Sunday, August 30, 2015

Forty-two Inches of Addiction

Don’t do it, they said. You’ll regret it, they said. Once you start you cannot stop, they said. But it’s just this once, I said. I can stop anytime I want to, I said. I bought the attachments, I helped hook-up the instrumental parts to begin, together we contemplated our choices, and then we made our selection.

For better or worse, we began our journey with full acknowledgment of what the end results might be, but confident in our own will power, in that nothing but good could come of our actions. We never saw it coming, we never knew just how wrong we could be.

Our first journey would take us into the dark, secret world of motorcycle gangs, their families, their lives, and their destructible love for one another. At first I felt pure trepidation, it was so violent and unforgiving; their lives so strangled by their own honor code of kill or be killed. All I saw for days on end were crazy, delusional people; but then it all begin to change.

Suddenly they were all part of my family, their problems my problems, and their solutions, while not anything like my own; they suddenly seemed justified.  I was rooting for the men in cut-off sleeves and leather jackets, and their old ladies who dressed like era 1950; big hair, high-heeled pumps, and sass, loads of sass.

Sons of Anarchy gave me insight and wonderment, as well as confusion, as to who were really the good guys, and who were really not. I would watch til the bitter, but triumphantly sad end. Cheering for the bad guys, grieving that it was over, and reminiscing for all the lives I saw come and go in just three weeks’ time.

Afterward I was lost, my evenings were unaccounted for again, and my weekends empty; I know I said it couldn’t happen to me, but it did, so I delved back into the archives of shows gone past and found another family to follow, to love.

This family would lead us into the mysterious, powerful, and if to be believed, very scary world of The White House. Where the most powerful voices in the United States make all the important decisions, even the decisions about who will live and who must die, all for the good of the people. 
The president and his wife worked like well-oiled machines in their efforts to manipulate the world and how it is ran, and House of Cards would leave me to forever wonder and worry, if that’s the way the world really does work.

As if that view of the White House wasn’t enough, I’m now enjoying/worrying over another approach, where the scenes are run from behind the podium and the President is but a puppet being mastered with strings from a stage of corruption. Scandal is my latest viewing, we’re only on season two, so I have no idea just how much more my own conspiracy theories will be challenged in the days to come.

My name is Michelle, and I am a Netflix addict. 

Saturday, August 22, 2015

The Pains of Progress

I have seen and heard things that cannot be erased. This is one more time in my life that I wish I had set-up a remote video camera and just left it rolling so the world could know, and hear all the things that I try and describe to you as first-hand accounts of all the folly that goes on in our home.

This weekend we are had our home fully re-carpeted and our one, lone bathroom re-floored. I paid the company, from where I bought all the carpet and flooring, an extra fee to move all of our furniture. I naively believed at the time, that this would relieve my family of most of the hard, physical work, therefore making this purchase of new flooring that much more pleasing when I was executing my sales-pitch to them in the beginning of this venture.

The reality of the situation is that I have three times the “stuff” than I have furniture, and I wish I could tell you what all I had to listen to in order to get the help and results from the men in my family in order to get all the preliminary work done.

Some comments were: “I should have hired me some girls from the elementary school down the road” from my husband to my son, plus “This is heavier than it looks now, so you’re gonna need to bow-up”, and “You just need to worry about your end, Big Daddy has this end taken care of” from my son to my husband, and lastly (in a higher pitch almost squeal) “Are you picking up your end or I’m toting mine and yours, plus the part that’s dragging?” It was one big bicker-laugh-fest between them all day long.

At some point at the end of the whole process, we were putting everything back in place, and suddenly, items that had been on top of my `etajere were no longer fitting properly. It seems with the plushness of the carpet, also came added height, which of course made the height of the furniture change. Between that, and all the arguing about the lights I have always had strategically placed all over it and comments about Fire Marshal’s being called, I was done.

It was suddenly all I could take and I sat down, trying to regulate my breathing and fighting back the tears from the frustrations of the day. But that wouldn’t last very long, my family rallied me back with jokes and laughter and we got it all done.

But I will tell you this, I’m not so sure all that decorating we do for Christmas is going to happen this year. I just got everything back where it belongs, and I’m just not up for that all over again. And because that holiday always requires furniture to be moved and rearranged as well, I’m even having second thoughts about my Christmas tree; I’m thinking a small table-tree might do. It’s August and that’s end of November, and I‘m thinking it’s going to be too soon, too fresh; but we’ll see. 

Friday, August 14, 2015

Freedom on Aisle Five

While I think Target is taking a move towards something that shouldn't have to be identified as a "happening event", I will say it's a move in the right direction. Removing all gender-based signs on their toy aisles is a step forward, but should actually be an unnecessary step into the future of gender equality/freedom. I have never understood the male/female labeling of anything, toys or otherwise.

When my children went to the toy section of any store to pick out something with their gift money, I never guided them toward any labeled aisle. They picked out what they wanted, they bought it, and we went home; no judgement. I took their choices to be whatever it was at the particular time that interested them, and if their choices were diverse, then in my mind, I knew so was their curiosity and thinking.

My paternal grandmother had one male, and two females as children and it seemed the toys she had the most of were “male-oriented”.  They were toys that originally belonged to my daddy when he was a little boy so I spent summers playing with Lincoln Logs and marbles, as well as learning cross-stitch and how to properly iron a handkerchief.

There was only one male grandchild in our immediate family, so all the female grandchildren played with them too, as did my grandmother, right there with us, in the middle of the floor. As was the usual, my wise, beautiful grandmother was ahead of her time in knowing that the only boundaries that restrict anyone from being anything, are the boundaries we set for ourselves.

