Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Knock Knock

The evening began like most others. I arrived home from work, let the dogs out to the back yard to do their business, then back inside to eat. I went upstairs to change into my favorite couch potato fleece pants -- the ones with reindeers wearing sweaters. While hanging my skirt in the closet, I saw all the other stuff hanging there--a mile of stuff, most of which I love, and most of which doesn't fit anymore. I remembered my favorite store was having a one day only, 40 per cent off dress sale and put my skirt back on. It was time to break routine and not sit on the couch eating all night, which is the reason most of my extensive wardrobe doesn't fit.

The new evening plan meant the need for a quick supper.  As I was standing in my blissfully quiet kitchen, dining in a rather unrefined manner on a freshly poured  bowl of cereal with orange juice, there was a knock on the front door. This really was going to be a different kind of night. In seven months, not once has anybody who was not already  expected knocked on the door.

The dogs immediately launched into protector mode, barking and running to the door. When I'm expecting someone, the dogs go into the kitchen behind the gate to prevent the battle charge.

Through the most hated feature of the front door I can't wait to replace I could see a figure. Thanks to the center glass panel, I knew my unexpected visitor could also see me, leaving no graceful way to not answer the door. Dang, I hate that freeking door. My vertically challenged visitor was wearing an orange parka with the hood up, and my first thought was that Kenny from South Park had come for a visit.

I opened the door and tried to calm the dogs. Meanwhile, the young face in the center of the orange hood says "Are you our new neighbor?" I said "I've been here since September ..." And he says, "I've never seen you before."

Then he turns his back to me, walks across the enclosed porch, opens the door, which the dogs immediately try to exit, and he leaves, while I'm stammering, "Don't let the dogs out."

Once outside, lookalike Kenny, whose name I don't know, takes a right, walks across the poop splattered front lawn (poop pick up tool broke), and climbs between the rails of my fence to my driveway where his two buddies are standing.

And I'm standing there wondering what the whole interaction was about. It was more of an abbreviated interrogation than an introduction. The best I can come up with is that maybe I'm the new neighborhood dare -- the house with the weird older lady, and the bigger boys dared lookalike Kenny to come into porch and knock on the door.

"New, solid front door with peephole" just launched itself to the top of the home "to do" list. Right behind "buy some dresses."

Monday, January 2, 2017

Still Procrastinating

It's been fewer than 48 hours since a conscious decision to return to dance classes and even fewer since seeing an email reminder that a group I used to dance with meets on Mondays at 3:15.

I was available on Monday and had every intention of attending. All the way up until I didn't.

The morning included exploring options for the day -- a drive to the beach to visit the ocean; shopping to use Kohl's cash earned on Christmas shopping; hunting for the six foot tall bookcase I decided last week that I need; putting the third coat of polyurethane on the floor in the kitchen nook (requiring a trip to buy more polyurethane); and of course, dance group.

If you know me very well you know I like the beach a lot, but not so much on the shopping, and usually overthink things until it's too late to do any of them. You can probably even guess what I did. 

Yup. It was my favorite multiple choice selection by default: None of the above.

After lunching on cheesy hot pepper ramen and disposing of the remnants in the sink, I flipped the switch for the disposal. There was a groaning sound and not much else. I peered into the hole in the sink and saw cheesy ramen noodles, a metal Christmas ornament hook, and the tiny face of Abraham Lincoln.

Lacking a handyperson in the inner circle of my life or even on the most remote periphery, it was obvious what needed to happen. 

A flashlight, rubber gloves, and utensils were located. Using a large spoon, noodles and other mystery muck were scooped out. A fork and the spoon were used to wrangle out the ornament hook and more mucky goo.  Deft work with a knife and fork loosened the penny, removed by a glove-clad hand. Further peering and flashlight shining revealed a second penny, also removed using the aforementioned utensils accompanied by a certain level of colorful cuss words. And now it felt too late for the beach option.

In a normal, child-free home, it might be a mystery how two pennies landed in the disposal. Not at my house.

Last week, while walking into work, near a part of a car on the ground at the entrance to a parking lot, was a pile of coins. It's pretty common to find a couple pennies or dimes in the gutter or on the sidewalk, but this was significantly larger -- 61 pennies and a dime -- clearly the largest bounty of coins on the streets of Lowell so far. At the time, it felt like a gift from the universe.

I gathered up the coins, wondering if anyone passing by would think I was a reasonably well dressed street person, and also wishing I knew binary code for the series of ones and zeros making the message from the universe that certainly must be embedded in the pile. The coins were dumped in my bag.

After work, coins were fished out, many of which were stuck together. They were soaked in a bowl, and when the water was poured out, some pennies fell into the drain. I plucked out two, hoping that was all of them.

Today's issue indicated that clearly more then two pennies had landed in the drain, and perhaps my message from the universe was that maybe I shouldn't pick up every coin I come across, now the world was messing with me, and 71 cents definitely isn't enough for a plumber. 

But Yankee ingenuity, Finnish sisu, a fork, knife, and spoon prevailed. And the real mysteries remaining were how the hook got into the sink, and why I constantly procrastinate and bail on promises to myself.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

New Starts

Another New Year, another fresh start.

New day planner, new journal. Newly minted list of resolutions and goals still bearing a resemblance to those of years past, but I imagine as long as I live and breathe I'll want to travel more, write more, and manage my money better. At least I hope that's the case, so it's okay.

It's not always fun to review the year just finished and the wreckage of shattered hopes, unattained goals, and unmet resolutions, but looking back on 2016 provided a certain level of satisfaction.

Two major life goals met with success in 2016 after camping out on the list for a couple years too long. Finding a better job and buying a house prompted a liberating advancement up Maslow's hierarchy of needs.

The best part about resolving the not so tiny life issues of liveable income, retirement savings, and shelter is that there is now space in the cranium and on this year's list for slightly more extravagant, yet still important goals like "use at least one entire week of my vacation time on a trip to someplace more than 100 miles from home" and "return to dance class."

It also means I can stop uttering boring phrases like "no, I can't commit to a trip out of town in three weeks because I may need to look at houses / be closing on my house / be moving." So far, the hours no longer spent scouring real estate listings and visiting houses have been replaced with the satisfying act of settling into my recently acquired house. I fully plan to shift some of that time, attention, and budget allocation to travel. It's on this year's list of goals.

I'm liking the looks of this new year a lot already.