WHAT?

  

Welcome! What's this human’s life like? Just like yours: too much to handle gracefully. Here you’ll find writing on the epic theme: What now? I post weekly-ish. Except when I don’t.

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Monday
Feb112013

Wedding Ring Scare Or, Happy Valentine’s Day From The Universe

I walked over to Hubby reading at the dining room table, lunch plate shoved to one side, book resting on crumbs and a crumpled napkin. He looked up at me. “You OK?” 

I leaned against his side, laid my arm across his back and my cheek on his head. He pressed closer. A low moan escaped me. 

We had just spent an hour looking for my very beautiful wedding ring, a handcrafted original, like us. Together, we had bought this ring and Hubby’s, also an original, twelve years ago on our eighteenth. In celebration and affirmation of our doom: only death would part us now.

I found it at the bottom of my bag. It must have slid off my finger last night when I shoved my wallet in after paying the waiter. 

That had never happened before, it slipping off my finger.  What if, when we arrived at the restaurant, it had pulled off with my glove? And fallen to the floor? Without my noticing? I’d never have seen it again. How lucky it had fallen in my purse. 

It was lucky too, that I found it there. It could have been marooned for years because I rarely change purses. That’s the down side of being orderly. 

If something isn’t where it’s supposed to be, it’s lost, and so am I. Never more so than with this ring. I keep track of it with a vigilance that is a daily reminder that attachments are a joy, a risk and a nuisance. 

After I wash and dry my hands, the ring still holds a little water, which chafes lightly, multiple times a day, every day. Lotion gunks up its sparkly beauty. I forgo applying some when I’m in a hurry. If I forget to replace the ring on my finger, I might also forget where I took it off. 

Before sleep, I remove all my jewelry, always placing the ring on its little plate in its designated place. Not finding it there came as a body blow. How is it I didn’t notice it was missing when I stripped off my earrings and necklace?

It wasn’t in any of the logical, alternate places. I systematically tossed wastebaskets and the kitchen garbage. Searching, searching, I felt increasingly hopeless. “It’s somewhere in the house, don’t worry,” Hubby reassured me.

It’s only a ring, I reminded myself. It’s irreplaceable, my heart squeezed.

I turned on the hall light, and again pulled my wallet from my purse. Again unzipped the change pocket (where I stash the ring on the rare occasions I take it off outside the house), shook the change around in the light— No, not there— opened my bag to replace the wallet and the light hit the bottom just so. I looked down and there it was. Sitting on black leather, a sparkly golden O.

My chest released and opened and only then did I know how deeply grieved I’d been. 

“I don’t like what I went through, thinking it was gone,” I breathed on Hubby’s hairline.

He slipped his arm around my waist, pulling me closer.  “Sweetie, it’s only a ring.”

I held on to his solid warmth that much tighter, “I know.” 

*

behind bare branches,

the night sky black velvet

pricked with white…

Monday
Jan282013

Holiday Travails. An Interview With I. M. Trapt, M.D.

January 2013, Docs Amongst Us, human interest subsidiary of DweebMD.  Dee Essemfour interviews I. M. Trapt, M.D., shrink, researcher and regular contributor to the esteemed science journal, Family Hell.

DE: So, Dr. Trapt, did you follow your own advice, and stay away from family over the holidays?

IMT: Of course not. Usually we spend only a week with my side in Atlanta. But this year, we added a second to take a cruise with Hubby’s. Fourteen consecutive days. I barely survived. 

DE:  How come? Don’t get along?

IMT: (laughs) More like, too much of a good thing. I’m used to lots of solitude. I didn’t get any. The withdrawal— I don’t want to talk about it. But, speaking of horror: I’m done flying. 

DE: Oh? Problem with your flights?

IMT: When isn’t there a problem?  You know shell shock? With this last trip, I got flight shock.

DE: What happened? 

IMT: Went to check-in on-line the day before departure to find— Excuse me, to NOT find our flight. Vanished. Gone. Poof. 

DE: No! 

IMT:  Eliminated. Without notice.  We’re talking two days before Christmas. I couldn’t breathe. My heart raced. I actually left my body, to hover up by the ceiling. I watched myself stare at the laptop screen. 

DE: Were you able to rebook? 

IMT: Oh sure. If we flew on the 27th. Given we were departing Atlanta for Ft. Lauderdale on the 28th, I seriously considered it.

DE: Ha! What’d you do? 

IMT: I flashbacked. I raged. I rented a car one-way.

