Message received…loud and clear

I shared with you the tale of how I let a spider live.  Some days I feel magnanimous and let bygones be bygones.  I also consider myself quite talented in several life fields.  This includes preparing fantabulous (my new dictionary word) meals and entertaining children, (and fostering dust bunnies).  Yes, my loud-mouth ways have created a relaxing and reassuring area for anyone that comes into contact with me.  I consider myself quite the Connoisseur of the Comfort Zone.  And yet for some reason, unbeknownst to me, I kill EVERY PLANT that is under my care!  WHHHHHHHHHHHHY?!

Yes, I am sure you could palpably feel and hear me howling out this unnerving reality.  There are so many things that I am good at and yet keeping these beautiful treasures alive is something that is beyond me.  It starts off in a positive way.  I make sure they are stationed in a prestigious area of the home where they can be observed lovingly on a daily basis.  Their beautiful, colourful petals are bathed in the warmth of the morning and afternoon sun.  My frail subjects seem to sway with joy at being so adoringly taken care of.  They bloom happily for about a week and then suddenly, I mean really suddenly, it all starts to change.

I consider myself a very happy and warm person.  Adults, children, even animals, like being in my company.  It is only when flora comes into my realm that something changes.  Maybe it’s because I down fawn over them every minute of every day.  Flowers can be quite particular about how much C02 they need to consume daily.  Maybe I’m not breathing on them often enough.  Maybe the space I have chosen for them isn’t close enough to the window.  It doesn’t seem to matter what type of plant it is.  Anything with petals seems to want to commit hari-kari after hanging out with me for awhile.  Is it me?  Do I smell funny?

The reason I bring up this shortcoming of mine is because another one bit the dust…literal dust…on the weekend.  It was a beautiful purplish hydrangea.   I had received it as a gift on Mother’s Day.  I had received a lovely, vivacious pink one on Easter. Rest in Pieces.  Having a new violet coloured one was like getting a second chance.  It’s almost as if the pink one had requested that the universe send me a new one so I could redeem myself and forgo my killer ways.  All for naught.

I will never forget the cherished time I had spent with Pinkie…my Easter flower.  Ahhhh, she was lovely, in a coquettish sort of way.  She was playful and lively.  She preened in the sunlight.  Such a spectacle she made of herself when the dawn’s rays shone upon her. Maybe she thought I was jealous of her.  Maybe she believed I didn’t deserve her.  All I know is that after I decided to research how much water she should be getting everything changed.

After gathering sufficient knowledge from the world wide web, I inserted my finger gently into the soil that housed Pinkie and discovered that it was dry; too dry.  Google told me that she needed to be very hydrated.  I was going to make sure she would live to be transplanted into the great outdoors so that all the birds and animals could enjoy watching her bloom and grow.  Again, all for naught.

I had read somewhere that plants didn’t like very cold water so I made sure that my Pinkie would have a tepid water refill.  I carried my water vessel to her pot and gently poured the contents in.  She absorbed everything as if she had never tasted water before.   Was it enough?  Did she need more?  How much did she have last time?  When was the last time she was watered?  So many questions that I did not have an answer for.  I cautiously felt the soil again.  It didn’t feel very damp.  I made an abrupt executive decision.  More water.  In hindsight, it was a fatal decision, but hindsight is always 20/20.

The day after I had quenched Pinkie’s insatiable thirst her flowers began to shrivel and dry out.  How was this possible?!  How can something dry up AFTER you water it.  It didn’t make sense!  Logically, in my head, this was inconceivable.  I realized that this was an evil plot.  It was karma getting even with me.

Poor Pinkie

One day, after spending lots of time trimming back my African violets, and tying up my purple velvet plant, I decided that the plants were taking up way too much of my valuable time and precious living space.  This realization came after one of the pots tipped when the dogs ran into it.  Dirt everywhere!  Game over!  Dogs in and plants out.  At first I worried since I kept plants to keep good oxygen in the house.  Plants were (are) great oxygen producers.  Well, we are still here and we have no plants.  Even if I wanted them, they don’t want to live here anymore.  They arrive here and then they die.  Kind of like Death Row for foliage.  I think I have finally received the message.

You see, you can have something in your life and not appreciate it so you get rid of it thinking you won’t miss it.  But sometimes you find that you do miss it and would like it back in your life.  It is then that you will discover you can’t have it back.  Sometimes the decision is not yours to make.  It will be made for you.

