Traveling and the Irrational Fears

I’ve talked about the lies I sometimes believe. I fight those daily. There is probably another post entirely that I should dedicate to the truths I KNOW to be true, but don’t act on.  One such truth is that the dreading of something is always worse than the doing of it. We put off and put off and put off the things that hang like acid on our stomachs. Taxes, break ups, stepping on the scale, term papers.

For me, this morning, it is Space Bags.

Yes, space bags.

I ordered them from Amazon on the recommendation of two families who travel and said they are life changing. I mean, what could be better than putting some stuff into a bag, applying a vacuum to it, and reducing it’s size by 2/3? Right? For a large family, this is the best thing ever. Except that the box is still unopened. Not a suitcase is packed. Not a space bag is laid out for use. I am paralyzed for some reason. I have an irrational fear of space bags? Maybe.

Maybe it isn’t the space bags at all. Maybe it’s the fact that someone ALWAYS throws up in my car when we go north. Maybe it’s the fact that Typhoid Mary is on meds for Strep and I’m too busy watching the sky for the other shoe to drop to stop and open the space bags. Maybe it’s actually the space bags.

All I know for sure is that when I made my list of what had to happen today, “Clean out the brown chair” was Item #1 and “Clean out refrigerator” was Item #2. Open the space bags and figure them out didn’t even make the list. I’m having some inner prioritization turmoil.

So my plan is, add the space bags to the white board list. CONQUER. Do an awkward victory run around the very clean house before picking up the kids at 2. Blog about how awesome space bags are and how I’m no longer irrationally fearful of them.

Maybe it’s efficiency. I’m scared of efficiency.

Plastic. I bet it’s plastic.

Zip enclosures?

Ok, I’m out.

The Mundane, the miscellanea, and the Monday

I realized tonight, several days too late, that I passed up a goldmine chance to gag you with a pun. Instead of ThrowBACK Thursday last week, which was a post about gross things, I could have entitled it ThrowUP Thursday. Oh, what a difference a preposition makes.


Oh well.

Moving on.

Today, my eastern side of the county kids were out of school for our local strawberry festival. My oldest is not in school on this side of the county, so he didn’t have the day off and said he was JUST FINE with us going ahead without him. (1) I’m slightly offended by the ease in which he pushed us out to sea. (2) OK. I’m over it. We’re going without you. Since AG wasn’t along, we did little kid things. The weather started out perfect. I mean, PERFECT. But by 1 p.m. we felt like we were all wearing lava tunics and were dying for some indoor air conditioning. It was a little embarrassing, really. It was the first time in 12 years of parenting that I have actually gone to a festival on the day they let us out for the festival. It just seemed like the thing to do. And in case you are sitting there feeling slighted because either your mother doesn’t love you enough to take you to a festival or you don’t love your children enough to take them, I will regale you with stories of everything you missed. I mean, do you have time for this? If you don’t have time for this, here’s the short version:

Take Dramamine, park at the church ACROSS from Taco Bell, avoid the ice cream unless you are certified, and get the biscuit.

Now, if that’s not enough for you and you really DO have time for more, here’s the long version:

(1) Stopping in to Publix at 9:45 a.m. saved me $5 on 4 festival tickets. Boo-chaching-YAH.
(2) I drove in to Taco Bell/Pizza Hut, which is a block from the main gate, to park. “Is it $5?” I asked. “$10,” the very hurried dude answered. Um, does that come with 2 Burrito Supremes? Cuz I’m not paying that. The good news is that all I had to do to reduce my parking fee from $10 to $5 was drive 50 feet down a sidewalk against traffic. That was awesome.
(3) I was almost 100% convinced that this post would contain a vomit story after the twisty hot air balloon ride in Kiddieland. Fortunately, the ride ended 30 seconds before that moment. Mama’s Boy was green around the gills, but recovered nicely.
(4) To make themselves feel better about charging $4 for a $1 soft serve cone, they overstuff the cone to accommodate Shaquille O’Neal. This SOUNDS like a good idea, I realize. But when you are 6, 7, and 9 with virtually no frozen dessert skills, the overstuffed thing becomes a recipe for cone-in-trash. Mama’s Boy was the first to go down. Apparently, this is his first ice cream cone. It began dripping before I had even pocketed my change from buying it. Within seconds, it was POURING over the sides of the cone paper. I tried consulting with him, offering advice, using visual aids and very charismatic hand gestures. Nothing was working. It was like a mudslide, people. I mean it. So finally, in an unpremeditated moment, I grabbed the cone and did the around-the-world lick to clean up the drippies. What else could I do? It was going BAD. Well, that was it for him. Oh, forget it, he said. Now you’ve ruined it. Ruined it? What are you talking about? I had to do it? I had to fix it? Now it’s gross. You LICKED it. So I tried to offer my cleaned up version back to him. He wouldn’t take it. So I dropped that overstuffed, licked-clean cone into the bottom of the nearest trash can. The other two cones ended similarly, but took longer to flame out. This was a bit like riding a mechanical bull, only it was, “How long can you lick the confounded cone before IT LICKS YOU?” Huh? Well. Now, I’m really making you jealous.
(5) The strawberry shortcake that I had for lunch almost made up for the ice cream fiasco. I bypassed the slice of pizza and saved myself for the shortcake. Beloved was the only child who would eat “slimy” strawberries, so we just got two of these. We had the choice of shortcake or biscuit as our bottom layer. I chose biscuit and she chose shortcake. Her shortcake disintegrated within about 7 seconds and then who looked like the smart one? I mean, if it’s a contest…and isn’t it always?

