My Best Worst Day Ever

 

The universe went out of its way last week to yell at me. Repeatedly.  For those of you who haven’t been yelled at by the universe, this is how it works.

You work your butt off at something, in this case, re-upholstering vintage furniture. When the time comes to bring your vision into reality, everything, I mean everything goes wrong. You try to get a few easy projects done at the last minute, and every possible thing under the sun goes wrong. You break eight sewing machine needles in one day. An upholstery cover that you carefully cut and checked multiple times somehow won`t fit. You run out of freaking fabric on a chair that you spent a week on and is almost done. Your car gets stuck in ice in front of your house, where you specifically parked it so you wouldn`t get stuck in the twelve inches of slush outside your garage. Your fourteen year old has turned into a surly teenager overnight, and your twelve year old slips and falls on the ice in front of your house helping you carry things out to your (stuck) car. And you get in a fight with your business partner.

So, I got it. I accepted that the universe was trying to tell me something. And then, two days later, I had my best worst day ever.

I got up in the morning early enough to call a tow truck to pull my little impractical convertible out. It was still stuck in ice that had frozen solid two days earlier and had not yet melted. But somehow the universe was smiling on me just a little, because I didn’t look like I normally look on a Sunday morning: like something the cat dragged in.  My hair was all silky and wavy, so even though I was wearing my torn work jeans and my Sorels, I looked alright. Yay for me. I actually had a chance to make some coffee before the tow truck driver arrived. And when he did arrive, all gruff-dark-bearded-sexy-flirtatious-funny six feet of him, we joked and laughed and sat in the tow truck while his dispatcher was fortuitously slow and inept getting him the information he needed (thanks universe).

After promising him some home made cookies (which are emerging as some bizarre food porn metaphor in my life by the way) for being so “nice” * 😉 *,  I made sure he knew that he had my number and should feel free to use it, and he was gone.

Not ten minutes later he phoned, but I was in the shower and didn’t hear it ring. So he texted me as well.

Hey beautiful.  I drove by the alley and hope you didn’t try to drive back there.  But now you have my number, so call me if you need me. Or if you have cookies.

I’m not sure how long it’s been since someone last called me beautiful, but I know it has been too long.  And it is definitely the right thing to say, especially in a sexy, gravelly voice.

By this point I was fairly happy that I was such a moron I got stuck in front of my own house.  By the time I got home at about 6 p.m., all reason had left me, however, and I decided to try parking in the alley.  I know, I know. Maybe it was subconsciously on purpose. I don`t know.  What I do know is that:

1. I got stuck in the six inches of slush, halfway down the alley from my house;

2. I was NOT wearing appropriate footwear, and trudged and slipped and slid through the slush around to the front of my house.  My business partner and a young guy helping us out were waiting out front to unload a bunch of furniture.

3. After sulkily helping me unload the furniture that didn’t sell on the weekend, wedging a round table halfway in/halfway out of my front doorway, and not showing any interest in helping me get my car unstuck, they left.

4. I tried to go out my back door to my car in the alley, but the screen was wedged shut, and I mean wedged shut.  My dog had been outside while we unloaded, and was impatiently pawing at the door wanting to get in and see what was going on.  This had pushed the screen door past the jamb, wedging itself in so it wouldn’t even budge. I have lots of tools with which to unwedge it. But they are in my car, in the back alley, half a block of slushy melted snow away.  Which I can now only reach by climbing over the table wedged in my front door, and walking all the way around the block again to get to the alley (I can’t get the table out either without taking the top off with said tools.)

By this point, I am having a pity party.  So of course, I text my new friend Jake the Tow Truck Driver. Although I am normally very capable and independent, I have now been reduced to a sniffling, pathetic, helpless woman who got her car stuck twice in one day.  As it turns out though, men seem to dig this kind of thing. I guess it makes them feel manly and indispensable.

Needless to say, I was very happy to see Jake the Tow Truck Driver twice in one day.  He got my car out just by rocking it back and forth (because I’m that dumb, or at least I was that day.)  And we have been texting since, so I’ve got that going for me, which is nice. Oh yeah, and I can get in and out of my house again, too.