Then again, sometimes you need to get the message, process it, and move on.  Everyone, I’d like you to give a warm welcome to Spike.  My new housemate and non-plant.  Spike has been with me since December 2017 (5 months of compatible bliss).  Message received…loud and clear.

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Best Mom Ever…

Happy Mother’s Day to all you mom’s out there.  Hopefully this ONE day of the year you are getting treated to breakfast in bed (without having to clean up the kitchen mess).  You are getting creations made by your children (that you will cherish forever even if they find the macaroni art totally dorky later in life).  You are getting beautiful flowers (that you aren’t allergic to).  Basically, I hope you are getting spoiled and cuddled and loved.   I hope you are feeling like the “good guy” instead of the warden of your real life prison.  You see, being a mom is THE toughest job in the world with the least amount of accolades and awards.  Why do women do it?

Now, let’s look at this one day of the year that we honour and celebrate those heroes of child rearing.  Again, I am generalizing and focusing on those women who do actually care about their children and want to nurture them and help them grow into functioning rational adults.  There are those who would tsk-tsk stay-at-home moms as they are not bringing home any kind of income or helping with financial burdens like mortgages or groceries.  But, I am betting that many a stay-at-home mom would LOVE to swap a week out of the house with you, the bread-winner, so that she could have regular sleep hours and a regular lunch hour and just any break that the working class stiff can get.

Mom’s dream:  alarm clock wakes you up.  Yeah…it’s that’s simple.  It’s not a wailing child who is wet or hungry or both that awakens you.

Mom’s dream:  At the end of the week, if the child is still alive and well, she gets a paycheck.  Mission accomplished.  Job well done!

Mom’s dream:  Dress up for work.  Wow…fancy!  No spit up on your clothes.  No food or drinks spilled on you.  What a beautiful dream.

Mom’s dream:  A civilized lunch.  Not eating up the leftovers on your kid’s plate.  You know…the half chewed stuff they didn’t finish.  A nice warm meal and you get to finish it while it’s hot.  Oh and you don’t have to share it with anyone.  Especially if there is a cookie or chocolate or something to go with it.  It’s all yours!  You don’t have to hide in the bathroom or the closet to eat it.

Mom’s dream:  Pee in peace.  OMG to actually go to the bathroom and not have someone knock on the door or have a toddler crying because you left the room.  Pee in peace.  No rushing at all!

Mom’s dream:  Talking to adults.  Yeah, no reciting the alphabet or singing rhymes.  You can talk about tv shows (not Paw Patrol or Disney stuff), but things like Game of Thrones or Grey’s Anatomy, or [insert tv show you would love to watch and talk about if you weren’t so tired].

Mom’s dream:  Sleeping.  Actually sleeping.  NOT tossing and turning in bed, running through the list of things that need to get done.  It’s not just your stuff to think about, but you have to think for your kids as well because Mother’s are preventative thinkers.  We think about worst case scenarios before they even happen because that way we can fix it when it happens because we predicted it was going to happen.  Why do they call the big purses Momma bags?  Because we have EVERYTHING in there.  That tote has more first aid items in it than a Doctor’s bag.

Mom’s dream:  not having to carry a Momma’s purse.  Our shoulder’s would be so much happier.

Mom’s dream:  telling the kids to do something ONCE and have it happen.  Yup, just ONCE.  Go to bed.  Eat your dinner.  Come inside.  Go outside.  Get in the car.  Put your toys away.  Come take your bath.  JUST ONCE!

Mom’s dream:  Hearing your child say, “You are the best mom ever!  I love you.”  Yes, that is the ultimate dream.

For every tired mom with babies and toddlers you remember the morning sickness, the tiredness, the back aches, the swollen ankles, some even had bedrest.  The labour…OH DEAR GOD…the pain of actual birth.  Then the joy of that little bundle, so helpless in your arms.  YOU…mom…were the one that swore nothing would ever hurt that little angel in your arms.  You kept your promise.  The sleepless nights.  The multiple feedings.  You cherished that bundle and watched it grow.  It went from crawling to walking to running.  It went from cuddling and hugging to cutting the mommy-cord and wanting to be free.  Mom, you kept your promise.  No matter what, you would stand on the sidelines with your overprotectiveness because you made a promise, a long time ago to that little one, and you would never break that promise (even though some days you would want to end that kid’s life yourself).  You both survived.

