Stuff that bothers me

As I get older I’ve noticed that there are things that bother me enough to where I would just rather not do.

Running

Nope. I had to chase my dog the other day. I can still run. I have had to chase my kids down the street once in a while, and the dog learned just how fast an old man can be on a gravel road while wearing boots. But the next two days after that I could hardly walk. People who run or jog or do marathons voluntarily have my respect, but I think I’d rather walk to my car or bike and greet them at the finish line with a frosty beverage.

Getting my shoes wet

I went fishing yesterday with my son and the dog. They happily splashed around in creeks and rivers and me…I was happy to not have to bend over to take my shoes off, much less just wade in with them. Nothing irritates me more in middle-age than wet socks, or putting dirty, wet feet into dry socks. I just watched them and chucked the line into the river. You know? Fishing?

Talking to people on the phone

Texting has spoiled me. As a writer, I get to put my best method of communication to work in daily conversation (at least when autocorrect isn’t having its way with my words). There are about four people on this planet I don’t mind talking to on the phone. About half of them I actually like video chatting with. But I think years of customer service, tech support, and front desk work have burned me out on the phone. If you need me, text me. I’d rather decipher smoke signals than talk on the phone most days.

Commercials

I haven’t had cable TV in seven years. Whenever I’m at a friends house or at my parents’, I am invariably stuck in front of the TV at some point. For a 22 minute show, there are eight minutes of commercials scattered throughout. And somehow it’s always the same things. Medicine that won’t* give you gills. Laundry soap (by now, everyone should probably just pick from either Tide or whatever else is in the store). Cars nobody can afford. Cell phone plans (which are all the same, right now we are just going Team Lily or whoever else is shilling the same service). Or tortilla chips for some weird reason.

  • *same as sugar pill. Consult your doctor if a long, long list of side effects occur, in spite of the people in the commerical living their best lives.

Traffic

I just despise traffic. Stop lights. Train crossings. People who won’t turn right on a red. Left lane cruisers. Campers driving in long convoys at ten miles an hour under the speed limit because for some reason you have to have a full medical checkup, a Commercial Driver’s Licence, and hours of training to drive a truck or school bus but they will let just anybody buy a literal HOUSE on three axles and pull it behind a diesel pickup truck all over the country. These people are a danger to themselves and others. Also, they are too proud to pull over and let people pass for any reason. If the apocalypse comes, you can count on entire highways being choked to a standstill by these jackwaggons trying to have a pissing contest with each other on a three lane interstate as the radioactive ash blankets all of us just trying to get to safety.

Waiting on other people

A big reason I just go and do things myself is because most people are so wishy-washy about making plans. 9/10 people flake on everything. So, I just don’t ask anymore. If I want to do something, I just do it. No coordinating plans. None of that. I just freakin’ go.

The title never fits when it’s the first thing you write

All these years we’ve been thinking like readers when we sit down to write. As a reader, other than the cover of a book, the first thing you know about any of it is the title. So when we make that transition from reader to writer, we might have some unrealistic ideas of what to expect from ourselves when we are writing. The title encapsulates the book, either from a line of prose that wraps up the entire theme, to something symbolic. I have news for you; the writer didn’t start off with the title. Why? Because as they were writing, it is likely they figured out what it all meant as they were chugging along.

So why is it in life, we think we are supposed to have our lives figured out so early on? I read the blog of a millennial the other day who was putting so much pressure on herself for not having everything laid out by the end of her twenties. I remember that I might have done the same. A friend of mine discussed out our careers need to be established by 27, and how she was already past her prime.

What a load of crap.

Funny how these days, kids can’t be expected to cross the street on their own, sit in the front seat of a car until they can drive it, or do half the things I was able to do on my own at their age. But they have a window of nine years now to figure out their entire lives, including four years of college, and the massive debt associated with that. Oh yeah, don’t forget to get married and start a family too in those years.

Green as the grass and twice as wet behind the ears as a fish.

Tonight I’m feeling a little melancholy. Maybe it’s from two solid days of DIY on the house and not enough writing. I re-walled one of the rooms, floor to ceiling. I threw in some insulation too. Today I made a promise to myself that I wouldn’t do any work on the house. I didn’t do a lot really. Some laundry, visited my folks, slept in, and made acorn squash rissotto. Rissotto is one of those foods that sounds really fancy, and it is tasty, but when you get to brass tacks on it, it’s really just mushy rice.

I would rather have some decent BBQ. Honestly, I don’t know what the big deal with saffron is, I can’t taste it. I can’t even smell it. Never could. Maybe that’s good, because at least I don’t know what I am missing.

Tonight marks an anniversary for me. A year ago, a woman I was seeing at the time and I went on a romantic weekend trip for her birthday. Shortly after that, the whole state was on lockdown. I would only see her once more and then six weeks later, it was all over. It took me a while to get over that one. Someone who said they would always be there…then they weren’t. Something like that makes the walls go up. Since then, my life has changed quite a bit. My job of nearly 19 years ended, I moved back to my hometown because I could no longer afford to live in the Front Range, I got a dog, who at this moment is nagging me to play fetch with her. I have drifted from some people while getting closer to others. I tend to guard myself in talking about these because last year taught me to not get too comfortable sometimes.