Santa Claus must have also been equally intelligent, as there were years that he brought play vacuums and Easy Bake ovens into our own home and placed them under the tree. Mostly by request from small children with modern ideas, but also with confidence that the gifts would bring with them, the right lessons for the times at hand.

While I’m not a burning bra - women libber, I am a woman that worked in a man’s world for over 20 years and held my own every single day; with use of my mental prowess, not my physical strengths.  I never cared about digging ditches or building houses, but I always knew, that the choice was mine should I had wanted to do so.

In Gadsden County, you’ll see just as many young girls/women in hunting/fishing attire, standing next to the biggest bucks and the biggest fish. I’ve seen them out-shoot and out-fish, many a young boy/man, and stand tall with pride and dignity as they smiled for the camera with the biggest catch of any given season.

Both of my male children know how to take care of themselves, clean a house properly, and cook magnificently. Their future partners will be proud one day that while choosing their life partners, they will have found people who grew-up with their hopes and dreams unhindered and fulfilled, and their boundaries wide-open in all the right places. Equal opportunity isn’t just about jobs anymore, it’s about life.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Day of The Dog

Every person I pass on the street is dragging and in practical meltdown, their heads are in a permanent state of hang, eyes never meeting and mouths lacking the energy to curve upward in a smile, arms no longer swinging with enthusiasm, but instead limp by their sides like wet noodles.

Their clothes are a misrepresentation of who they usually are and how they dress. They’re headed to work, so certain clothing requirements are expected, but they’re so close to the edge of the dress code with their see-through linens and loose fitting attire, nothing that touches, clings or increases warmth, and no dark, heavy fabric that seems to boil the lining of the skin.

People sitting on park benches are no longer feeding the birds or enjoying the scenery; instead their heads are bent as if in prayer, and their shoulders slumped in near defeat. They no longer wave when others pass by - instead their arms are dangling in resignation that strength will never return. They no longer speak with greetings, for their vocal cords are on strike from the constant damp, dripping liquid that forms every morning and afternoon as heat meets humidity.

Even the lawns have resigned themselves to feast or famine with what nature provides as moisture, so dry for weeks that the grass and flowers are wilted and beginning to turn the colors of fall, but then, the rain comes. And it comes and comes, so much that everything is squishingly-saturated, bird baths are overflowing, rain meters have reached their capacity for measurement and even the animals, who just days ago were dragging with their tongues touching the ground, are now running for shelter and dry dirt to lay lie on.

But the people, they are reveling in the rain, so thankful for an excuse to stay indoors, away from the smoldering heat and anything that requires that they spend time in the dog days of summer. I have heard the saying “dog days of summer” all of my life, but I have never really known what that technically meant. So I googled it, and this is what I found: The dog days continued through the early 19th century to be perceived as foreboding a time of evil, wherein "the Sea boiled, the Wine turned sour, Dogs grew mad, and all other creatures became languid; causing to man, among other diseases, burning fevers, hysterics, and phrensies." That my friends, is the most accurate explanation I have ever heard for the month of August.

I’ll admit I was ready for fall as early as May, because we sure didn’t have much of a spring this year, other than April and what it brings with it: blooming flowers, green-leaved trees, the fresh smells of dirt and growth – I could really care less if we only had one season, not necessarily winter, but surely not summer either.  Maybe if instead, we just had a season of cool mornings, warm afternoons, and cool, breezy evenings that run you off the front porch come sundown.

But I’m patient, and I hear September calling my name.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Redneck or Genius

I knew when me and the boys moved to Quincy in 1998, we were moving to the closest version of "in the country" we had ever seen. My children were twelve and three, and although I am sure it was a culture shock for my 12 year old, my 3 year old never skipped a beat, as a matter of fact my three year old flourished. He slipped right into the good old boy network like it was his second skin; scarily so, as most of the changes began to form.

He attended a daycare center here in Quincy, so he had constant interaction with other children and adults. We were sitting at our breakfast table one morning, and suddenly I noticed, Zachary was talking funny - out of the side of his mouth, like an old cowboy side-winder, and with some kind of crazy sounding accent to boot.

I looked at my oldest son Josh, and asked him “What in the world was happening to our Zachary?!” I remember telling him, “We moved away too soon, we didn't stay long enough for Zach’s speech to be fully developed! And now, look at him, talking out of the side of his mouth like John Wayne with a southern drawl.”

Well the-talking-out-the-side-of-his-mouth thing was only a phase thank goodness, but the speech, the accent, and the walk is all still there. And on nights like that one long ago, I was thankful for the some of the things Zachary seemed to have picked-up along the way from people like my husband and other men-folk who didn’t mind spending time with him and who had just as much ingenuity as they had “smarts.”

One night when Zach was about fourteen, a storm came through and the lights went out for about three hours. Zach had a party to go to, he hadn’t showered, and we had about an hour to spare before he absolutely had to start getting dressed. I remember being thankful I didn’t have a girl; can you imagine the drama, trying to get her hair washed, dried, and fixed, and her make-up on?!

Zach and my husband disappeared outside into the darkness and I thought “Great! They’re going to the shed to get the generator!” Well, they came back, but they didn’t have the generator, they had my solar lights, the same solar lights that were originally IN THE GROUND, IN MY YARD.

Well, as it turns out, those solar lights make great emergency lights. Our lights went out again just the other night. It had already been a couple of hours, it was getting late, and I was ready to shower, so using the genius idea of my men from years ago, I asked my husband to please bring me one of those lights from outside.

I took my shower AND shaved my legs by the lone beam of solar light (as only one remains now) in the towel rack – with NO CUTS! No batteries required and no worries of fires from candles!

Good ole’ country living with a touch of natural modernization!