But I still have no idea what the blasted universe was trying to tell me all weekend. Although my top two theories are that it had something to do with writing, or Jake the Tow Truck Driver.

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The Soundtrack to New Beginnings

Music serves as an important emotional backdrop for beginnings and endings, and everything in between. And with music, as with life, we sometimes don’t understand what we are hearing until much, much later.  Now, I’m one of those people who often doesn’t listen to lyrics; although if they are great lyrics, I generally do. You know, anything by The Tragically Hip, Led Zeppelin, some of the semi-lucid ravings of Kurt Cobain.  Let’s face it though, most of the lyrics out there aren’t great lyrics.  And much like many of the mundane lyrics we hear day in and day out, the days pass, often with little of importance being said by or to us; sometimes things of importance are said but are not heard. And that is the way of things I suppose.

I think many of us have a soundtrack to our lives. For some it is quite conscious; mixed tapes in the eighties, CD’s burned off Napster in the late 90’s, and now playlists.  For others it emerges by accident, or at least by serendipity.  You know what I’m talking about: you hop in the car to take off for a road trip just to exorcise a bad week or month or year from your memory, and the radio is playing Martina McBride’s This One’s For the Girls.  Followed by Knee Deep by the Zac Brown Band. Followed by Baby Did a Bad Bad Thing by Chris Isaak (on a different station, obviously). I don`t know if the universe was trying to tell me or if I was determined to tell the universe I was embarking on one hell of a road trip, but that sendoff certainly didn`t hurt.

For people like me who are always seeing meaning and pattern and connection in the events of their lives, these moments are pivotal, defining even.  I know that there are dozens of “logical” explanations for how signs or symbols appear or happen or become noticeable only at certain times in our lives.  But I don`t think why it happens is nearly as important as the fact that it happened, and how it makes us feel. Does it matter that the song Red Red Wine makes me think of dancing in a bar in Banff when I was nineteen, rather than anything that actually has to do with that song, or its lyrics? Of course not.  What matters is that it makes me feel like a carefree college student that just wants to dance, instead of whatever haggard, beleaguered, or defeated version of myself I am wrestling with on any given day.

For six months now, my IPhone has been defaulting to play the songs on it in alphabetical order, and the song that queues up, repeatedly, is Accusations by the Skydiggers. Luckily, I didn’t get sick of it the first 400 times I listened to it on a cassette tape many years ago, which usually is a guarantee that I never will. And my kids don’t mind it either, which is saying something.

It has started to make me laugh now, when I plug in my IPhone,  or my bluetooth in my car just syncs up and starts playing it before I have a chance to decide on a musical theme for the moment.  Because regardless of what it`s about (I still don`t quite know), I know this:

  • it reminds me of a simpler time
  • it is upbeat and catchy, easily singable, and it makes my heart sing and my soul dance each time I hear it
  • it reminds me that no matter what is going on in my life, I can always make a new decision and start afresh (See my earlier post: Taking the Long Way Around)
  • It reminds me that people are going to think what they are going to think,  lie if they want to lie, and do what they need to do so they can sleep at night. And that is the way of things, I suppose.
  • it reminds me that no matter what else happens, there is still that little girl inside me with the mischievous glint in her eye and crooked smile. She is a fireball, she is courageous and full of joy, and when she comes out to play, there will be a story or six to tell.  I am Tara Ewashy and I can do whatever the hell I want. Because I`ve done it before and I shall do it again. Just watch me.

