Another long one…so sorry…
Before I tell you about the “walk of shame” I just took from the gas station to my car…I feel like it’s important to tell you how I got there.
Last week at work an enormous project was given to my team with very little time to complete it. The timing couldn’t have been better (worse) because my organization’s largest event of the year was today. So not only did we have an enormous project to complete, but we were also in last-minute prep mode for today’s event. It resulted in my working long days, all last weekend, nights, and some very early mornings. My sleep schedule and meal schedule and, for that matter, the nutritional make-up of my meals have been totally off for the past eight days.
Last night when I got home at 8pm, knowing I needed to be up this morning at 3am, I couldn’t even muster the energy to murder my husband when I realized the windows were open and the downpour had ruined the wooden shelves we have in our bedroom. My house is ridiculous…I mean seriously it looks like a high school football team was on house arrest for a month in here. Cereal boxes on their sides on the tables, dirty dishes everywhere, clothes everywhere, paperwork, and flip-flops, and dog bones, and notebooks, and business cards that have blown from the shelves to the floor in the wind, and hangers on every door handle, and so on, and so on.
I knew I’d get done a couple of hours early today and that I wouldn’t be going in tomorrow, so I let it go. Typically any of these things by themselves, let alone the combination of all of them with my being over tired and having eaten poorly for a week, would have put me right over the edge. But I thought I’d come home this afternoon, take a well deserved nap, and then start working on getting this house in order. I figured that between this evening and all day tomorrow I could have it in perfect shape by the time I have to grab the little girls from the bus stop tomorrow afternoon.
As an aside. I’ve told you about my office before, right? It shares a room with my washer, dryer, furnace, water heater, and well pump. All of those things aside, last fall I bought a beautiful desk I’d coveted for years, I have a lovely desk chair that my step-dad bought me years ago, I have a gigantic book shelf that is bursting at the seams with books, a fantastic upholstered bench on which the little girls like to sit, a fabulous chair that resembles a 1940s living room chair, and pictures and pictures of my husband, little girls, and I. It is truly my happy place.
So I get home this afternoon, exhausted, ready for a nap, having worked 80 hours in the past eight days. I let the dog out of his kennel, notice something amiss, walk into my office, and it. Is. Flooded. Standing water. Everywhere. A flooded basement isn’t something that will wait for me to nap. A flooded basement will not accommodate my need to
fumigate / tear down / bomb / run away from / clean my house. A flooded basement isn’t anything but a FLOODED. F-CKING. BASEMENT. That needs immediate attention. Son of a b-tch.
I didn’t even change clothes. I got the shop vac out of the garage, started removing the carpet tiles that sat under the standing water, and began cleaning it up systematically. My husband met me at home as I was finishing up and took me out to dinner. We spent dinner catching-up, talking about my company’s event this morning, and relaxing. We left and he headed to school and I started to head home.
Only…here’s what happened. I got into my car and the full weight of my week and my day started to weigh heavily on me. I’m so tired, my whole body hurts from event prep, I have two days of my class to catch-up on, and a house to
fumigate / tear down / bomb / run away from / clean, and holy hell has it been a ridiculous week full of stress and craziness. This is when I decided I needed hot cocoa. After two days of rain (hence the effing flood in my basement) it has cooled off significantly.
I ran to Target, found hot cocoa, and then as I headed to check-out I thought ‘I need a Twix.’
Wait…I should say…I don’t actually buy candy bars. It’s not my thing. I eat them only in Halloween candy size at Halloween.
I went to the check-out line to which I was directed by a helpful girl in red and khaki, which was a gum aisle instead of a candy aisle. I saw that as a sign. Until I got back to my car and once again felt the weight of my week and my day. So I did something wholly out of character and I stopped at a gas station. Not for gas. Or a winning lottery ticket. But for one of those gas station cookies. You know…maybe a peanut butter cookie? Or M&M? Or the chocolate kind with the white chocolate chips? Yummmm…right? Yes, well they had already switched to donuts for tomorrow morning’s rush hour. This could have been taken as yet another sign to seriously…JUST GO HOME…but I thought ‘Twix…or Rolos…either will do just fine.’
So…umm…I grabbed both. I made self-deprecating jokes with the woman working who thought I was terribly funny (I’m assuming?), I quickly went out the door, and for some reason the cop coming in made me feel like I had to hide the candy I’d just paid for. It’s nice to know that at 36 I feel like I have to hide candy from figures of authority. “Hi honey…yes I’m in jail…they caught me with candy for which I paid full-price.”
I came home and sat my a-s on the couch to watch reality tv and really started thinking about my week. It was a bad one. I won’t even go into the BS at work. But now that I’m at the end of it I feel remarkably calm. Although it could be the million grams of sugar I just inhaled in four minutes (wait…you didn’t think I’d make it the five miles home without finishing off the candy did you???).
Over the past couple of weeks, and in the past few days, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about my life as it stands right this second. Recently I’ve been in the right place (space?) to have one insightful conversation after another. I’ve had conversations about the struggles of others that have helped me see some of my own differently. I’ve figured out how I can work in my organization and make a difference while keeping those who make me feel violent at arm’s length. I’ve been thinking about how ridiculous I am and that it might just be okay. I’ve been thinking about this blog and my writing and how I want that to continue and grow.
The things I enjoy most in other writers’ work, my favorite experiences, the conversations I find most fulfilling, and the posts that I have the most fun or satisfying time writing are those that are about how perfectly flawed life can be. People’s idiosyncracies make them interesting. People who have overcome great struggle have so much more compassion and wisdom. Our lives are made so much richer by people who are perfect BECAUSE of their flaws and who are brutally honest about it. Even when it’s not easy or pretty or what any of us necessarily want to hear. I truly want to be a part of that mix. Celebrating our flaws, struggles, successes, joy, and how all of it combined makes us who and what we are.
TODAY: What if instead of focusing on the things I’m not, the kind of job I don’t have, the kind of house in which I don’t live, and the kind of family we aren’t, I need to realize how all of that makes me me. What if I’m better because of the challenges? What if I’m perfectly flawed and that’s what makes me kind of awesome? Even if that means that sometimes I need to make a candy run and smuggle the paid-for candy past the cops…or cleaning up a flooded basement in a skirt…or living in chaos…and being okay with all of it.