Friday, September 23, 2016

Early to bed, early to that still a thing?

Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.  Does it?  Does it really?  Sometimes early to bed means you miss a lot of good stuff, like Monday night football and late night Ben and Jerry's Pfish Food binges. Early to rise sounds good, but unless you live alone, instead of making you healthy, etc, it could just make you annoying. I suppose you could live with another irritatingly early riser, but what are the chances of that happening? The people I know who smugly announce that they get up at the crack of dawn and have a gazillion things accomplished by breakfast, all have suffering housemates who would roll their eyes at them if they weren't so frickin' tired all the time from all that early morning racket.  I used to pretend I was an early riser, but actually I was just a woman who got woken up by her dog who thought the neighborhood was in dire need of policing before the sun rose. If I had been a true dyed in the wool early riser, I would have gotten up waaay before him and had a big go cup of hot, liquid energy to sip along the way. That never happened. Instead, I would stagger along behind his happily wagging tail as he sniffed his way around the block for the umpteenth time, chanting coffee, coffee, coffee (he sniffed, I chanted). So no, not an early riser. That's one of the perks of working from home. Don't have to be chipper or smiling or even coherent at 6 in the morning, or 7 or noon. I mentioned once to my daughter how annoying it was to have people want to talk to me in the morning and did she have that problem. No, she said...people around her know better. Amazing woman, my daughter. She has this ability to tell people to stop talking to her and no one gets offended. She says it so pleasantly. When I try it, people go all wide eyed on me. Perhaps I snarl it. People are so easily irritated (insert eye roll here).

And what about that early to bed thing?  How early is early? 6? 8? Earlier? I could never manage that. While it is sometimes fun to be the first one awake, it is much more fun to be the last one. I get all my best reading done after 10pm. There is just something about a quiet, dark house and a well written book that seem to go together. Ditto for good movies. If you are a marathon Netflixer, you know what I mean. Pajamas, movie/book, wine. Three of my favorite things blended together.

Bill Maher once said the reason he became a comedian was because of the hours. He stayed up all night and slept all day and got paid at the end of the week. I can understand that. One summer, when I was 21, I worked 3-11pm at the front desk of the Disneyland Hotel. Employees got into the Park free after 10pm, so I would badge me and my then husband in and we would wander around until way after it closed. We would sometimes not get home until after 2am, when I would fall into bed and not budge until just before I had to go to work again. My entire summer was spent either sleeping or working. It wasn't really a sustainable schedule. Being young helped. Having no kids helped. Getting to wear a uniform and not having to think about clothes really helped. Once I started back to school in the Fall, I had to quit, but it was a great summer.  Could I do that now?  Probably not. I might be up at midnight, but I am in pajamas with the whole movie/book/wine thing going on, not smiling at people as they checked out of the hotel, happily wishing them a good rest of the evening.

So not an early to riser nor early to bedder. More of an up by 8 and in bed around midnighter. As a result I am healthy, tho not wealthy, and only occasionally wise. It's a fair trade off.

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Looking thru love goggles

I have a small abrasion on my eyelid, so have foregone wearing makeup for the past several days, something I rarely do. I decided what the heck, I work from home, there's no one to scare, I'll give my hair a break, too.  So instead of blowdrying my hair every morning, meticulously taming it with a round brush and the occasional touch of the flatiron, I have just been letting it air dry. Because I hate the feeling of wet hair on my neck, and because my hair is neither straight nor curly but is fairly thick, air drying it involves a lot of me roughing it up with my hands to let air circulate. I considered just putting it up wet in a clip, but recalled an horrific story my niece told me about her college roommate's hair growing mold from being bundled up into a bun while still wet. Yikes! With my not-straight-and-not-curly hair drying in wild abandon, I look like the Wild Woman of Borneo. Actually, without a speck of makeup on, more like the Wild Woman after pulling an all nighter.