 

 

Accusations all around, you didn’t know this is nothing new

Accusations up and down you, now you don’t know what to do

Accusations confound you Graham says we need some proof

Accusations surround you why don’t you try the truth

Everybody wants to shake you up to put you down

Everybody wants to wrap you up and tie you down

 

Conversations well spoken you know this is nothing new

Conversations, promises broken, now I don’t know what to do

Everybody wants to build you up to pull you down

Everybody wants to tie you up and tie you down

Not me, not me, no,  not me

 

Accusations all around you

Accusations all around you

Accusations all around you

21st Century Communication and how it is quietly undermining the games people play

Many people criticize social media and the various modes of communication we now have the luxury of using on a daily basis.  But I have always thought that they add to the human experience, or certainly have the potential to. I love words. I’m a self-proclaimed word nerd.  I get excited about beautiful turns of phrase (did you see how I pluralized that? correctly?), little known words used in daily speech, all manners of plays on words, puns (except the corny ones), literary and pop culture references. As a result, I think people give too little credit to the art of crafting various electronic communications. Texting, email, twitter, Facebook statuses, and yes, blogs.  I even like memes, although I have to admit that introducing an image needs to be artful to be effective.

Perhaps I am very fortunate, or just clever in my friend choices and choice of those that I follow.  I am rarely subjected to the banal Facebook status updates, such as:

I don’t know how I can go on without my kitty cat, Smokey. You were the best cat who ever lived. I know you’re in kitty heaven now.

Read more: http://www.cracked.com/funny-8148-top-10-worst-facebook-status-updates/#ixzz2wHUrqrWV

I performed a Facebook purge fairly recently though, so I suppose I have that to thank. The friends that I text with regularly either have something to say, or at least don’t expect me to be waiting at my phone to immediately text back when they have a pressing concern such as:

HEY, do you remember the name of Mr. Dressup’s sidekick?

I don’t know anyone except my mom WHO WRITES ALL IN CAPS WITH MANY! MANY!!! EXCLAMATION MARKS!!!! And she is turning seventy this year, so I think she gets a pass on that one.  I am simply impressed that she knows how to use a computer and actually does use a laptop on a daily basis. I follow Jennifer Lawrence (my current girl crush) and Bill Murray on twitter, as well as Jon Stewart; my actual twitter friends post things of either social importance (really – they are those kinds of friends) or really, really funny. In fact, my primary complaint about social media is that people my age (in our forties) often don’t use social media. So my two best friends from high school, with whom it is difficult to stay in touch, have remained sadly out of the loop of silly photos and high school reminiscences that I have enjoyed since reconnecting with old friends on Facebook, now scattered across Canada.

And finally, my recent, profound discovery about the possible existence of a silent revolution in the male human’s ability to communicate verbally.

They will text you stuff they will NEVER, EVER say out loud to you. Unless they have known you for years and years, anyway.

It’s pretty cool. I know that parents agonize over the racy photos and texts that are racing around among their teenaged progeny. I have remained on the fence on this burning social issue for awhile. And I will leave aside that possible negative for now.

However,  I am now prepared to take a stand, just like I was in law school when I was the only female student who came out in favour of strippers after a Bachelor Party Scandal at the law college (I would like to say that this was an effective way to get dates, but alas, I was already dating someone and he already knew I was pretty great.)  Perhaps I should be mortified that the only raging social issue on which I took a stand in law school was strippers-or-no-strippers, but time has borne me out.  Sexuality and how we define it is becoming an issue of importance in a way that it was not in the nineties.  So there, I was obviously ahead of my time.

And my research has established the following (I think writing and collecting material could possibly be the best gig in the universe. FANTASTIC).  Men won’t generally say to your face, shortly after meeting you, things like (or in some cases, even before meeting you):

1.  I feel like I already know you from Facebook.  If you are interested maybe we could go out and get to know each other (not stalkerish- just a blind date – it went very well, by the way)

2. What are you doing tonight? I want to see you.

3. You have beautiful eyes. Send me a pic.

4. (Read this in a heavy french accent for full effect:)

Ok if I tell you this you are a very hot woman good night

5.  I wanted to kiss you but I left because I wasn’t sure that I should.

6. I was thinking about you today.

I mean, are you kidding me? Women love this shit. Sure, I’m sure there are guys out there that just go straight to “show me your tits” without even stopping to get your last name, but no progress is ever made without some pain, is it? And another thing: before texting, was there a man on earth (that a woman would ever sleep with, anyway) whose bag of tricks included:

a. winky face

b. Laughing smiley face

c. lol every second statement; and

d. TTYIALB? or even a simple BRB?

