Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Advice to My Children on Mother's Day

Mothers are all slightly insane.”
― J.D. Salinger

Things 1 and 2 on a Great Camping Adventure
My children often think I am a whack-job.  Trust me, this is not without reason.  They don't operate in a vacuum and they've seen how I live my life with a let's-have-dessert-FIRST mentality.  They are resigned to the fact that I ring the bell while I ride my bright green bike while wearing my purple helmet.  They tolerate the nosy pepper joke that I tell over and over and over again (thanks again, DT, for that one).  But, sometimes, I'm afraid that my words of wisdom just wash over them as yet another piece of nonsense that they have to deal with as my children.

So, today, as a precursor to Mother's Day, I'm going to give them all of my (unsolicited) serious advice on how I hope they'll live their lives.

  1. Choose joy.  Joy comes from within.  Feed the joy.  Nourish it and it will spill out of you.  Joy is your CHOICE.  
  2. Be kind.  Hold the door open.  Say "please" and "thank you" with abandon.  Give your seat to a stranger.  Focus on doing kind things for other people and you won't have time to dwell on yourself.  
  3. Live outwardly.  Offer hugs.  Share your ideas.  Be connected and involved with other people.  People who are connected in their communities, with their friends and in their families live longer, healthier, happier lives.  You can look that up, it's totally true. 
  4. Do what you love.  You get one chance at life.  Don't spend every day hating what you do.  Do something that inspires you.  Live your whatever shape that takes.  
  5. Travel.  I don't care if it's to the next town.  Explore the corners of the world that are out of your comfort zone.   
  6. Overcome your fears.  We are designed with built-in fears to protect us from doing stupid things.  But I hope you won't ever let fear prevent you from living your best life.  Pursue adventure in all its forms.  Speak up.  Explore. Say "I love you" first.  
  7. Forgive.  People will hurt you.  Sometimes they'll do it intentionally. Sometimes they'll do it out of their own pain.  Regardless, forgive them.  It's important that you understand that holding on to all the hurts will harden you. Let them go.  People who hurt are hurting and I don't want you to become a hurting person.
  8. Choose a life partner when you're a little older.  You will change.  She will change.  Wait.  Date.  Figure out who you are before you figure out who you want to be with.
  9. Share. If you have something, share it.  It may be money or time or the last cookie in the jar.  I promise you that if you share whatever it is that you have, you will have more of it.  
  10. Eliminate "should" from your vocabulary.  I have lived too much of my life operating on "shoulds."  Sometimes, the shoulds in your life can hurt you.  Should inspires guilt.  And guilt has no place in your life.  
  11. Love one another.  You have this person in your life who really knows you.  Yes, you are markedly different from each other but you have the same shared life.  No one will understand where you come from like your brother.  Brothers love each other.  Try to embrace your differences and celebrate your similarities.
  12. Know how much you are loved.  No kidding...I would give my life for either of you.  And I'm not the only one who feels that way about you.  Love is strength.  Cherish it and know that it's there no matter how much you screw up, how far you go, how mad you are or how alone you feel.  You are loved deeply, passionately and without reservation.  Take that knowledge and go out into the world empowered by it.  It's your safety net.
Reach high, boys.  Understand that everyone on this earth makes choices every. single. day.  You can choose to live your best life or you can choose to play video games in a dark room.  You don't have to be like me.  I just hope with all my heart that you'll choose to love your lives and live them fully.

If you like my blog, share it.  Or Like my FB page to get updates.  Or make a comment below.  If you don't like it, well...just try not to hurt my feelings.  I'm sensitive.

Handy Home Repairs at 1 a.m.

“A broken thing can't fix itself.”
― Dean Koontz

I am a sound sleeper.  So, when Mr. McDougal felt the urge to climb up on my face this morning at 1:00 a.m., I was more than a little surprised.  My addled brain tried to compute all the facts and, in a matter of seconds (I'm smart like that), I surmised that the trembling, furry creature climbing on my face was actually an animal who belongs to me and that something was wrong.

"McDougal?" I asked.  "What on earth is the matter?"

Sparky and Mr. McDougal who is now renamed Fire Dog
Fortunately, for my own sanity, he didn't respond but he did start running around in circles on my bed.  This is odd behavior for a Scottish terrier at 1 a.m., especially this particular guy who runs upstairs when I say anything remotely resembling the word bedtime.

Chirp.  I heard it.  The smoke detector.  Snazzum frazzum friggin grumble grumble.  McDougal paused his frantic running and came back for my face, digging under the covers with me and attempting to hide himself under me, trembling.

I refused to play the game.  "No, Dougal, no.  Just no.  I am NOT getting up right now to change the batteries on the detector.  No."  I pulled the covers over my head.




Fine.  I threw the covers off, picked Mr. McDougal up off the bed and set him on the floor where he immediately broke for the stairs. Grumbling the entire way, I marched down the stairs and let both dogs out before I grabbed a kitchen chair and headed for the stairs.

Me.  On a chair.  At the top of the stairs.  At 1 a.m.  If that doesn't sound like a recipe for disaster, I don't know what does.  I spent the next 30 minutes trying to figure out how to get the detector away from the ceiling, studying the wires holding the detector to the ceiling, reading the warnings about electrical shock, Googling "how to remove A/C connector from smoke detector" and cursing my aching neck, trembling arms and the people who invented smoke alarms.

I assume I have changed these batteries before.  But I obviously suffer from PTSD from the last time because I don't recall anything about the incident.  Sure, sure...I KNOW the rule about changing the batteries when you change the time, blah, blah, blah.  But does anyone actually FOLLOW that rule?  Or do they just wait until the damn thing starts chirping? 

After I finally managed to disconnect the alarm without falling off the chair or down the stairs, I took it downstairs to find a battery.  Since I'd already labeled a container with "Masking Tape and Batteries," I knew where to look.   I found the battery and managed to install it without Googling how to do so (trust me, it's an accomplishment).

I pushed the "test here" button and was immediately sorry because a) it didn't turn off until I figured out I need to push the "hush" button and b) SERIOUSLY, who invented these screechy things?

OK.  New battery installed.  I mentally patted myself on the back and made my way back to my chair to reinstall the detector.


OK.  Wait just a goldurned minute.  I CHANGED the battery.  I DID what I was supposed to do!  I did!  I quickly decided it was chirping because it longed for connection.  It just needed to be reunited with the wires supplying its little load of electrical joy.  So, I figured out how to reattach it to the ceiling and climbed back down off the ladder, looking up at my handiwork with pride.


OH MOTHER OF PEARL.  Furious, I stomped back up on the chair, pulled the thing back off the ceiling and finally managed, without frying myself, to remove the A/C connector once again.  I marched back down the stairs and let the dogs in.

The detector will be fine in the backyard until morning.

If you like my blog, share it.  Or Like my FB page to get updates.  Or make a comment below.  If you don't like it, well...just try not to hurt my feelings.  I'm sensitive.