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Memories: The Architecture of Our Identity

Today, we are sitting at our desks, plugging away. 

The beehive is zinging and the air outside so bitter, so cold, it’ll snatch the breath from your lungs.  The sky tinged with hints of sun, I watch another man pause in the parking lot, as if it’s his only moment of happiness for the day. 

This morning I listened to frozen rain pelt the bedroom window.  My dog lifted his head up and then promptly laid it on my hip, with a heavy sigh.  I rubbed the back of his neck while whispering, “I know, I know. Who wants to go today? I’d rather stay here.”  I fumbled in the dark again, tip toeing on the tile as always.  As my husband says, “Shit, shower, shave- let’s get a move on!”

Each maneuver feels as if I’m in a waiting line.  A ticket to be handed in, the anticipation of the ride rolling up my shins and into my stomach.  Today however, I just hand in my ticket and stare blankly.  The waiting line just moves in continuous turns. I dim my spirit, I snuff out the dream today.

My car is covered in ice and chunks of frozen snow. In the dark, as the engine warms the rest of the body, I exhale.  My breath escapes my mouth in little puffs.  I watch as they disappear almost as quickly as they emerged.  I drive in the dark again, listening to the frozen leaves crunch beneath the weight of the car.  At the second red light, I hear screaming ice as I shatter it’s smooth surface.  The wind is not howling, it is wailing.  A desperate plea for rest, which will not come.

The morning and afternoon has moved along like a well oiled machine.  I’ve made sure the rusty can is full and set next to me at all times.  I try to figure out my next move and I find myself scribbling half worded poems:

Your dreams stack on top of one another. Little failures in missionary position. Like sex on a Monday night. 

My pen makes additional scribbles and scratches.  I find myself hesitating on what I want to say next, so I tuck the pen behind my ear and fold the paper back into fours.  This is how I write during the day.  One sheet of paper, folded in half longwise and again in half- as if I’m tucking the words in for a nap.  Sometimes I wonder that if I continue to tuck them in like that, if they’ll wake up refreshed and ready to be known.

As the beehive here settles into a calm hum, I find myself wishing for the hot sting of the sun on my thighs.  The roar of the ocean as it comes closer to shake the shore’s hand. The delicate way I slumber in a chair as my toes bury themselves in the cool sand.  There are a few who join in and agree with me, while others wiggle into their scarves declaring the wailing wind and murderous cold their favorite time of year. 

With a quick, unnoticed sigh, I take stock of what’s in front of me and whisper a thank you.

 

 

 

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DIY: A Busted Ass

This:

 

Make a Stool Using Old Magazines, Two Belts, and a Pillow

Oh what’s that? You want to make a step stool all by yourself?

You want to do so using all those old subscriptions of Ladies Home Journal, Bloomberg and Cosmo? Do it! Then tie a belt around it! But before you finish, don’t forget the throw pillow! It’s soooooo cute! *squee!*

Dude, this has disaster written all over it.

As someone who grew up in a time when sitting on phone books in a restaurant was considered “normal,” I can’t tell you how many times I nearly lost all my teeth to a table top or bit my tongue in half because I tried to shimmy my way to comfort.  Slick magazines + small human = disaster.

So, go on and make that step stool/ottoman and let me know how you feel after you bust your ass. Because you know that once you step on it to hang those decorative plates, it’ll be lights out.

Good luck!

 

Posted in Home, Life

Gravy & Ice

First things first :

It’s raining.

It’s cold.

The weatherman mentioned a “wintery mix” this week.

This means only one thing:

That’s exactly what it’s like living in the South.  Even the tiniest mention of snow and there is panic.  Worry.  What the hell are you going to do with all that milk and bread anyway? Because I’ll tell you what, without eggs, you’ve got some pretty shitty french toast.

We’ll see what happens in the morning.  My commute to and from work is going to be a bear, so I’m ready to hunker down in my car with some jazz and plenty of snacks.  I’d say I’d pack extra drinks, but I learned the hard way that you just do not need to drink that much water before driving home.  Man.

For the most part, we rarely see accumulation.  Sure, we see it in the sky. We see it dust our cars.  What we don’t see is enough of it to make igloo’s in the front yard or snowmen or even a decent snowball fight.  I’ve lived in the South since I was twelve.  I’ve lived in Atlanta now for four years.  And in that time, have I seen enough snow to make a snowball. Twice. Actually, I take that back.  There was enough snow that accumulated once on my patio table out back, so I put a sixer of beer in the snow. Mmmm frosty beers!

Then I made some snowballs.

Oh and snow cream! Yes yes y’all!

When I was younger, we lived in the suburbs of Detroit.  We had a plastic square with a handle on one end so that we could make our own igloos.  That was badass you guys.  Although, I don’t recall if my parents ever told us not to get too comfy in there so we wouldn’t fall asleep and suffocate.  Or something like that.  I’m not sure.  We wore snowsuits and moon boots.  Something that is pretty much foreign to my son.  Hell, when he was a toddler, it snowed so much back in Tennessee that I had to go old school with his mittens.  That’s right, I put two pairs of socks on his tiny hands.  Keepin’ it real you guys.