So there I was this morning, sitting on the patio, my hair all wild about my head, looking and feeling every one of my 60+ years, thinking there might not be enough coffee in the world to fully kick myself into gear, and my mom comes out, looks at me and says "Your hair is so pretty.  I think you should grow it out longer."  What?? I wondered by what stretch of her imagination does this mess on top of my head look pretty, and why on earth would I want more of it? That's it, I thought, her mind has either finally jumped the tracks or her cataracts have completely grown back overnight. I gaped up at her smiling face and realized...this woman has seen this hair before. Before the years turned me middle aged, before kids, before college or high school or even grade school, this woman has seen this hair before.  She used to wash it, comb thru the tangles, brush it dry, then braid it into two perfect plaits tied with ribbon. She knows this hair...she loves this hair...she loves me. And she is looking at me thru her love goggles.  They are kind of like beer goggles, except they are in place all the time, not just at closing time at the bar. Everything she sees when she looks at me is filtered thru these goggles. When she looks at me she sees not just the adult I am but the child I was and always will be to her. 

What a precious and unexpected gift. On a sunny Wednesday morning, sitting on a patio, feeling like be looked at with love goggles. Maybe I'll embrace that Wild Woman and let my hair, which I was considering chopping off, grow out a few more inches. Maybe I'll stop being so (I can admit it) anal about letting people see me sans makeup. And maybe, just maybe I'll look at myself the same way my mom still looks at me...thru love goggles. 

Friday, August 26, 2016

Not the best idea I ever had...or was it?

After realizing that life here in the Southland was way too expensive (not to mention crowded and hot), I was in the middle of packing for a return to Montana when the roof fell in (see the last blog). At the same time, my 87 yr old mum had come to the realization that she could no longer ignore the fact that her back was a mess.  Not only does she have a curvature of the spine, but she slipped and fell several times, several years ago and despite needing physical therapy for the cracks/breaks/muscle pulls from the falls, did not pursue it beyond the initial assessment at her doctor's office. She had lots of reasons, none of them very good, for why she didn't get help for her back, ranging from she was too busy to it was too far to drive. But eventually, years later, she has realized that the problem is not just going to go away on its own. She has gradually gone from sometimes using a cane to always using a cane and frankly, should probably be using a walker. With this new found realization of the joys of physical therapy looming, she asked if I would delay my return to Montana to help her out by moving in with her while she begins her treatments.  And so I finished packing up my apartment, directed the movers to put my things in storage for 3 months, and moved into my mom's guest room, all the while thinking, this is not the best idea I have ever had.

You know those people who, from the moment you walk in to their house, just seem to have the knack for making you feel at home?  That's not my mom.  She has a knack for making you feel oddly unwelcome, even while she is smiling and inviting you in. She is one of those people who would give you the shirt off her back...and then remind you (often) that you were wearing her favorite, irreplaceable shirt that is very precious to her, but would refuse to take the darn thing back because it was probably stretched all out of shape and stained.

Sometimes the things she does, like reloading the dishwasher because the small saucers go on the right side, not the left, make me want to laugh.  Sometimes, like when she digs thru the garbage and recycle bins in 100 degree weather to make sure I haven't thrown anything priceless away, they make me want to scream. I have rolled my eyes at her so many times over the past month that I am amazed they aren't permanently lodged sideways in their sockets.

Then one evening while I was multitasking, searching Craigslist for rentals while simultaneously rolling my eyes (no mean feat, that), something odd happened.  My son turned to my mom and said, "When we move back to Montana, why don't you move with us?"  I stared at him, too aghast for words, thinking (hoping) my mom would surely burst out with an emphatic NO, followed by "don't be ridiculous" and "Montana is too cold". Instead she looked pensive, intrigued and finally she said "How would that work?" And he proceeded to tell her, in great detail and with a lot of enthusiasm, just exactly how it would and could work. Before I knew it, the two of them were on the Missoula MLS site picking out potential houses she and I would buy together. I poured myself a big glass of wine, ready to jump in at an opportune moment to squash this nonsense.
Instead, I listened to my son explain about separation of space and full basements with outside entrances and double car garages and big decks with Montana sky views and found myself, if not totally in love with the idea, not totally hating it, either.

I poured another glass of wine and watched these two people, who I love dearly but who are sometimes so at odds with each other you imagine they will never speak civilized words again, sitting side by side at the kitchen counter, flipping thru pictures, oohing and aahing over this kitchen and that fireplace, debating the advantages of being in town vs slightly out of town, a small lot or room for a big garden. And I found myself wondering "How will this work"?