Tonight, Facebook brought up a moment in 2018 where my youngest son and my daughter were ice skating. I watched the video and saw the smiles. The genuine smiles. At the time, I wasn’t all that healthy or happy. Bad relationship, bad work environment, a CPS courtroom process finally winding down, resulting in nothing other than a bunch of bureaucrats patting themselves on the back telling each other “Good job!” and nothing being any different.

Six months later, my daughter stopped smiling and stopped coming over to my house. My child support doubled. Work started to look really sketchy as far as job security. The bad relationship I was in finally folded at the end of that year, and it took a while to understand my worth. (She got engaged to someone else six months later–kinda sus).

A year ago tonight, I was sitting in a hot spring with someone I was in a serious relationship with, who may as well have fallen off the face of the earth a week later. I don’t expect a pity party, I just don’t think I could have come up with a title for the last year and the awful and wonderful things that have happened.

The world got crazy and since the St. Patrick’s Day that wasn’t, now everyone hates Dr. Seuss and Mr. Potato Head.

I’m far from being 27 and I know that I don’t have my life figured out. Other than there are a lot of things I wouldn’t want to repeat, and a few I wouldn’t mind going back to once in a while. In some ways I feel truly blessed, and am working every day on how to just let those blessings be good for me. To not push people away because it hurts when they get close. To just be content in the silence of a house I am lucky enough to fix up.

Tonight I’m playing fetch with the dog.

Today was Monday

It’s hard to believe that in just a month, it will be a year of lockdowns, shelter in place, and two weeks to flatten the curve.

I have been too busy lately worrying about much of that. My life these days has already been sort of a shelter in place, since I moved back up to the mountains in my hometown in Colorado, where this time of year, it is too cold to do much else besides stay inside.

I’ve been slowly getting the house in order and yesterday, when I picked my son up in the Front Range, I stopped and got a larger fridge. Right now it’s hard to find a full sized fridge, and if I could, the shipping costs up here would kill me, so I have two mini-fridges now that keep everything just cool enough. I actually like it. One fridge for veggies and leftovers and things I don’t need all the time, and another fridge for milk and meats and things I use all the time. I couldn’t put a turkey in either of them, but I don’t like turkey, so it’s fine.

It gets the job done.

I’ve got a small kitchen, which is very rustic. I am my own dishwasher now. Honestly, I don’t miss having a dishwasher all that much, but it’s usually just my son and me. We had my parents over for dinner a little over a week ago, so there were a few more plates and forks to wash, but otherwise, it doesn’t take much longer to wash a sink full of dishes by hand than it did to rinse everything, load it into the dishwasher and run a load, and likely still not have everything come clean.

There is something to be said about washing your dishes by hand, which I think people are missing out on a little bit. It forces you to take a little time. It’s very meditative.

Tonight I have been organizing, sorting, washing dishes, cleaning cabinets and the stovetop. I have everything just about how I want it with the exception of adding in some counterspace and a different water heater. There are few repairs and renovations to make, but what do you expect out of a 108 year old house?

Some might call this kitchen run down and run in fear, (the same people who are nervous about everything and like to cry about it), but seriously, in some places in Europe, this would be considered rustic, charming, old world. As I’ve said, it’s a work in progress. The way people light their hair on fire about this sort of thing, you’ve think they never saw Under the Tuscan Sun. Not every house is perfect. Not every kitchen is a dream kitchen. It used to be that people just lived and they made due with what they had. There is something to be said of that, and I know that for the last six years, I was very spoiled.

Yesterday I was able to write a little, which felt great. The day before I wrote much, much more. I feel like I’m getting back into the groove again, and maybe that has a little to do with getting settled in. My office is nearly exactly how I need it to be, complete with my Keurig, my books, and now steady wifi signal. Penny spends most of the time with me while I am writing, or bothering me to play fetch. My son does his online schooling in an environment with few distractions and good accoustics. I am hoping to get back into podcasting, but it’s hard to do this when you don’t have guests.

We keep busy, watch shows together, play fetch with Penny, and usually everyday there has been a reason for my folks to come over or for me to drop in and see them. We have lightsaber fights and walk the dog a few times a day, where she often just sniffs around in the snow until we have to go back inside. Once the weather warms up, I’ll get cracking on more renovations, but right now, the idea of having the doors and windows open to ventilate paint fumes is not putting me in my happy place.

It’s strange how the family landscape changes. We don’t watch a lot of tv. If we do watch together, it’s in the office and it’s Disney Plus or Netflix. We sit close in a little room and I don’t miss having a big TV or a couch. I think in some ways these things have divided families over the years.

Everyone needs a den!

There are some things to get used to. The altitude is one. Not really for breathing, since we’ve acclimated, but more how things cook. Heat dissipates so much more quickly, so it takes about ten minutes to boil a pot of water instead of four or five. Once dinner is ready, you eat fast if you like hot food, because it cools off very quickly. Sometimes the wind is awful, but this house has weathered through over a hundred winters, and probably has another hundred in it.

There is something nice about not having to sit through stop lights at intersections, or having to spend money for ANY kind of entertainment. In the city, boredom usually motivated us to go on the town and buy just random stuff to keep us entertained. We haven’t really felt that urge here. Trips to bigger towns are planned out, since they don’t happen very often and everything up here is expensive anyway, so you try to economize. $50 gets you a lot further in the city when it comes to groceries in the city than it does here, but jeez, to have to fight the traffic down there just to get anywhere…I’m not sure if it’s worth it sometimes.

For now, i think I like visiting the city, and I’ll stick to my mountain town for home.