Some winters I miss the snow.

And by miss it, I mean the Thomas Kinkade type snow- where everything is pure and untouched. As if you could listen closely, you’d hear the soft lullaby of winter hushing you while you sipped on hot cocoa.  That’s how I like to think about snow.  Not the crazy piss tinged, grey and mushy, sort of smells like a mechanics shop snow.  No, no.  We’ll have none of that.

So tomorrow, maybe I’ll get forecast lucky and see snow.

Maybe touch it.

Right as I run screaming into Kroger about how I need to buy milk and bread.

 

 

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Bones

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m never without my notepad and pen.  Alright, maybe sometimes I can’t find a pen, but I make due with what’s near by (crayons/eyeliner/lipstick).

Friday I was driving home in the dark, which I hate. I leave for work in the dark, watch the sunrise in traffic and drive home in the dark.  It’s my typical cycle of life.  As I was watching the slow decline of movement ahead, I started to space out a little. A daydream in the dark or what have you.  Then, out of no where, a poem slammed itself right into my mouth and I was trying to dig for my notebook.  Only it was dark and even though I was sitting there in traffic not moving, I knew I’d never find a pen.  That’s exactly how it happened.  One moment, I’m staring at the vast sea of red brake lights and the next moment, I’ve got this poem jumping around inside me and I know, I know it’s going to be great.

So I did the next best thing and dictated the poem to myself via my phone.

I kept thinking about the poem the entire commute home.  Saying bits and pieces of it, how I could make it better, how I could put those words down and drag you into me with them. 

You guys,  I’m so excited about it’s potential.  Like the architect of an older home, this has good bones.  The beauty is there, the sentiment is there, the oomph to your gut, it’s there.

I want to punch it out right here, but I am waiting.  There is much to be mulled over and this time, I want to research a few additional points to make sure I’m right. 

The excitement though, it kept me going the entire commute. As if I was just reaching up and plucking the words out of the sky and putting them into a basket in my lap.  Even this morning when I looked over my notes, I still felt solid about this one.  Rarely do I feel this way about something I’ve written.  While the content isn’t one of those feel good things, the words… they are capturing it all. 

I’m stoked, so stayed tuned!

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized

Are You Down

Saturday morning, there was no desire to get off the couch.  I had fallen asleep on the love seat at some point Friday night with the dog curled up in the crook of my leg.  He knows when I’m down for the count and will rarely leave my side.  I laid there, watching the news and checking my email for the better part of an hour before I finally got up.  That didn’t last long, so I retreated back to the couch and burrowed under the afghan my Mom made around the time my brother was born. Twenty eight years of warmth in that thing. I love it.

Eventually I fell back asleep, only to have my husband wake me up with a steaming cup of hot tea.  I took one sip, looked up at him and said, “Did you put whisky in this?”  He smiled.  “Hot toddy for the hot wife.” Breakfast never tasted so good.  The thing with this cold is that it just won’t go away.  I feel better, then I don’t.  I quit coughing and then I can’t stop.  My voice vanishes, then it comes back.  Saturday night, after staying up and drinking bourbon with my friends, I decided that I’d put an end to all this sickness and swing by the minute clinic.

They opened at 11 a.m.

I was there at 10:55 a.m., third in line.

When it was finally my turn, it was after twelve in the afternoon.  The nurse swabbed my throat to clear me of having strep (I don’t). She asked all the questions, even the “Is your blood pressure always this low? Good God!”  Yes. It’s always that low. It’s like I’m the walking dead.  Prognosis? You have a cold. 

Awesome.

I took my prescription to the pharmacy, only to have them tell me they don’t have what was prescribed.  What the actual hell people. I left and got home at 1:30 pm. The first half of my day was spent at the Minute Clinic, sleeping in a plastic chair, propping my head between my scarf and the end cap of aisle four. 

The rest of my day I spent laying on the couch with the dog.  I watched several movies and after finishing The Longest Yard, took a steaming hot shower.  I retreated back to the couch. Back to the blanket. Back to sipping whisky in an espresso cup.  In the late afternoon, I drove back up to the pharmacy to drop off my prescription.  They said it would be fifteen minutes.  It took forty five.  I slept some more in the plastic chair with my head against the end cap of aisle four. 

The remainder of the night, was… you guessed it, laid up on the couch drifting in and out of sleep.  I did manage to go outside and see the Christmas lights my husband put up.  We’ve never decorated the outside of our place before.  Yes, I realize it’s a little early.  However, we’ll be traveling quite a bit in the next month, so why not get a leg up on the situation.  Also, how brilliant are netted lights? I’m not big on Christmas, but I felt a little twinge of happiness in seeing the lights.  I’m still waiting to spend a Christmas on an actual vacation.  Just like the Kranks.  

And here we are, Monday morning.  

The co-workers and I are comparing cough medicine and trading Ricola’s like baseball cards.  We’ll be working late this week and I’m not impressed with the weatherman’s prediction of “wintery mix” for my commute to Nashville.  Yknow, I’m just not going to worry about any of it anymore.  Some shit you just can’t control.

