Advice

You are so young
why are you here?
This is a trap for you –
comfort is an illusion.

Get out now
while your youth
is still an asset.
It doesn’t last long
enough, you know.
This youthfulness of yours.

I understand where
you are coming from –
I wasted my youth
at that exact spot.
I learned the lessons
through pain.
Please learn from my mistakes.

Get out now
while you still can.
She doesn’t love you
the way I do.

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TAKE THE COMPLIMENT, ALREADY!

It’s Monday morning and you are looking good. Over the weekend, you bought a new outfit and got your haircut. One last approving glance in the mirror and you head off to work.

Four, maybe five, people compliment you before you settle into your cubicle, and your reaction is the same each time: instead of simply saying “Thank you,” you respond with suspicion.

Do you find yourself in this role? Do you ever respond to the statement that your hair looks good today with the question, “Why? Did it look bad yesterday?” Do you ever find yourself explaining how old a garment of clothing is when someone tells you that she likes what you are wearing?

Women seem to be especially unprepared to take a compliment graciously. Almost every woman I compliment has a negative response.

Take the compliment already! If someone tells you that your hair looks good today, he is not insulting your past appearance. He simply noticed that your hair looks good. Say “Thank you,” and move on. Accept the compliment and let it boost your self-esteem for a moment or two. That is the whole idea of a compliment, anyway. When you receive a compliment on an outfit, do not feel the pressure to explain where you purchased it. Do not argue with the compliment by asking “This old thing?” Once again, “Thank you,” is the correct response.

People can be nice, even to you, so take the compliment. It is a gift given to you by a well-meaning person.

A NIGHT WITHOUT MY DOG

This was the perfect night, the cool summer air refreshed by the afternoon thunderstorms. I was driving home, thinking about what I would have done once I arrived home, if my dog were still alive.

She would have danced around the front door with delight when I walked in, then eagerly darted to the back door. I would have stayed outside with her while she relieved herself, and waited while she sniffed every molecule of air in the back yard.

I would have taken her for a short walk, and then let her into the back seat of my car. We would have driven to the local beverage drive-through, where she would have eagerly received her dog biscuit treat, and mandatory ear rub.

She would not be ready to go home just yet, so I would drive the back roads to the next local town, lingering far too long at the stop signs so that she could sniff the crisp night air. Once she lay back  down, I would have turned around and driven home, where she would insist on fresh ice water before demanding that I throw her ball a minimum of ten times. I would sit at the patio table while she sniffed every molecule of air available. Satisfied that she had sniffed everything, she would finally agree to come inside.

We would have sat on the sofa, her head on my lap, those dog eyes staring up at me until I relented and petted her until she was almost asleep.

After the news, we would have prepared for bed. She would have insisted on sniffing every molecule of air one last time of the day, done her business, and then sat quietly beside my bed while I completed my pre-sleep routine.

I would have crawled under the covers, and then invited her up, where she would have made certain that I was not on her pillow. She would have snuggled up against my back before snoring so loudly that I would worry that the neighbors might be disturbed.

Sometime during the night, I would have woken up to yet another of her apparently hilarious dreams, and gently patted her head until she began breathing normally again.

Instead, I went home to an empty, quiet house.

My dog, rescued from the local animal shelter when she was barely three months old, lived to be almost fourteen years old. She was a good –no – great, dog, and I miss her terribly.

THE LIFE I WISHED I LIVED

I don’t live the life
that people think I do.
I wish I did.
I wish my lack of complaining
was the result of the lack of
problems.
I wish the lack of tears
was the result of the lack of
sorrows.
I wish my wisdom
hadn’t been borne of so
many mistakes.
I wish I hadn’t learned
so many lessons that only
pain teaches.

I wish I had the life people think I do.

The American Dream?

For some, home ownership is the fulfillment of the “American Dream”. For me, a single
woman, it is pretty much a nightmare. I am a homeowner. My best friend lives in an apartment. I pay a mortgage; she pays rent.

When the grass around my abode needs cut, I drag myself to the shed, pull out the lawnmower, and dutifully mow my grass. She hasn’t mowed grass in years.  I am responsible for all the yard work, something she hasn’t worried about since she sold her house. The maintenance crew is wonderful where she lives.

While mowing my lawn after work the other day, I noticed that my fence needs some repair. I will have to get up early on my next day off, go to the local home improvement store, and spend the remainder of my precious day fixing my fence. I hope that I will be able to pick up a few hours overtime to afford this repair. When my best friend notices something amiss outside her apartment building, she calls her wonderful maintenance crew, and the repair doesn’t cost her a dime in extra rent.

My central air quit working, and I am saving money to get it fixed next year. Thankfully, this has been a mild summer.

My best friend’s air was “sounding funny,” so she called the office, and one of the magnificent maintenance crew was there in no time. This was also included in her rent.  Her house is nice and cool; I have two window units, so I have two nice and cool rooms…

On Saturday evenings, I am puttering around in my yard, weeding, trimming hedges, whatever needs to be done. My best friend is partying with her apartment dwelling neighbors.