From infant to toddler to tween to teen to adulthood.  No matter how grown up, that child will always be mom’s baby.  These kids will have children of your own which just doubles the babies in mom’s life.  Every mom knows that your child will grow up, but it never really does.  As moms we celebrate the accomplishments and their grown up lives and are happy that they’re happy because that was always the main goal…their happiness.

So, on this one day of the year that is called Mother’s Day, most mom’s don’t want stuff.  They want their child, the one that never grew up (but actually did) to just smile and hug her and tell her that “You are the best mom ever!  I love you.”

HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!  To all you wonder-mom’s out there.  You have persevered in a thankless job, with no pay increases, no vacation time, no punch out clock, and best of all, absolutely no manual to refer to.  Kudos to every single one of you.  You’re doing it right if you’re doing it with love.  That’s all that matters in the end.

 

It’s all in the delivery…

Everyday life is entertaining.  Today, I am here to share with you a short story of a real life event and the jangledness (my new dictionary word) of my brain in computing the meaning of everyday sentences.

It was a day like any other day; only it wasn’t.  I awoke perceiving this day to be like an ordinary uneventful day, but that changed very quickly into a forever-etched-in-my-memory day.   Why?  I had heard something, thought I had misheard it, then realized I had heard it correctly and proceeded to laugh, doubling over in the agony of unceasing laughter.  Now that you are befuddled, let me draw you into this wonderful world of my brain and how it works.

My niece came to visit me.  This was kind of new, but not especially, as she has visited in the past.  Her husband came along.  That was new, but it really has no relevance to my story.  She has a three year old daughter (sooooo cute and dramatically delightful), and a 6 month old son (yummily adorable) and they were there too.   It is due to my niece’s desire to make her little girl happy, that my humdrum day morphed into a positively hilarious day in a matter of seconds.

It was a Sunday.  Actually, it was Easter Sunday.  My niece and her family were visiting and we were just finishing up eating lunch when my niece began telling me of a wonderful place to buy and sell items.   It is on Facebook.  It’s a section called Marketplace.  Basically, you post pictures of stuff you want to sell, or you search for items you would like to buy.  Neat!  She then continued to share the joyous tale of how she had scored a great buy for her adorable little daughter.  A coveted, two-foot high doll that she bought for a remarkably incredible price.  And this, dear friends, is where my ordinary, uneventful day, went from zero to hero in seconds flat.

First, I need to tell you about the most coveted doll in North America.  The original doll was called the American Girl doll.  This two-foot wonder costs anywhere from $80.00 to $300.00 or more.  She has outfits you can purchase for her (also stylishly and heftily priced).  There are things your child and the doll can do together like go to the Hair Salon.  Oh, the styling is not for your child, it’s for the DOLL to get HER hair done.  There are spa features and parties you can plan for your doll; for a nice little price.  What little girl wouldn’t want this super cool doll with a whole new life-style of her own?

With the fantastically great sale of this toy it was only a matter of time until the copycat dolls were rolled off the assembly line.  These little beauties were priced a wee bit lower than their original counterpart.  Finding a good deal for this doll was (and is) quite a challenge.  Enter Facebook Marketplace.

As my niece was perusing items for sale on Facebook Marketplace she noticed a pretty doll, similar to the American doll called a Journey Girl doll.  Asking price?  $3.00.  Wha-what???  Was this a posting error?  Why so cheap?  Well, my niece had to check into this deal.  After contacting the seller she discovered that the price was correct.  The lady selling the doll was moving to another country and did not want to pack and ship all the kids toys.  Some things just had to go.  So the lady confirmed that the Journey Girl doll was for sale for $3.00.  Well wonder of wonders and call her Super Mom, because my niece was gung-ho to get this doll for her beloved little toddler.

“I couldn’t believe the deal I got!” explained my niece excitedly.  “But then when I got there I realized why the price was so low,” she paused, took a sip of her coffee, “she smoked.”

“Ummmm….what?”  I asked, stupefied.  My brain heard the sentence.  My brain was computing the statement and then my runaway train mind ran off the rails as it pictured the innocent little Journey Girl doll with a cigarette dangling from her bottom lip.  My lips began to quake.  My eyes began to water.  My belly shook like a bowl full of jelly.  I was laughing hysterically; internally.

