Friday, October 26, 2012

Another night

I have always loved video games. I have owned just about every game system that has ever been made starting with Atari and wandering through gaming systems that most of you can't even remember (pong! intellivision! N64! etc).

I am NOT one of those people that thinks video games rot your brain (obviously). In fact, I think video games can sharpen your reflexes, distract you from a hard day in the salt mines and exercise your brain. Sometimes they can even be social... if you have a group of like minded friends or don't mind hopping online and playing with foul-mouthed 13 year old boys.

I found a home for this hobby as a software tester for one of my careers. I can honestly say that I loved my work. But being a nurse is has truly turned out to be the job of my dreams!

People frequently asked me how I was able to transition from a bug tester to being a registered nurse... but actually the fields are very similar. In both vocations I spend my days looking for deviations from the way the system normally operates. Whether it is a body system or computer system my job I can find the problems.

As it turns out I excel at finding problems.

Maybe this predilection for uncovering pathology is a natural born talent... or maybe something that sprung  from the way my my mind puts the world together. If I were your nurse, though, you would love that I was always sifting through the data analyzing your body's systems and looking for clues as to why things weren't behaving as they should. Part intuition... part luck... part research...part experience.

This skill set has served me well in my chosen professions. But I am not so sure it is an asset when it comes to love.

Nobody appreciates the partner who is constantly searching for the imperfections in the relationship. If my girlfriend calls me every day on her way home from work....and then suddenly stops...I notice. I subconsciously catalog any deviations from the norm and wonder about the meaning. Without even trying, I am stringing together pieces of sub-clinical data and looking for patterns. Or, as my GF would say, looking for trouble  :(

It wouldn't be fair of me to blame this on my career choices. It is probably more likely my personality type that makes me simultaneously a wonderful nurse, the best software tester you can find, and yet a troubling and worrisome life partner.

I would like to practice taking things at face value. I would like to practice trusting that all is well. I would love to not notice inconsistencies...

You can go to the gym when you need to get your body in shape. You can go to school when you need to get your analytical mind honed. You can go to church when you need to get your spiritual life strengthened.
But where can you go when your perception has somehow become overly in tune with finding problems?

Maybe I could invent a video game that would work out your attitude! An elliptical trainer for your heart! Some free weights for your SOUL!

I would make $1,000,000...

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

biscuits anyone?

OOoooOOOoooh the steroids I take for my back make it super duper hard to sleep.

But on the upside my poison ivy doesn't itch anymore :)

Do you want to know why it is so easy to be a great parent? Cause I know the complete and simple truth. With your child you know that their heart is pure. Their motivations may be dangerous, ill-conceived or self-centered...but never injurious and never malicious. So when our little angels step outside the boundaries of how you wish they would behave, you can still see that they meant no harm.

I remember early one Sunday morning when my little man was only about 2 and a half years old. I awakened at around 7 AM to a silent house. If you are a mom, and the sun is up, and your kid is ABSOLUTELY know something is wrong. I jumped out of bed, ready to find my son stolen, or dismembered, or maybe having moved to Reno to run a brothel and found his bed EMPTY. I flew to the kitchen and there he sat. On the floor. Immersed in his own world. A few weeks prior I had purchased a wonderful (yet over riced) jute rug, which was now covered by a giant mixture of flour, rice milk and butter. And elbow deep in that mixture was my boy...smiling like a mad scientist.

Of course my first reaction was relief that he was alive, but 0.002 milliseconds later came the abject horror of the mess. Flour and butter were EVERYWHERE! The rug, the tiles, the refrigerator, even the WALLS....The anger started rolling  through me as I approached him...but my footsteps broke his concentration...and when he saw me his face erupted in a giant grin  and he shouted "MOMMA!!!!!!!BISCUITS!!!!!!"

And just like that monster mom had vanished...I was immediately filled with the same excitement he offered me that morning.

He and I had made biscuits together countless times....and he wanted to surprise me that morning and make his mommy a damn good breakfast. So I grabbed the over sized cutting board, joined him on that now ruined $300 rug, and we made biscuits together. Don't get me wrong, the clean up was miserable...but the breakfast was perfect :)

If you take that story, and replace my 2 year old son, with, say, a 30 year old house guest visiting from out-of-town....well...the ending would have been much different. Most likely I would have had them put in psyche  ward at best...sprinkled in with gunfire and prison time. Maybe not prison time though, since clearly it would have been understandable.

My son couldn't have known how to bake on his own at that age, and he sure as hell didn't care about the value of the kitchen rug. His intention was to make his mom breakfast.

As a grown up dealing with other grown is trickier to trust the motivations and intentions behind the actions of others. I guess that is just another way of saying "unconditional love" - why is it so hard to love other adults unconditionally? Why can't we see the intentions and motivations behind their actions more clearly than the messes and mistakes? It would be so amazing if our friends and loved ones would see that we are only trying to make them biscuits...

Because some nights, it feels like all they see is the ruined kitchen rug.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

sweet downfall

If we had any leaves that were capable of changing colors...fall would be all around.

And I don't know what it is exactly about Fall... The sun has a particular look as it moves across the sky...the air suggests the colder days ahead. But I am very sensitive to even subtle for me even this mild Florida Fall screams as loudly as if I lived in Maine.

Summer always leaves too soon.

And I sit in my room, windows open, pulling my jackets and flannel PJs out of the cedar chest - wishing I had spent more time tasting every minute of the warm days of Summer. I wish I had gone to the beach more often, walked to park after work, and floated in a pool until I turned into a raisin.

