*When I say “yourself,” I mean myself.
Sometimes life progresses with no surprises. You (I) wake up eager to conquer your (my) typical daily routine:
- Get licky dogs off face
- Put said dogs outside
- Feed the aforementioned
- Feed self
- Engage in work of some sort
- Shop for sustenance
- Hoard toilet paper
- Maintain order- laundry and cleaning
- Do wellness checks
Sometimes, a wellness check means walking to another room to check on mum. Occasionally, it’s a text or phone call to the kids. And, every so often, it’s an email to Attorney General Merrick Garland (because what the Hell is he doing?)
Review, verify, check. You (I) complete those tasks and thereafter, the day is yours (mine), whatever that means. What do you (I) do with your free time? You (I) read and pretend to write. No funk here. These are the good days with no catastrophic events.
SQUIRREL!!! (I’m veering off-topic.) This hundred-year-old house I live in reminds me of the very used, lime green Volkswagen Beetle I once purchased for my daughter. It was cute and smelled like melted crayons. I could have bought two new cars for all the money I put into trying to preserve that car over the years. Last year, it passed the point of no return, flatline. It’s scrapped metal now, but I can still smell the melted crayons. (Sob.)
Focus! How the funk begins: You (I) live in a house you (I) love, but it won’t stop fucking with you (me.) Your (my) credit card is so hot from overuse that it’s about to burst into flames. You (I) have to set it aside and take a step back.
The solution is in the power of the pen, and I’ll tell you why. There is an unparalleled satisfaction in putting a checkmark next to a problem. It is better than vegan cheese. (ewe) Writing a list will help remind you (me) of the items you (I) exchanged for insurmountable debt.
✔️Furnace and air conditioner replaced (Insert cash register chime.)
✔️Air ducts cleaned (Insert cash register chime.)
✔️Water heater replaced (Insert cash register chime.)
✔️Well water pump replaced (Insert cash register chime.)
✔️Exterminator for ongoing rodent in wall problem. This checkmark is questionable.
✔️My oldest dog had 21 teeth pulled in July. (Insert cash register chime.)
The checkmarks would make me feel better if the debt wasn’t on a high-interest credit card, but we can think about that tomorrow.
https://youtu.be/UT26aSU6qpA Bum, bum, bum
That is all done, but for the love of God, you (I) must have been a serial killer in a past life because this is some bad karma.
✔️ Whole-house water filtration system purchased (Insert cash register chime.) This sounds like a luxury item but hear me out. The new water pump brought up copious amounts of rust that was destroying my sinks, tubs, toilets, and my beautiful hair. (We discussed sarcasm yesterday.)
Every so often, your (my) burden becomes heavier than normal. While you (I) expect and plan for the unexpected, sometimes everything goes wrong at the same time. Turning off your (my) brain at night becomes impossible. Coping by hiding under your (my) bed only delays the inevitable and exacerbates existing problems. Chin-up because although life sucks, tomorrow is another day.
Occasionally you can defer maintenance. Water coming in from the ceiling is not a repair you can put off. I start by calling roofing companies to obtain several estimates. I hope insurance will cover some of the cost.
Now we get to the yet to-do list
- Imagine a leaky roof has caused damage to the drywall in your (my) home- How do you (I) deal with this without money? What would Jesus do? Think woman! Hmm… I can’t turn a fish into wine or turn water into a meal for hundreds. This item goes to the top of the to-list.
- Water softener (different than the water filtration,) has become just for show, pretty, but it’s dead. It’s like Bernie from “Weekend at Bernie’s.” Regardless, soft water is like creamy peanut butter, it is for wimps. This is one item that will go to the bottom of the list.
- Half the electrical outlets don’t work, likely because of mice chewing through wires in the walls. This can be deferred as well because the glass is half full.
- The oven smells of gas when in use. This is likely also a rodent chewing-related problem. Despite my fear that the oven will explode, there is an easy solution. Never cook again and ignore this problem.
- Yay! Something new! My reliable car is making a clicking noise so loud that no matter how high I turn up the music I can still hear it. This goes to the top of the list.
Screech— The oven moves up on my list of priorities because my mother, who has come under my care, wants to host Thanksgiving. She’s very old, so this dinner will be my responsibility.
You’ve (I’ve) written this all down. Now put the list in a drawer and fugetaboutit until the time comes when you can tackle it. I screwed this step up because the list is on my phone, so I can’t put it away.
Regardless, since the list exists you (I) should be able to turn off your (my) brain at night and relax. Problems can weigh you (me) down, affecting sleep, and appetite.
I am determined to find the long-lost rainbows and butterflies, transported on the backs of flying unicorns with a contrail of glitter behind them. I miss the blithe lightness that my soul never had.
In conclusion, the method of self preservation I offer you is to do the following:
- Make a list.
Now it’s time for three old jokes.
I was washing my car with a friend. He said, “Can’t you just use a sponge?”(Steven King tweeted this joke)
Two hunters are in the woods. One guy collapses. He’s not breathing, so the other guy gets out his phone, calls 911, and yells “I THINK MY FRIEND IS DEAD? WHAT CAN I DO?”
The operator replies, “Calm down. First, make sure he’s dead.”
There’s silence, then a shot, and the guy says, “OK, now what?”
So this priest is walking downtown. A woman walks up says “BJ $20.”
Later at the rectory, he goes up to a nun and asks “What’s a BJ?”
She says “It’s $20, just like downtown.”
Let me try to end with this on a positive note. A year from now items on this list will either still exist or be completed. More things will break. There will never be enough money. We have to learn to live with this. Let the worry go.