“Are you ok?” inquired my niece.

“BAAAAAA HAAAAAA HAAAAA!” I guffawed out loud and took a huge intake of breath.  (*inquisitive look from my niece*) I shook my right hand back and forth in the air, as I gasped for oxygen.  I needed to explain what was OBVIOIUSLY so funny because apparently she had not heard it.

Oh, yes, I knew she meant the person who “smoked” was the lady selling the doll, but read that sentence over again and you can see why my addled brain took the road to that funnier conclusion.

After I finally composed myself into an almost normal human being, I retold the story to all those present.  The gentlemen in the room agreed with my interpretation and the LOL-ing continued.  My beloved niece lowered her eyes at us.  The look of “it’s not THAT funny” being understood.

That tale reminds me of something else I read.  I hope you enjoy this one as much as I do.

Wife:  Honey, please go to the supermarket and get a carton of milk.  If they have bananas, get 6.

Husband returns with 6 cartons of milk.

Wife:  Why the hell did you buy 6 cartons of milk?!

Husband (confused):  BECAUSE THEY HAD BANANAS

Um…yeah.  Get it?  Got it?  Good.

So, next time remember, it’s not what you say, but how you say it.  It’s all in the delivery.

I Let A Spider Live…

IT’S FINALLY HERE! SPRING!  One day there are flurries…you know…little white snowflakes falling leisurely from the sky and the next day…BAM!  Flowers are starting to peek out from under the earth.  The warm weather has teased them out of their winter reverie. It has even coaxed us regular human beings out of our winter cocoons (parkas).  Our pale, white skins craving the warmth and UV rays of the sun.  Ah….spring.  The beginning of a new season!  The rebirth of the world! Oh joy!  Oh bliss!  AHHHHHH!  SPIDER!!!!

I don’t know why, but every year I seem to be unsuspectingly shocked when I see the First Spider of Spring.  Yes, I have given it a special, almost regal, title.  There is a plethora of bugs in our world from ants to millipedes to centipedes to mosquitos and earwigs.  Soooooo many icky bugs and so much accompanying scream-time when I see them.  What is it about teeny tiny insects that makes me go to pieces?

I am sure there are many of you who believe I am just being childish or perhaps even overdramatic about my bug phobia.  Well, it’s actually not a phobia.  I don’t fear them.  Let’s just say that I view them in a very unique sort of way.

I have a very vivid and overactive imagination.  I’ve had it since I was knee-high to a grasshopper.  (Note:  that was something else I was terrified of…grasshoppers).  Being an avid reader, I used to read stories about bugs that transformed into ginormous monsters and wreaked havoc throughout the world.  Make believe though it was, those beetle-bugs ended up in my nightmares.

Being a smarty-pants, I also craved to learn new things.  This led to my folly of reading about insects and their livelihoods.  Especially memorable was a children’s magazine where the centrefold was an earwig.  Not a cartoon picture, but a large colour portrait of its grotesque face and it’s hairy tentacles.  *spine-chilling-body-shake*  It’s still there now…burned into my memory bank forever.  I read about how earwigs would crawl into your ear; hence their name.  Greeeeeeat children’s magazine.  Learned soooooo much about how NOT to sleep at night thinking about how an earwig was going to invade my brain space.  UGH!!!!  Why wasn’t there a warning label on that article!  Forsooth, the hazards of being a studious (nerdy) child.  The more I learned about insects, the more I feared them.  The older I got, the louder my screams became.  Cause and effect right?

In order to overcome my fear I learned the importance of shoe-to-bug combat.  We women have these wonderful high-heeled shoes which triangle-tip toes (also known as Cockroach Killers).  These are FANTASTIC at getting Corner Bugs.  What is a Corner Bug?  This is any type of creepy-crawly that attempts to hide in clear view believing that staying in a tight corner will dissuade us from trying to slay them.  They are sly, smart little buggers.  They are also dead buggers once I get my handy-dandy whack-a-bug shoe out.  WHAM!  Deceased bug.

