Every Minute

We also have an inordinate amount of fireworks images. You'd think we set fire to things on a regular basis.

We also have an inordinate amount of fireworks images. You’d think we set fire to things on a regular basis.

Miles run yesterday: 4.5

Full-time job accepted on Monday: 1 (yay! more on that later…)

Cadbury’s Mini-Egg bags bought today: 2

My mom has always had a morbid fascination with natural disasters and disease epidemics.

She is not mean, just scientific-minded.

My mom likes to mention on almost every birthday involving cake and candles how strange it is that we light things on fire and take pictures of people blowing the candles out. She is convinced that either a.) aliens or b.) people living 500 years in the future will think we are a very strange “civilization.” I use that term loosely.

My husband, on the other hand, refuses to watch anything on TV involving natural disasters or disease states. He is also scientific.

Potay-to, potah-to.

If volcanic ash from an improbable volcano all of a sudden covers my little area of the world, and scientists far in the future uncover my family’s bodies and our detritus, here is what they will find:

1.) In the garage: man bones. Inside the jeans pocket: a tiny piece of notebook paper with the numbers: 0245749283-50-4734829348-22-218928430239. When the numbers are compared against any other sequence of numbers that has ever existed in the world, there is no match found.

Also found on man’s person: screws of varying sizes, a Werther’s wrapper, Kleenex.

Man bent over large, loud, vibrating power tools that scientists say contributed to the volcano’s eruption.

2.) In the laundry room: woman bones. The scientists struggle to understand why a family of four would require so many unmatched pairs of socks.

Inside grown woman’s purse: 17 different grocery lists with similar items, indicating a diet rich in calcium: skim milk, 2% milk, orange juice, cheese, eggs, yogurt, Lysol, asparagus.

Also found: 3 lipsticks of exactly the same shade but different brands, hand sanitizer, a wallet with not much more than insurance cards insuring against everything except volcanoes.

Woman found near multiple cleaning products, yet house shows no signs of being clean.

3.) On couch: boy bones, body curled around laptop. Headphones still in. Seemingly had no inkling of the imminent disaster.

4.) In girl-child bedroom: girl bones, in mid-jump. Scientists at first conclude that girl’s mouth was open because she was yelling about volcano eruption, but decide she was only singing at the top of her lungs. They are impressed that dancing could occur in a room with items strewn all over the floor.

Scientists were able to retrieve the outdated hard drive from the family’s computer.

Using antiquated computer forensics, scientists discover photograph files. Many of them involve blowing out candles on a round, gooey object, while others focus on people holding shiny square objects while standing near an indoor tree.

The scientists find no photographs of the man making things with his power tools, the woman doing laundry, the boy using his laptop or the girl dancing in her room.

They conclude that most everyday activities involve blowing out candles and standing in front of indoor trees.

Using power tools and washing clothes must be very, very special indeed.

Note: The kids and I are reading “Wonder” right now… a great book. One of the characters in the book is the stage manager in Our Town, a play which had a big impact on me as a teen. 

“Does anyone ever realize life while they live it… every, every minute?”

Emily, from Our Town by Thornton Wilder


Finding the Fun

This is more fun than actual planks. I am fond of the ocean. Propping myself up on my elbows? Not so much.

Number of seconds I can hold a planks pose: 2.2 seconds

Miles I can run: 400 (you know, over months, and maybe with some Cadbury’s mini-eggs thrown in for fuel)

Inches of dust on my furniture: 3

I probably watched too many Disney movies when I was a kid. Sometimes people roll their eyes when I start saying things like, “Just a Spoonful of Sugar Makes the Medicine Go Down,” or “Whistle While You Work.” Sometimes those people are my kids.

I have an annoying habit of expecting life to be fun. This works about 85 percent of the time. Life is pretty fun, in my world.

Except when it isn’t.

This is when being a writer comes in handy. Coleridge’s suspension of disbelief was written with people like me in mind. It’s called “Being in Your Own Little World,” and when people say that, I have a feeling they don’t mean it in a good way.

After a not-so-fun week like mine has been, let’s look back at my Tools for Life Success When Things Aren’t So Fun:

1. Taxes. I may be carrying on a legacy of negativity from my dad on this one. When I was five, my grandmother sent me a new sweatsuit, which made me want to run. I begged and pleaded with my dad to run down to the end of the street with me, because my new duds would make me go very, very fast. He may have been worried that my lightning speed would show him up, but he said no, he was working on Taxes. Total cop-out. He then told me if I ran around the house 20 times, he would deign to lope down the street with me. In about 4.2 minutes, I was back inside, ready for his running services. I had run around that tiny house 20 times, and dude. It was time for him to feel the sunshine on his shoulders. My mom eventually made him lace up his shoes, but it was the grumpiest run ever; it kind of sullied my gorgeous sweatsuit. I never asked again.

So guess what I had to do this week? Itemization on my taxes. Since I already run now, running around the house just wasn’t an option. So I pretended I was something really boring, like an actuary or accountant. I moved my right hand to the far right of the keyboard–who knew that numbers existed there? And in a really weird formation! Like, exactly the opposite of the phone, which I use quite a bit. I wiggled my fingers around on those keys like I was a math genius. And several hours later, I was done. I looked up to see if I’d be awarded a medal or something, but getting to write a check to the government is my reward! I’m working on finding the fun in that.

2. Dusting. When I lived by myself, I kept my little one-bedroom apartment super-clean. Bathroom: cleaned daily. Kitchen: spotless. Floors: vacuumed obsessively.

Then, when my mom came to visit, she said, “I have never seen such a clean apartment with so much dust. Did you know your coffee table was actually dark wood?”