DE: You drove the eleven hundred miles to Atlanta?! 

IMT: Not me. Hubby. 

DE: Gotcha. Mine’s like that too.

IMT: It was awesome! Hubby kept his pocketknife, Son kept his electronic devices turned on and I kept my seat in the unlocked and reclined position. And, no smarmy pilot announcements thanking us for the honor of screwing us!

DE: That’s a long drive. 

IMT: But it passed so… naturally. 

DE: What do you mean? 

IMT: There’s something surreal, don’t you think, about departing in subzero snow and a few hours later deplaning in subtropical sun? 

DE: (dropping her voice into Rod Serling register) “…Your next stop... the Twilight Zone.” DOO doo DOO doo, DOO doo DOO doo…. 

IMT: (laughs) Right! As we drove south through four temperature zones, the snow became sleet became rain. When we arrived two days later in Atlanta, it was clear in the low fifties. The sun set at five forty five! Instead of four thirty. My body said, Flying is for the birds!

DE: Ha! 

IMT: My twelve-year old nephew kept texting for updates. Location, weather, jokes, photos, puns, mileage countdown, you name it, we texted it! 

DE:  So what about that cruise?

IMT: My in-laws took our family and Hubby’s sister’s family on a cruise in honor of their 60th. They still get along! Can you imagine? What an achievement! 

DE: Congrats to your in-laws!

IMT: It was a three-generation extravaganza. 

DE: Where did you go? 

IMT: The Caribbean: Puerto Rico, St. Martin and St. Thomas. Seven days of heat, sun, humidity, and glittering teal water. Around the islands anyway. 

DE: Nice!

IMT: Basking like a lizard on the balcony taking in the horizon-less blue of the Atlantic, great food whenever we wanted to eat, room tidied twice a day, staff on tap for every demand, what’s not to love, right?     

DE: Don’t tell me you didn’t. 

IMT: Oh, I did! For two days. 

DE: Then what?

IMT: I felt… like Woody Allen getting his shoes shined against his will.

DE: Explain. 

IMT: Say I wanted ice in the room. It wasn’t an option to get it myself. I had to call room service. While waiting for delivery, I’d read a Matt Helm by Donald Hamilton. 

DE: I don’t know that author. 

IMT: Too bad! Excellent 60’s noir. Gritty, with lashings of tongue-in-cheek. So, Matt finds himself looking down the barrel of a loaded gun, held by his partner— Tap tap. It’s the room attendant, empty-handed.  He smiles, I smile, he requests the ice bucket, I hand it over, Thank you Madame, Oh, thank you. Matt drags the body out of the line of sight from the window, stashes his partner’s gun in his waistband and— Tap tap. We exchange polite smiles, I accept the ice, Thank you so much, My pleasure Madame. 

DE: I don’t see the problem. 

IMT: There was no escape from the “luxury” of waiting, being interrupted, making nice and having no purpose! The rub became agonizing, like not being able to change out of wet jeans. 

DE: What’d you do? 

IMT: You mean, besides surrender? Well, when I wasn’t visiting, eating or snoozing, I people watched. Paying customers. Staff: room attendants, entertainers, wait staff, the peons and bosses. The interactions. Everybody with an agenda. Nothing like being trapped on the open ocean in a huge floating hotel holding 4500 people— most of them morons— to generate that fine hint of menace. We’re talking the perfect setting for a locked room mystery. If only I were a novelist! 

DE: Did you ever get off the boat? 

IMT: Oh sure. For about five hours each port. I thought cruises were transportation, a way of getting to a destination. But, no. Cruises are all about... cruising.

DE: So I take it you enjoyed yourself so much you were sorry to return to work? 

IMT: Ha ha. Actually, it was a big relief to get back in harness and re-assume the mantle of responsibility and purpose! I must have been a sled dog in a previous life. 

DE: That’s good, because didn’t your town get hit with a blizzard while you were sunning and funning? 

IMT: It was eighty-six and muggy in Ft. Lauderdale the morning we flew out. We arrived home to single digits and everything blanketed in white. One of the gas stations on Rt. 9 was missing its fuel island canopy. The storm had wrenched it off and tossed it into the neighboring business’s parking lot!

DE: What a re-entry!

DE: Yeah, you’re not kidding. Back to work the next day, the pace ferocious from the two-week backlog. The transition was so abrupt—  DOO doo DOO doo, DOO doo DOO doo!  (dropping her voice)— Your next stop… the Twilight Zone!  In deep winter, I’ll remember summer: the heat, the sun, the long days…. But the memory is so far in the past, I wonder, Did it really happen? The vacation was only a month ago, but Was it a dream? 