Oh sure, I sound brave, but when it comes to Crunchy Bugs, I cringe.  What is a Crunchy Bug?  No, you don’t eat them.  Well, maybe in some countries you do, but in North America you kill them.  Crunchy Bugs are insects that have a shell to protect their soft little underbodies.  Beetles are a good example of this.  Earwigs (shake uncontrollably with fear) are the BEST example.  (I still shiver thinking about the Earwig Invasion of 2003.)  The first time I saw an earwig it was lazily moving around my window sill.  I grabbed my handy Corner Bug killer weapon and struck mightily at the intruder.  C-R-U-N-C-H!  What the hell was that sound?!   It sounded like I broke someone’s back!  Worse still…it kept moving!!!  What kind of alien insect was this?  As my attempt at insecticide was an utter failure I moved on to plan B.   AAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!  The loud, girly Damsel in Distress Scream!  That did the trick!  No, the high pitched shriek didn’t do it.  The blood curdling holler got my brother upstairs tout-suite and he whacked it out of existence.  R.I.P.

What happened during The Earwig invasion of 2003?  During spring cleaning I had accidentally loosened the baseboard in my kitchen with my vacuum cleaner and an army of earwigs spilled into my kitchen.  My first reaction was the tried and true Damsel in Distress screaming.  This was accompanied  by the high-cardio left/right leg interval jumping up and down move.  With no one else at home to assist me, it was time for me to come up with plan C to thwart the oncoming assault.  The thought of striking the earwigs and hearing that awful C-R-U-N-C-H left me immobile with fear.  I stood there watching as the parade continued and my honey-coloured tile floor became streaked with little chains of marching black bug bodies.  Serendipitously, I looked at my vacuum cleaner handle and resolutely turned the hose on those pesky varmints.   One by one the imposing mob was sucked up into oblivion!  Well, not oblivion.  It was more like transported to another worldly location…namely my vacuum canister that was in the garage.  I had a Central Vac system.  Oh blessed, happy day!  I just hoped they wouldn’t crawl back out.  I remedied THAT by ensuring Wiseguy emptied the canister.  Good plan Earwig Eraser!  (Oh yeah…superhero name for me that day!)

Years have gone by and I have reprogrammed my fear factor regarding bugs.  It started when I had to be braver than the children.  Oh yeah…when a seven year old screams about bugs Super Mom jumps in to save the day (and hyperventilates behind closed doors afterward).  I learned to C-R-U-N-C-H bugs and like it!  I have annihilated ants.  I have squished and squashed millipedes.  I have smushed spiders.  I have also learned to have some compassion and let fate or luck have a go.  Negotiation.  It’s my newest policy.

Take for example, my AAAAAAAAHHHHHH SPIDER! meeting.  I walked into the bathroom and noticed the brand new icky, beige coloured spider on my wall.  AAAAAHHHHH! reaction first.  Then my pondering on life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.  It’s spring!  The rebirth of the world and all that jazz!  Shouldn’t the spider get to enjoy this new life?  I debated the amount of time it would take for me to get a weapon to slay this squatter.  Then my imaginative mind went to Charlotte’s Web and friendly spiders, and beautiful webs.  With happy spring thoughts in my head, I looked at said pale spider (obviously lacking sunlight this winter as we all had) and stated, “I am going to leave this room right now, but if I come back and you’re still here I’ll end you.”  Upon my return, it was gone.  I somehow felt pleased.  I also heard voices in my head saying, “ARE YOU NUTS!”  C’est la vie.

Life is like that.  Sometimes you have to break with the norm and do what feels right.  Feeling happy about spring and new life I couldn’t take a life.  Sure, it’s a bug’s life, but some days, when life feels overwhelming I feel like a small bug in a big world.  Maybe one day that same chance at life will be given to me and I’ll be relieved and glad that I had let a spider live.

 

 

 

The little things…

I have learned a lot from Wiseguy about relationships.  In the past, relationships to me meant I had to give it my all and expect nothing in return.  It meant turning the other cheek or saying nothing, even if I was really upset because that was how you kept a relationship running…no issues, no problems and lots of denial.  Through thick and thin. For better or for worse.  Right?  Here are some lessons I learned.