Inevitably I spend too much of Fall dreading winter and aching for the end of Summer...wanting one more week of 100 degree weather...crazy, right?

Is it ennui? Wistful wanting? Nostalgia? What exactly is it about a ten degree temperature change and an hour less of daylight that knocks me around? And if you say SADD I will harpoon you with my rake.

And somehow I have only recently discovered Regina's early morning internet rabbit hole led me to this video...which perfectly sums up my mood at the moment. The video feels just like Fall. Enjoy a good listen, and if you run into me out and about these days - please do give me a giant hug and help me find a way to move through my autumn days like I dance through the springtime!

Happy Saturday ya'll  :)

Saturday, October 06, 2012

I suppose....

I do get chided from time to time for having this here "blog" and not really updating it.

Want to hear an amazing story about the type of excitement in my life?! Do you? REALLY?


Recently I washed my car!!! Whhhhoooooooo boy do I PARTY!
But wait. It gets MORE EXCITING! Then I waxed my car! WOW!

So I realize it doesn't seem like an interesting story...but it is ;) You guys know I can make anything all dramatic and meaningful by now...don't you?

You see, I am somewhat gimpy of late...herniated L5-S1 lumbar disc is the specific type of gimp. And I got some bad news from my doc a few weeks ago telling me to "take it easy". Which is like telling a two year old to quietly sit in the corner. He assigned some stretches and wanted to see me in a month.

But the doctor I went to before this one....well HE said I could do whatever I wanted. So as a sort of empirical trial I decided to wash/wax my car. I selected that particular activity because it always always makes me feel like my Dad is with sweet Daddy would keep my car looking so great. Him cleaning my car would be his way of helping me get ready for an upcoming trip or soothing over heated exchanges we may have had. I would sit out there with him as he worked...sometimes not talking to him at all...but in our  silence any tension I felt facing a long drive or the remorse in my heart after a hormone induce teenage rant would melt away.

Since he died I will wash my car and think about him...sometimes I even ask his advice. I miss him so much :(

The car I had before this one was a 1995 Volvo sedan. Boxy and golden, no keyless entry, no frills. I loved the hell out of that car!

After I lost my job of 17 years...disheveled and desperate, I was looking for a path, a sign of what to do, just some help.

I prayed, cried, starved myself, over indulged...begged the dark nights to transform into days where I would know what the hell I was supposed to do to support my kid.

After 3 weeks of that nonsense I decided that tactic wasn't doing any good and I gathered up my brush, bucket and turtle wax to clean my car. I must have spent 5 hours outside that day. Cleaning the inside, outside, tires, wheel wells...I even waxed under the hood. Waxing under the hood was part of my dad's mantra that "we clean where people can't see - because the car just drives better when it's spiffed up".

The whole while I was scrubbing, I was talking to my dad. Should I take some soulless desk job making good money? Should I sue the company that had laid me off? Should I reverse direction and find another career? Should I move out of state to find a higher paying job?

I had absolutely no fucking idea what to do....and my dad was a superstar when it came to working middle class anxiety.

As I polished the car dry...I literally told my dad that I was putting my future in his hands...and begged him to move mountains to show me my next step.

The next morning I dropped my son off at school and went to the gym for the first time since losing my job. The gym was less than a mile from my house, but on that drive home a 70 year old man barreled out of a parking lot and T boned my precious car. The car was totaled. I got out of the car and just started keening. I screamed at the heavens, full of rage and high on the stress hormones of the collision's impact.

The next morning I woke up unable to move. My body was wrecked, my car a crumpled mess, and I didn't even have one teaspoon of energy to navigate the insurance company's claim process. Of course the insurance company was refusing to pay for a rental car, refusing to give the green light for medical treatments and sending me down a rabbit hole of "press 1 to speak to claim rep" and "mail three copies of the original  declaration of independence to Iceland".

Bitter, hopeless and hurting, I called an attorney. "Can you get the insurance company to just honor the terms of my contract?" I asked him. "I can make it so you never even have to speak with them again" he replied. I retained his services that day.

I felt like the universe was truly kicking me around. I had prayed to my dad for help....washing and waxing my car...and 12 hours later that car was crushed and my spirit broken. I never would have acquired an attorney if I hadn't been in the state of mind. But by hiring him, the world of reimbursement opened up to me. All my medical expenses were immediately OKed. The rental car was approved. I had access to massages that were so wonderful I felt just a teeny bit of hope emerge.

I started nursing school...and my world started changing in amazing ways. My body healed, and I totally forgot I had even hired the attorney. And then one day he called me and told me the insurance company wanted to settle my case - and I would be receiving a check for 15 thousand dollars!

My mind instantly went back to the day I had been washing my car.

And I remembered my dad.

My dad didn't always fix things the best way. Usually his "fixes" consisted of duct tape, soldering wire and a cut up beer can. Once I asked him to install my car stereo speakers and the end result were plywood boxes, untethered, banging around in my back seat every time I took a turn. The boxes were nearly as big as my back seat and covered with splinters...but they worked ;)

And who knows...maybe it is tricky to send help from beyond this world. Apparently there aren't western unions.

Today I am a very proud nurse...and that check arriving when it did was a turning point in my schooling.

I feel like I am in just the right place these days. And when I washed and waxed my car last week it was my way on thanking my dad for his help along the way :)