DE: You’ll have proof it wasn’t when the refund for that disappeared flight shows up on your next credit card statement!

IMT: ACK! Don’t remind me! (Snorts) I’ll believe that refund when I see it. 

DE: (laughs) Welcome back Dr. Trapt and thanks for speaking with us. 

IMT: Thank you. 

Friday
Dec212012

Peace On Earth

The Peace of Wild Things by Wendell Berry 

Dwight 2007 - Day 1 - StarsWhen despair for the world grows in me

and I wake in the night at the least sound

in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,

I go and lie down where the wood drake

rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.

I come into the peace of wild things

who do not tax their lives with forethought

of grief. I come into the presence of still water.

And I feel above me the day-blind stars

waiting with their light. For a time

I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

 

Wendell Berry, "The Peace of Wild Things" from The Selected Poems of Wendell Berry.

Tuesday
Dec182012

‘Tis Overwhelm. Or, Tweetings Of The Season!

(Warning: The following post is written in Twitter-eez. Each tweet, the Twitter unit of communication, is limited to 140 characters, including spaces. Shaving is the name of the game. Should you encounter a series of letters that make no sense to you, scroll to the bottom of the post for translation assistance.)

11.19 Work: Mountains of ph calls, pt charts, insur busywork. Overbooked & everybody sick. Need a mad scientist to clone me. #2much 

11.21 Slow cooked a monster brisket for thxgiv @ friends tomorrow. Ate half at dinner today. #woops 

11.23 Son worked Black Friday @ GameStop, midnight to 8 a.m. “U wouldn't believe the mall parking lot! Completely full!”

11.24 OMG! Forgot to pay the bills! #woops

11.25 Started to-do list. Checking it twice. Thrice. Ad nauseam. 

12.3 At check out, lady buying baubles flicks fingers: “I’ll have glitter everywhere!”  D: “Yes, but glitter is AWESOME.”

12.5 Hubby: “I want a mig welder. Put out the word for holiday $$.” Thing weighs 40 lbs, costs $300-600, eats fingers for breakfast.

12.6 Re annual trek to D’s side, D to H: I’m shipping holiday presents instead of shlepping them.

12.6 H to D: You can ship the mig welder. That way you don’t have to schlep it.

12.7 Have 2 hours to wrap presents but surf brainpickings.org instead. #tomorrowtomorrow

12.8 Happy Hanukkah! 

12.11 Son shoots “selfie” or, is it a cell-fy? with D’s cell phone camera. Shades of Magritte’s “Son of Man?” tinyurl.com/5jlh4u 

12.10 New insur billing codes finally out. 25+ instead of 4. BIG improvement. Right. Reimbursement rates? MIA. Starts Jan 1 #totalscam

12.10 D published in clevermag.com! Lol! Obviously the editor’s standards are low. 

12.14 Sandy Hook Elementary, Newtown, CT. There are no words. Hugged Son. Fiercely.

12.15 Sorrow for heroes/victims Sandy Hook. Re perp: What could cause such violence? Left temporal lobe lesion? The brain: We know so little. 

12.17 Lmao surfing @ dogshaming.com. “We supply your furry friend with a healthy dose of shaming.” I am not ashamed.

12.17 I am ashamed. Sandy Hook is weeping. Is it unseemly to carry on enjoying my life? 

12.17 Meanwhile, Town X celebrates a windfall. If I were Sandy Hook victim, would it shame me to be grief stricken while X revels? Of course not 

12.17 When tragedy strikes, sorrow. When funny strikes, laugh. “Flowing water never grows stagnant.” Carrying on is necessary. For balance.

12.17 Finally mailed presents. Paid triple for 2-3 day delivery. #ohwell 

12.18 Crazy busy buttoning up practice prior to vacating. #2much

12.22 1st, Poodle Oodle shook all the way there.  Next, she ran to boarder without looking back. Always in the moment, our little Zen sage.

12.23 Vacation! Back to blogging next year! 

12.25 Merry Christmas! 

12.31 Happy New Year! Wishing you and yours a happy, healthy and prosperous 2013! #thanks4readingshrinku! 

*Incomplete Twitter/English Bilingual Dictionary*

(If printed out, suitable for wrapping fish.)

Aka = also known as

Lol = laugh out loud

Btw = by the way

OMG = oh my god

Lmao = laugh my ass off

MIA = missing in action

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