BE YOURSELF:  Most people in relationships believe that they are being honest and truthful with themselves.  Have you ever given up doing things you like to do because the person whom you are dating doesn’t like it?  Maybe it’s the opposite.  Maybe you are starting to do you things you don’t like to do.  You pretend to like exercising or maybe you have become vegetarian because you think your partner will love you more since that is their preference.  The same holds true for you trying to change the person you are with.  Accept them for who they are.  Oh sure, people grow and change, but becoming a totally different person just to please someone else is not how to live a happy life.  Be happy with yourself and who you are.  If you love being the yappy, talkative person in the room, don’t become the quiet, shy person when in a relationship.  Be yourself.

SAY THANK YOU:  When you first start dating, you are always on your best behaviour.  You are also very polite and say please and thank you for every little thing.  That should not change once you have been together for awhile.  To this day, Wiseguy will thank me for any meal I have prepared.  Even if he doesn’t like it, he will thank me for making it (and then politely ask me to never ever make it again).  I used to tell him that he didn’t have to thank me.  He explained that since I made the effort, he should thank me.  The children were taught this as well.  Just because you are Mom or Dad or Spouse, it doesn’t mean that your work should not be acknowledged in a positive way.  Feeling appreciated makes for a happier home environment.  Thanks for getting the groceries.  Thanks for doing the laundry.  Thanks for driving us to the party.  Saying a meaningful “thanks” is always nice to hear.

SHOW APPRECIATION / GRATEFULNESS:  When you are dating someone, buying little gifts and tokens of love are usually the modus operandi.  After you have been together awhile the gift giving drops off and there is usually a daily routine that ensues.  Certain chores are done by certain individuals.  One person will do the cooking and one person will do the laundry.  Someone will load the dishwasher and empty it.  One will mow the lawn and / or shovel the snow (welcome to Canadian looooooooong winters).  Indoor chores and outdoor tasks need to be completed.  Now, when your life gets topsy turvy and your usual division of labour leaves you overwhelmed, it’s nice when that 50/50 split can become 70/30 without anyone griping about the sudden amount of work they have to do around the place.  Yes, I am thinking of a specific example.  I am the dishwasher loader/emptier and I am also the garbage-taker-outer.  This week I had some additional errands to take care of and was exhausted just thinking about completing my at-home tasks.  To my supreme delight I arrived home to find the waste and recycling by the curb, the dishwasher emptied, and the dishes put away.  OH JOY!  Yes, it is THAT simple to show appreciation.  Wiseguy appreciated the fact that my life was a bit more hectic this week and I was grateful that he did this without my asking him.

COMMUNCATION:  This is THE most important lesson I have learned.  I would oftentimes assume that Wiseguy knew what I was thinking.  More often than not, I would get angry with him about things that he had no clue I had even thought about.  Not fair.  Even worse, I learned the “silent treatment” from the master…my mother.  Not a word spoken, while I slammed doors to make sure he knew I was upset.  It would be up to him to figure out why I was upset.  Adults tantrums are not pretty.  As adults we have a vocabulary to be able to communicate what is on our minds.  We are not mind readers.  We cannot assume that other people know what we are thinking.  So, if something is bothering you, take the time to talk about it.  Those who do not communicate are the ones who let each little angry moment start a pyramid of disaster.  Brick by brick it builds as you hold every bothersome incident inside and then suddenly CRASH!  One little thing will have the whole pyramid of anger cascading down.  Hurtful things will be said as you dig deep into your memory for past trangressions that the other person had no idea had been bothering you.  Let it out.  Talk it out.

Relationships are give and take.  Relationships involve work.  You are two people who used to live your own way, with your own rules and who now live together while trying to figure out whose rules would be the best to incorporate as a couple.  Start off with these four simple rules and you’ll see how much easier this transition can be.  More often than not, it’s the little things that can make it or break it.

The good, the bad, and the dust bunnies

Clean.  For such a simple word it comes with an exorbitant amount of responsibility.  To keep something “clean” means it must remain free of dirt and…gulp…dust.  EEGAD!  Impossible!  Dust is everywhere!  The desire to have an eat-off-the-floor clean house is most often offset by my desire to actually enjoy living my life.  Hours toiling away, room by room, floor by floor, does not make for a happy life.  Oh I understand the need for cleanliness, but why can the job never be done?