Stay toasty friends, cheers

Posted in Uncategorized

An Entire Day: Too Damn Slow

This morning when my alarm went off at 4:30, I felt like a weight was laying on my chest.

Maybe a small child. 

A large dog.

A slumping stack of wet towels.

My husband laid his arm over my chest and pulled me to him.  I hit snooze three times. He hit snooze four times.  I whispered, “I don’t want to get out of this bed.”  He said, “I don’t want you to get out of this bed.”

I went back to sleep for another hour.

At quarter till six, with the dark still seeping in through the tops of the window, I shuffled into the bathroom.  No lights. Not today. I maneuvered in the dark. On my tip toes, as the tile floor is bitterly cold in the winter. I cut the shower on and turned the knob over to scalding before shuffling back out of the bathroom, out of my room, down the hall and into my son’s room.

Opening the door, I see the outline of his ever growing frame. His toes peek out from under the blanket. His ankles look as if they’re hanging off a cliff.  “Wake up love. It’s nearly six, come on…” I say as I shake his foot.  I shuffle back to the bathroom and as I peel my clothes off, I sigh deeply.  Before getting in the shower, I stick my arm in to make sure it’s hot (as if the rolling steam out of the top of the glass doors couldn’t tell me that already).

My body aches. My eyes feel like heavy rocks in my skull.  I notice my blinks are long and drawn out.  Resting my head against the shower wall, I consider calling out of work.  I don’t and instead, I make my way back into the bedroom and kiss my husband.  He sleeps so peacefully, his left hand tucked under his face.  I watch him breathing.  I look at his long eyelashes.  His two day old beard. I kiss his face more.  Little kisses over and over, until a smile creeps up and he opens one eye. 

“Time to get up,” I say. “It’s after six.” 

We are all up and in various stages of the morning.  Like a rusted out machine, we clank and clatter along.  There is no beehive buzzing within us yet. 

Packing lunches, I stop to kiss the side of my son’s stubbly face.  “You need to shave!”  He laughs and tells me that it’s No Shave November.  I entice my dog Murphy with a treat, he gives me high five.  I kiss my husband again, he winks at me and I try to wink back. We all tell one another goodbye, sealed with love and wishes of having a great day.

My car is cold and it’s still dark outside, but the street lights show me the fog hanging around.  On my drive into work, I get stuck behind a school bus. Eventually I’m able to turn left and go the speed limit (if not a little more).  I stop in at the coffee shop and sleepily, I tell the owner Good Morning.  He says I look like Zooey Deschanel with my new glasses.  I laugh.  I tell him he’s half the man I remember from last year, as he’s lost so much weight.  His cheeks turn pink.

I order a large Americano in a small cup (four shots, 1/4c water maybe). 

The car is warmer.  The traffic begins.  Highway Patrol is out and about, as the Thanksgiving holiday is fast approaching.  Nothing causes gridlock faster than an appearance from the city’s finest.  The fog still hangs around and the sun never seems to rise. I drive in silence, sipping my coffee, enjoying the quick breath of the morning. 

I am on the fence on whether or not I’ll feel better by nine a.m.

A semi truck cuts me off, nearly taking my front bumper with him.  I raise my coffee cup in a slow, deliberate cheers. Rounding the curve off the exit, merging with others.  Yesterday I was stuck next to a white Maserati in traffic.  Today I am behind a muted gray mini van with stickers for the local high school Lacrosse team. 

At work, the beehive begins to stir. Coworkers start to shuffle in.  By nine a.m. we realize the entire department has this cold. The one where it feels like we’re wearing three layers of wet clothes.  Four people tell me their eyes feel like rocks in their skull.  We take turns coughing into crooks of our arms. 

It sounds like a Minute Clinic waiting room over here.

The sun is still trying to show face.  Playing Peek-a-boo with our internal feel good meter.  Lunch is served.  Everyone is trying to be cautious because we all have this cold. I watch guys shuffle off with plates of food. I am not hungry, but I eat anyway.   We all work- through the dragging feeling, through the paperwork, through the grey skies.

I’m letting music seep through my eardrums, down into my body.  Pushing on, pushing the limits, pushing, pushing.

The last day of the week shouldn’t be this way, but soon we’ll all shuffle out of this place. Into our chilled cars, into seven lanes of brake lights and middle fingers.  I’ll watch the sunset again at the halfway mark, the darkness creeping up my hood and squeezing me through the windshield.

I’ll stumble through the back door, kick my shoes off, kiss the side of my son’s stubbled face and kiss my husband hard. We’ll have supper, stretch out on the furniture, watch television or listen to jazz while we read books.  The dog will want to play with his green doughnut. We’ll try to stay awake through a movie.  The blankets though, oh the blankets. They’ll pull you into warmth and relaxation. They will carry us off to sleep.  Carry us off so that our eyes don’t feel like rocks and our limbs don’t ache.  The blankets will carry us off into Saturday.

And when I wake up, I’ll look over at my sleeping husband and know, that we don’t have to get up early. We don’t have to sit in chilly cars or fight traffic.  We’ll pull the blankets over our heads and sleep till our bodies are refreshed. 

Then, and only then, will we begin the weekend.