There is a pool in her complex, a place where she spends most of her spare time. I am a homeowner; I spend my spare time keeping my home in working order.  If I had a pool in my backyard, its upkeep would be my responsibility. Pools take a lot of time, a commodity that I have very little of.

When my walls need painting, I buy the paint and do the work myself. She picks up her phone, and, you guessed it, calls maintenance.

I could go on forever, but you get my point…

I don’t have a high paying job, and it barely covers the bills. When I work overtime, so that I can afford to buy the things necessary for the upkeep of my home, I don’t have time to do the work.  If it rains on my days off, I just get further behind on my outside tasks.

Winter isn’t much different. Last year, I forked over a tidy sum to have my furnace repaired. It was nice not being cold, but I could have used that money on much better things.

There is a myriad of things that need to be done to keep a house in good working order. I’ve had to call electricians, plumbers, roofers, etc., and I’ve had to pay every one of them.  She calls maintenance, and the cost is included in her monthly rent.

Last night, after a particularly stressful day, I was mowing my lawn for the second time this week.  It wasn’t too hot outside, and the breeze was nice. After I was finished, I went online to check out Facebook. My home owning friends were discussing how they wished it would quit raining so much, they all had so much to do outside. Their plans for the weekend included putting on a new roof, fixing windows, remodeling bathrooms, etc.

My apartment dwelling friends were all at the pool, happily discussing all the great times they are going to have in the upcoming weekends!

I woke up this morning to find a puddle of water on my kitchen floor. My refrigerator broke sometime during the night, and now I will have to take time off work to replace it. I figure I will have to work about eighty hours of overtime to replace the money that I am going to lose in wages, and the expense of a new appliance.

I am calling a realtor as soon as I get the spare time!

To Michaela’s Disliking

“Mommy, I don’t like this,” four-year-old Micheala whimpered, reaching for her mother. “It hurts.”
“I know, darling.” Her mother gently patted the frightened child. “It only hurts for a minute, though, and we’ll get ice cream after we leave.”
“It hurts bad, though.”
“I know, but it’s good for you.”
“You’re mean!” Micheala changed her tactics.
“Yes, I suppose I am, but we are still going to do this. It’s good for you.”
“Why?”
“So you can stay healthy and live longer.”
“Nice Mommies don’t do this to their little girls.”
“Yes, they do, all the time.” Tiffany held back a chuckle. “Besides, good mommies do this.”
“All good mommies?”
“Well, most of the good mommies make their children do this. It’s good for them, but some unfortunate children are allergic.”
“I’m ‘lergic, then.” Michaela proudly announced.
“No, Sweetheart, you aren’t. You would have had a reaction before this.”
“What if I get a raction this time?”
“RE action, Darling, and you won’t.”

After the ordeal was finished, Tiffany buckled a wailing Michaela into her car seat. “It’s okay, Sweetie, you are going to be fine.”
“That really hurt, Mommy! You are mean.”
“If I am so mean, why am I taking you to your favorite place to eat?”
Michaela stared out the window. “It still hurt.”
“Quit thinking about it, and it will stop hurting. It’s been long enough.”
“I can’t stop thinking about it, my leg really hurts.”
“Okay, I’ll tell you what – I’m going to take you someplace, show you something, and maybe you’ll understand why we have to do this. When we get there, I’ll take a look at your leg; make sure you aren’t having a reaction.”
“Where we going?”
“You’ll see.”
“Are we there yet?”
“No, it takes a few minutes; eat your fries.”
“They’re too hot. Are we there yet?”
“Not yet. Why don’t you close your eyes?”
“Can’t see out the window with my eyes closed.”

“Where are we?” Michaela asked as she clamored out of the back seat of the car.
“It’s called a cemetery. C’mon, I want to show you something, give me your hand.”
“What are these things, Mommy?”
“They’re called headstones; they mark where dead people are buried.”
“Dead people? You brung me to a place where dead people live?”
Brought me to a place where dead people live. And dead people don’t live, that’s just Hollywood.”
“I don’t like this, Mommy. It’s creepy.”
“Look over there, all those headstones?”
“I see lots of headstones, which ones you mean?”
“Come here, look.”
“Don’t let go of my hand, it’s creepy here.”
“I won’t let go of you, not ever. See these six graves? See how their last names are all the same?”
Michaela nodded silently. “Yeah?”
“Well, my precious little one,” Tiffany explained, lifting her child from the ground. “Your Grandpa’s Grandma had to bury six children, all within a year. These are her children, whom she loved as much as I love you.”
“Why did they all die at once?”
“Because they didn’t have the medicine like what was in your shot today. All six of these children died during a diphtheria outbreak. You get vaccines so you don’t get sick. I would be so very sad if something ever happened to you. Do you understand now?”
“Yeah, I guess, but can’t they make shots that don’t hurt so much?”
“Someday, maybe they will, but your now, you are just going to have to be brave and get your shots. I love you too much to let anything happen to you.”
“Okay, I’ll try.” Michaela rested her head on Tiffany’s shoulder. “But I still don’t like it.”