My mother was obsessive about her cleaning.  Hmmm, come to think of it, she still is.  My mother will sit with you at the kitchen table, wet cloth in her hand, and while she is loquaciously speaking, her hand will be moving slowly in circles, seemingly cleaning of its own accord.  I recall my mother always cleaning something.  Her goal was to have the most immaculately pristine house.  “Cleanliness is next to godliness,” was the phrase she quoted.  (When I was really young I used to imagine my mom standing next to God with her handy cloth in hand.  Maybe God would have her clean heaven too since she cleaned with god-like precision.)  I had hoped that when I moved out and had a place of my own I would scour and polish with the same vim and vigour.  I didn’t inherit the obsessive cleaning gene.

The bane of my purifying existence is dust.  I can dust one room and come back an hour later and guess what?  There is a new layer of dust already starting to accumulate.  What is it about dust?

It goes back to biblical times.  Genesis 3:19 – “...for you are dust, and to dust you shall return.”  So according to that statement there is always someone either coming or going in my house because I have dust everywhere!  I try to ensure my home is a dust-free zone but I just can’t seem to win.  If you think regular bunnies multiply quickly you should see the dust bunnies in MY home.  They are procreating wizards.  It is for this reason that I am always on the hunt to find the newest, latest and greatest, house cleaning miracle mop / broom / cloth that will make my dust-duty bearable.

(Side note:  why is it called dusting?  Wouldn’t that mean that you are putting dust all over your house?  Why wouldn’t you call it anti-dusting or un-dusting?  Just a thought.)

To all you ad agencies spending oodles of money showing happy, smiling women and men (or children or dogs) in the act of (un)dusting…I’m watching.  I want to see the dusty grey hardwood floor suddenly have that path of brownness after the magical swish of the mop / brush goes through it.  It’s like watching Moses part the Red Sea.  A miracle!  Over-exaggerating?  Not I.  I really DO get that excited.

The Swiffer Sweeper.  This was an invention like no other!  When I first saw this advertised on tv I HAD to get one.

 

After I had de-dusted the apartment in record time, I made sure to tell everyone at my workplace how great it was.  I called family and friends to expound the virtues of this prodigious product.  I would excitedly mention it to strangers while shopping.  When I believe in a product I make sure everyone knows it.  No longer did I have to crawl around on the floor to scoop up dirt and hairs.  No longer did I have to keep using a brush and dust pan to scoop up dirt.  (Anyone who has used a dust pan knows there is always that wee little bit at the end that you cannot get into the pan no matter how much you try to sweep it up.)  With my Swiffer I could stand up and dance around the apartment dipping and sashaying into corners.  I had my own miracle going on.  So imagine my pure delight when they created the duster.  Wha-what?  Oh yes!  Cleaning blinds and table tops and shelves and bookcases.  The bunnies were being evicted.  No more Mrs. Nice Guy.   Bwahaha!

As time passed I bought other products on the market.  There is always something newer and better out there.  I still use the Swiffer Sweeper  and the Swiffer Duster and the Swiffer Mop.  I don’t use them as frequently since the price of the refills have gone up astronomically and also because new products have entered into my humble abode.  My cleaning artillery has grown exponentially.  These products rotate and take turns as the main warriors in my endless Battle of the Dust Bunnies.

I was introduced to a new method of dealing with these pesky, lightweight intruders.  It was my wonderful aunt who told me about it.  I couldn’t understand how two sisters (she and my mother) could have such differing views on housekeeping.  My aunt’s plan was quite ingenious.  Oftentimes her method of housekeeping could cost more than my usual tried and true methods, but her way was much more pleasant and less stressful.  It can be summed up in one sentence.  “Key in the lock and off you go.”  She had to explain it to me, “Life is short,” she had started to tell me.  “Some days you just have to put the key in lock and go shopping.”  What?  How would that clean my house?  “Sometimes you just have to forget about cleaning and go out and unwind and relax and enjoy life.”  So, she was telling me to NOT clean my house.  Looking at my bewildered face, she laughed and said, “the dust will be there when you get back.”  Truer words were never spoken.

Life is like that.  It’s about choices.  Some days you will need to wage war against the non-paying dust bunny tenants.  Some days you will ignore the layers of grey dust on your shelves and floors and go out exploring.  The dust will be there when you get back.  Yes, life is like that…the good, the bad, and the dust bunnies.

Who’s the genius now?

