smile because you still didn't hear or understand a word they said?
I say twice. If you can't project your voice or annunciate, whatever you are saying can't possibly be important.

20. I love the sense of camaraderie when an entire line of cars team up to prevent a jerk from cutting in at the front.

These are my favorite LA traffic moments and they are too few and far between. And don't look at me when I am doing it in your high-end Mercedes and act like you are a tourist who didn't know any better. No one believes you.

21. Shirts get dirty. Underwear gets dirty. Pants? Pants never get dirty and you can wear them forever.

I think this starts in college. When you have to pay for laundry. It doesn't really start when you have to do your own, but once those quarters start flying, pants can be worn forever!

22. Even under ideal conditions people have trouble locating their car keys in a pocket, finding their cell phone and Pinning the Tail on the Donkey- but I'd bet everyone can find and push the snooze button from 3 feet away, in about 1.7 seconds, eyes closed, first time, every time.

Is this even confusing? It's want and desire to stay in bed instead of do work. It's why you can't find your keys, don't want to find your cell phone and desperately want to avoid getting vertical.

23. The first testicular guard, the "cup" was used in Hockey in 1874 and the first helmet was used in 1974. That means it only took 100 years for men to realize their brain is also important.

This does not surprise me in the least and most of them would still avoid protecting their brain. Just look at all the helmet-less motorcycle riders in Florida.