I feel that dust is a cosmic joke. Did you know that if I wipe off our TV cabinet today, it will have dust on it tomorrow? Is there any chore more soul-crushing?

So. Here’s the deal: Call a really good friend or family member who doesn’t care that you are using them as a crutch. Then pick up your dust rag and talk about every stupid thing in the world until the entire house is dust-free. Sometimes, I don’t even remember wiping things off, but I do remember hearing about the next-door neighbor who comes out in her nightgown to praise the moon on her balcony.

3. Planks. I am not averse to exercise or working hard. Or setting goals.

I even used to like crunches, a very, very long time ago when we had the chance to win Presidential Fitness Awards (which I never did, because I couldn’t do pull-ups). While I have been very diligent in my lower-body workouts, my arms are not on the way to looking Angela-Bassett-as-Tina-Turner-like. It is sad for me that when I go to point to things, like birds or a stop sign or the ice cream shop (now that I think about it, this could be the problem), my triceps wiggle. Again, cosmically unfair. I use my arms every day. See? I’m typing right now. They should be toned to within an inch of their lives.

My abs are fair-to-middlin’. Planks, my physical therapist friend tells me with a long-suffering sigh, would be the ticket to Super-Abs.

Now that bikini season is approaching, I re-kicked off my exercises to achieve Photo-Ready abs and triceps. I decided to do it during TV time at night, while my husband lounged on the couch.

Me (while in plank position with shaking arms): It hurts! It hurts!

My husband: Where?

Me: Everywhere! Make it stop!

He is annoyingly athletic, like if someone said, “Your car has been driven to Alaska, and you need to run there to get it back,” he might just start running and get there maybe needing an extra glass of water. He can do the stupid “two-point plank,” which I didn’t even know existed and might have been a torture device during the Cold War.

The only fun in the whole process is seeing the look of disbelief on his face as he watches me fail miserably. It makes me laugh hysterically, which by the way, is not conducive to good plank position.

4. Sitting in a hospital waiting area. You might think this would be depressing. But it’s not, not really. You are there for sad reasons, but when some kind of Hollywood insider show is on, you can catch up on all the stuff you never realized you needed to know. See, if I’d been writing instead of sitting at the hospital, I never would have known that there is a person known as “The Buxom Bandit” who ran an international drug ring while being an in-demand pin-up. And Joan Rivers actually has a reality TV show, which leads me to wonder why Rosie O’Donnell had a show cancelled, but Joan Rivers’s is still on. These are fun questions that have absolutely no impact on my life whatsoever. See how fun that is?

5. Laundry. It may smell good, but laundry is never fun. Don’t even try to make it fun. You will only disappoint yourself.

I hope I have helped you overcome chore-phobia, things that might seem, well, not fun. It’s in your hands now. How do you add a dose of fun to your dreaded tasks?


Waiting for the Big Easy

No, I don’t mean New Orleans. (But it does make me crave a debris sandwich from Mother’s.)

Miles I ran on Wednesday: 11

Miles I ran that were easy: 1

Times I have heard someone say if running were easy, they would do it a lot: 307

Lately, people I know have mentioned that they are waiting for running to “get easy.” Here is a list of things I have learned about running. And writing. And maybe life in general.

1. If you know me, you know that laundry and I are sworn enemies. Let me tell you a little story: Back when we bought our house, I decided to paint pink stripes in the laundry room. You may hate pink. That’s OK. But I like it, and I thought that maybe, just maybe, if I had a pretty laundry room, I would love like put up with hate doing laundry less. When our old washing machine stopped washing the clothes (I sympathized), my husband even bought me a really wonderful, high-end Maytag washer and dryer.

After 14 months–yes, you heard me–2 months after the warranty ended, I heard the washing machine making this banging noise like it was trying very hard to cut loose from its moorings and fly away. I credit my optimism when I thought to myself, “It’s only 14 months old. There must be a tiny screw that has come undone. I’m sure it’s a simple fix.”

You may laugh like Dr. Duffensmirch now.

Washer repair people: $1,600 to fix it. You may wonder at that number. You may say to yourself, “But the washer can’t have cost that much when it was brand-new.” You are very, very smart and should probably sign up for “The Price is Right.” I will watch and cheer as you blow away the competition.

The bottom line: we were in the market for a new washing machine. In 18 years, I will post the name of my amazing washing machine brand on my blog, because I am very, very sure it will last that long. (Magical thinking at work.)

I would love to tell you that at the end of this epic journey, I love doing laundry. I do not.

2. What I do love is smelling laundry as I coast by on a run. I may not be in a setting conducive to a “Rave Run” like in a Runner’s World spread every day, but I do get to smell laundry, see babies in strollers, hear birdies, eat ShotBloks (see earlier post) and socialize with my BFF/running partner. All for free.

3. For writers, reading is “research.” Writing and editing are “work.”

4. Laundry is not easy. Well, maybe it is. But it’s hateful and Sisyphean and I’ll never learn to like it. If you have something like laundry in your life, painting a room pink stripy and getting cool appliances are only bandages. Get out of the laundry business. Buy your family one shirt, pair of pants and socks and suggest that underwear is highly overrated.

5. Running and writing are not easy. All evidence presented so far seems to suggest they never will be. But after all the gnashing of teeth and manaical laughter and comments I will never forgive my running partner for, like, “Only 6.2 miles left,” (after completing 20) there is a payoff that makes it all worth it for me. Maybe being easy isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

What are your most hated tasks? What do you love? What isn’t easy but gives you a payoff that makes it all worth it?