I am a smart woman.  I have lived almost a half century and there is much wisdom stored in my grey matter.  Truly, I am a competent adult.  I function well in society with knowledge gained through schooling and book learning.  I have experienced many things in everyday life that have led me to believe that I am a bright individual; resourceful even.  So, why is it that when I try to figure out stuff on my iPhone my brain cells seem to pack up and go on permanent vacation.  Why is this so hard?

I never liked computers, rather, I never understood computers and hence my dislike of them.  Right from the good ol’ PET Computer and my inability to do any kind of sophisticated programming…or any kind of programming for that matter.  Sure, I use a computer now.  I am typing on one as we speak.  However, there are many things I am sure it can do besides letting me click, click, click on its keyboard.  I tell myself, “It’s a learning process.”  I tell myself, “I can always Google it.”  Oh yes, even dear Google can’t educate me on the basics on these newfangled programs.  There were signs telling me that I was slowly losing my “hip” persona on the ways of the world.  Old lady brain was just around the corner.

I realized my technological brain was fizzling when I couldn’t figure out the TV and cable remotes.  So many buttons to try to turn on one screen.  I had finally mastered that high-techiness (new dictionary word) when Wiseguy presented his fantastic new projection screen TV!  Gulp.  Was that another remote?  No wait…two remotes?  Did I see a third one?  After installing everything, including surround sound speakers, my wonderful husband scurried off to work and jealously left me to play with our new toy.  After managing to scare myself half to death (and deaf) with surround sound static from my “Poltergeist” TV screen, I hit every OFF button on every remote and proceeded to read a book.  So much for my introduction to technology and being a modern woman.

Now, when it came to the most profound new technology of my generation, I would say the cell phone.  Music lovers would probably say the Sony Walkman, but I was a bookworm so my vote was for the cell phone.  I had pined for it, begged for it, and finally got it.  This was actually not too complicated.  It reminded me of my high school calculator.  I remember using numbers to spell words.  We were so cool (lame…in 80’s speak).  I learned how to program phone numbers.  I could now call people while I was away from home!  Coolest device ever…until the phone’s battery died on me.  Besides not having an active phone I also realized my inability to recall phone numbers.  After that I made sure to memorize at least two numbers in case of emergencies.  Smart right?  Not as smart as the creative minds out there expounding their computer geniusness (new dictionary word) on the world.

Technology grew in leaps and bounds.  Suddenly simple things became super complicated things.  Most horrifically, the flip cell phones transmogrified into a … AHHHHHHH … A COMPUTER!  The thing I could never understand!  These TV-screen-typewriters that used to sit on a desk were now in people’s pockets!  When the kids showed me what they could do I was stunned.  Literally, dumbfounded.  My jaw dropped.  I couldn’t believe that this “phone” could take pictures and show videos and play music and provide instant information!  No more need to store information in your brain.  All you had to do was “Google” for the answer.  (Yeah…first time I heard THAT word I needed a kid to ‘splain to me what a “Google” was).  I was happy living in my flip phone world until that universe expired.

My phone battery died yet again so I went to get a new battery for my exquisitely ancient (7 year old) flip phone.  To my horror I was informed that my phone was obsolete which meant its battery was also extinct.  **funeral dirge**  There were other antique (5 year old) phone styles I could pick from, but Death of a Battery was not something I wanted to relieve again and again.  It was time to move into the future.  I bought an iPhone 4.

The very first thing I did was open the box and survey the instructions.   Then I promptly made sure all the kids would be home for a fancy dinner.  After our fancy dinner I would have them program my phone, show me some of the basics, and ply them with educated questions.  Three hours later I had numbers programmed and had learned how to turn my phone off and on.  I had managed to take fantastic pictures…of my thumb.  With the basics memorized, I followed up with my usual modus operandi…trial and error (mostly error).  I have learned lots via this intense and elaborate technique.  There is no real manual for using this computer…ahem… “smart” phone.  I rely on overhearing conversations, or watching others do stuff and then follow up with the excited “how did you do that?”

I’m on the iPhone 6 now.  I wait for the grandkids to show up for the fancy dinner.  They show me stuff on YouTube and how to download stuff.  Yeah…they’re smart.  Technologically smart.  They know how to use TV remotes too.

But just wait…my time is coming.  One day they will come over for the perfunctory fancy dinner and I will show THEM something they have never seen before.  I can write cursive.  Hah!  Who’s the genius now?

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