The lies I sometimes believe

Ever since Monday night, I’ve been thinking. And ever since I jotted down my thoughts about Rose, I’ve been trying harder to be one. In the wake of memorial services and bad-news emails, perspective is clearer and action is more easily determined. The lines between important and unimportant are clearly drawn.

The trick is to keep going. Next week. April. July. Where will I be in July?

This morning I stayed home with Typhoid Mary–again–because THIS TIME she has strep. HAHAHAHAHAHAHA. Yeah. I know. Ridiculous. There are two schools of thought on contagion with something like this. Quarantine the poo out of them and clean things within an inch of their last layer of finish. OR…Make out with the germy one and expose yourself and get it over with. I know the first method SEEMS so much better and cleaner and righter. But where’s the control in that? I LOSE control. If I smooch the germs, I am taking back control. I am saying, DO YOUR WORST because we are ready! I am saying that YES, we may get sick also, but we chose this. We didn’t want to stay well. We are doing it on our own terms.

That’s stupid. Nobody does that, but I do like to think about it. It’s sort of a Walter Mitty moment for me and I like it.

Typhoid Mary is on meds and acting completely fine now. Jury’s still out on the rest of the inner circle.

So, back to thinking.

Since I’ve been practicing epiphanies since Tuesday, I’ve been also listening to the arguments in my head against making changes. We all have moments where we are standing at the intersection of Self Improvement and I Wash Myself with a Rag on a Stick. In those moments, there are factors that cause you to go down a new path or stay stuck on the old one. For me, sometimes my remaining stuck is based entirely on the lies I hear in my head and then choose to believe. Here are a few of them:

  • This won’t matter. This DOESN’T matter. Oh, yes it will and yes it does. Absolutely it matters. Whether it’s the banana or the cheesecake or the bible reading or the Price is Right or the counting to 10 before putting the child up for sale on Craigslist…it matters. Five minutes matters. Small choices matter. A day is made up of hundreds of small, “this won’t matter” choices. Seven of those days and you’ve got a week. It matters. Make it matter. If you mess up, get up and try again. But try NOW. Because now matters.
  • I should start this tomorrow. I’ve already wrecked today, so I’ll start tomorrow. No. This doesn’t work. It CERTAINLY doesn’t work with dieting. It doesn’t work with much else either. Do it now. Putting off a good decision just creates a few more hours of bad ones. I’m creating a hill that’s almost too high to summit. If you are having the thoughts, then start immediately. Procrastinating is risky at best and crippling at worst.
  • I don’t have an original thought in my head. Actually, this one is mostly true. But that’s okay.
  • Unoriginal thoughts are worthless. Not that many people actually DO have original thoughts. We are all sharing ideas and trying to keep from making the hole in the ozone layer any bigger than it already is. Share those unoriginal thoughts. It’s all good.
  • This is permanent. The way it is now is permanent. No. You can change. IT can change. This too shall pass.
  • I will someday arrive. I keep this one going in the biggest way. I really think I still believe that I am someday going to pull it ALL together in such a spectacular way that I will be able to recognize that I’ve arrived and sit back and enjoy a utopian peace. It’s a fluid journey. I will keep moving and never arrive. I will never be able to get ahead of the obstacles or predict them in such a way as to totally dodge them.
  • I’ll be more useful later. I’m not useful enough in this phase of life. Wait until the babies are all bigger. Gone away. Washing their own armpits. Whatever. Wait. Wait until you are more useful. This is a lie. Don’t wait. You are useful now. I don’t know how. I just know you are. And I am. And I’m figuring out how best to figure that out. If we all look at the Roses in our life and step up our game just a little, we’ll see big changes a year from now.
  • It’s too late to do anything about that. There are times when it really IS too late. As in, I can’t send Rose a note and tell her she’s largely responsible for my recent epiphany. However, most of the time, this isn’t the case. So what if I waited 10 months to introduce myself to the older couple sitting one pew in front of me in church. This is a little embarrassing, but swallow the awkward, woman, and just say something (I’m giving up on you). It’s not too late. Befriend someone. Send a note. Let go of something terrible. Make a change. It’s not too late. And if it IS too late on some front, we can still take a step in the right direction. It’s up to us.
  • Past failures equal future failures. Where fitness is concerned, this one gets me. I’ve been trying to drop 25 pounds of Typhoid Mary and her sister (who’s only like a day older than her…not really) weight for 6 years now. I haven’t accomplished this because it’s hard and I’m tired and I like donuts and many, many other artificially beautiful tasting things. I’m tempted to give up and think that since it hasn’t happened, it won’t. Ever. This is a lie. Again, it’s all in the hundreds of small decisions in my day. I am not destined to fail.
  • I’m good with 5 hours of sleep. Really, I’m not. What happens the next day can vary from drunken knock-knock jokes to grumpy snippiness or bad decisions or snoring in the carline. Five hours of sleep isn’t enough. And since I’m telling myself this lie right this moment, I’m signing off to get a solid 5 1/2. Awesome.