No. We were forced to wait for three days after the first date to either contact or be contacted. We were forced to wonder ad nauseum if our new crush was out with someone else, was thinking about us as much as we were thinking about him, would freaking well call us after three days of living hell. But now, somehow, we have created various media that somehow trick men into telling us either what they are really thinking, or even, from a cynic’s perspective, properly flattering sweet talk. AND ALMOST IMMEDIATELY.  Frankly, I don’t care which one it is. It’s awesome. Well played Mark Zuckerberg, well played.

Oh yeah, and one more thing. I have not been a huge fan of the telephone-call-interrupting-what-you-are-doing-at-all-hours-of-the-day since, oh I don’t know, I was a teenaged girl. So the “can I call you in a bit?” text is, to me, quite literally, a gift from God. Alleluia.

Don’t be so hard on yourself

If you had a friend

Many people take absolutely no responsibility for anything. But if you grew up in a dysfunctional household, chances are you are more than willing to take responsibility for everything.  Your actions, other people’s actions, random acts of the universe: if only you had just tried harder or done a better job, you could have made it better.

I am slowly learning not to do this. And it is insidious.  Even when I’m not actually feeling responsible for my parents’ financial situation or the political upheaval in the Ukraine, I still find ways to beat myself up.

I was driving down the slushy street today, after one of the longest, coldest, snowiest, most interminable winters I can recall. Last summer,  I moved to a beautiful little house in a great neighborhood after separating from the second of what may turn out to be  many husbands.   There is an amazing little park just around the corner that they flood as a free-form skating rink in the winter, and I had looked forward to, and planned, all winter, to go skating there regularly.

And so the automatic thoughts began.

I really should have tried harder to go skating this winter.  What in the hell is the matter with me that I couldn’t even make it out there once. It’s really my fault that I’m unhappy living here because there are so many opportunities to do fun things and I just never manage to be organized enough to do them. I really just bring it all on my self.

And another thing. I didn’t even take my kids skiing once this winter. What kind of a mother am I? Surely I could have found one day that was free so we could go out to the local ski hill and at least get a little bit of practice for a spring ski trip.

Stop. Rewind. Break it down.  We likely had about 10 days all winter (a winter that is now entering its fifth month) that it wasn`t 20 below or colder, and windy on top of that.  Of those 10 days, my kids had activities on five of them, I was on trips on three of them, which leaves two possible days that I so egregiously failed to drag my sorry ass down the block to skate outside and “enjoy what the winter has to offer.” Ditto for the skiing.

When I do this, I feel much better about myself, and I`m able to place responsibility where it belongs:

1. On my great-grandparents for settling in this godforsaken place.  If they hadn`t, I could be protesting and getting shot at in the Ukraine.  Damn great-grandparents.

2. We have cold horrible winters here.  For those of you who have never experienced such a thing, it regularly gets so cold your face HURTS. It feels kind of hard and frozen like a piece of meat out of the freezer, and it hurts like you just lost a slap fight.  And then when it begins to warm up again, if you aren`t so unfortunate as to have actually gotten frostbite, it feels alternately numb, then hot, then cold, then clammy, and finally you can actually feel the cells getting oxygenated blood again. I would be stupid to go out and try to skate outside in that, tough Canadian or no.

3. On twenty-two year old me for deciding to stay here instead of moving away.  Fair enough, but forty-four year old me is not responsible for that.  She is only responsible for where I will be next winter.

And then I feel better, because I’m not taking responsibility for every wrong or misfortune that has occurred in the past six months.  Because I am only responsible for the things that I can change. And today, that includes taking one more step towards not being here next winter.

Husband number 3

Were I to be looking for such a thing, I suspect we could rule out all people that don’t know all the words to both Caddyshack and Sister Christian by heart. 

So needless to say, I will focus on more achievable goals for the time being.