Things That I Know

Because everything can't be PERFECT. There has to be just one little something all the time that is not ok. But it's so ridiculously silly to focus on the one little thing when everything else is Just Right. I have my boy home. He got in around one AM and that means he has now been in Northport for the longest consecutive timelapse since his introduction to the place. And Penny, who must have been sick, since she threw up on the porch yesterday and wouldn't eat her dinner, was doing the caddillac dance this morning and seems to be ok. And we had a fight about money that wasn't Very Big, with voices only slightly elevated and no severe name calling. I am not sure who won, but maybe we decided since this was our first day off in pretty much forever, it really wasn't worth it. Although I have the sneaking suspicion that he might be making spreadsheets on his lap top at this very moment that he plans to present to me as proof of his correctness. Which is ludicrous since everyone knows that I do not speak spreadsheet. I supposed one would assume this slight disagreement is the little something that is wrong with today, but in my mind, a Healthy Discussion with a loved one is never a bad thing. It means that you are dedicated to working on your relationship. Forcefully if necessary.

It is getting hot outside, and if I weren't on the couch in sweatpants, writhing in pain (the one small thing that IS wrong with today), I would probably be laying on a blanket out in the sun, baking myself. It would be much more pleasant if I had a cranberry-lemonade-vodka, which I am not sure anyone has ever invented but I just thought of, so must be brilliant, and big slices of watermelon to look at, since I don't really like the way it tastes. I need to make jam with some strawberries I procured, but standing upright just isn't in the picture today. But tomorrow. Maybe.

Things That I Can Justify

When I said I didn't believe in eating dessert alone, I never considered the option of eating dessert for breakfast, therefore eliminating the danger of secret and self indulgent hedonism in the darkness of a quiet house. In the light of day, it seems quite alright.

I made this picture extra big so you could KNOW. 

You know that moment RIGHT before you start your period when anything within line of sight that you can't eat, you would just as soon kill, even coffee is not doing it's job, the wiener dog baby isn't cute anymore and everything is just UGLY and  STUPID, especially male things? Yes. It's amazing how many things become ok during that moment. Like changing outfits 8 times, leaving all of the clothes on the floor and putting sweatpants back on. This moment of time isn't one for making major life decisions, answering the phone call of an unsuspecting but somehow evil husband, or inviting Nice People over to your house. People in sweatpants who like to drink coffee and complain about evil husbands are fine. Or kids, so you have someone to yell at that you won't get a restraining order for.

Another thing I have been meaning to tell you, is why I have decided not to reinvent myself. Actually my Really Smart and Funny and Pretty Cousin decided for me, because she thought I was saying Northportician instead of North Porto Rican, just like my morbid sister, and also because she said this, which made me feel awesome: (quoted without her permission, but if somebody is talking about you, can't you use it anyway?)

"I don't think you have to reinvent yourself at all. I think of Bendablility like flexibility, which is exactly what you seem to exhibit on a daily basis. You are flexible, bendable to whatever life throws at you. Your blog (to me anyways) is about all the ways you bend and shape your life and yourself in order to keep moving, one foot in front of the other." -MSM

Then she proceeded to quote me, from an older blog, when I said this: (quoted WITH permission from myself)

"Once again I find myself bending the core of who I have become to embrace the new wave of change, perhaps the beginning of a new and different lifestyle, but then the bending starts to hurt, and I wonder if I have the flexibility to change or if the change will break me. Maybe I have become set in my ways and I can't be reformed to fit into someone else's mold. I am unsure."

I will say I am reticent to relinquish the double meaning of Bendability for a unilateral translation, but it means not having to remember how to get a domain name and do a bunch of relatively easy things that annoy me. Especially today. 

Today is probably not the best day to paint. There are children coming over for me to yell at, and wiener dogs with ears anxious for dipping. But I think I will, just so I have something to complain about later, along with the 5 pounds I gained from breakfast. 

ThingsThat I Have Decided

1) Never eat dessert alone. All of the deliciousness in the world is wasted calories if you can't share the bliss with someone. Which is why I have ice cream freezerburning, shortcake molding and raspberries rotting in my refrigerator. It's like drinking alone. It's just a bad idea. And pointless. Unless you are a really unhealthy person.

2) Sitting at home alone and losing myself in Pinterest is a good idea as long as it doesn't lead to eBay searches for "smokey bear vintage" or "toilet contour rug" because one ends in financial ruin, the other in ultimate disappointment in the human race. Or perhaps just in myself for not finding this before:

3) As much as I complain, I really like life better with my family around. Hands down.

4) Sometimes, Too Much of Nothing Can Make a Man Feel Ill At Ease

5) Mopping floors and then inviting seven thousand kids over to help you do stuff is really pointless.

7) Especially if that stuff involves any type of painting or paint - related materials. 

8) Paint-related materials are most easily removed from wiener dog ears by rubbing them on furniture. I am working on a Pinterest tutorial for this. 

9) Haviana's taste best when mom leaves you home alone with only three other dogs for the day and you are a 7 month old piranha/dachshund/pterodactyl cross. 

10) Having husbands that are not at home with you is really silly. 

11) I would trade life in a cardboard box WITH my people for all the mansions in heaven. 

12) The awesome relief of good friends and good people and being LIKED (mostly) can't be overstated. It's good to have people. Really good. Here, there and everywhere. 

13) Dog doors are VERY SCARY when they are new. It's safest to poop in the house. 

14) Make sure, if the washing machine is running late at night, that you bark at it. Incessantly and Loudly. For All of The World To Hear. 

15) Sometimes having no major obligations is terribly overwhelming. (see also: Idle hands are the devils playground)

16) Having a cop for a close friend is almost as scary as having a convicted felon for a neighbor. (no sir, I did not bring an open container in my car, to your house.)

17. Being a military wife is BA. Almost as BA as being military myself. But not really. 

Josh says I look stoic. I think I look HOT. Or maybe cold. I got drenched in a torrential downpour shortly before and was shivering. 

18.  Sometimes, you can't fight who you are. And you have to buy a vintage Smokey Bear sleeping bag for $50. Or paint cabinets badly, or give your big hound kisses even when he's misbehaving and smells terribly. Sometimes, you just shouldn't mop the floors at all. 

19. Clothing on hangers is extremely hard to visualize and access for daily wardrobing. The floor is much more convenient for these operations. 

20. Without the one who loves me here, I am uncriticized, uncorrected, undirected, but miserable. My vices are only fun when they're irking him. My quirks are only silly when he's here to notice. Without him, I am boring and flat, and no matter how many things I do, they seem meaningless. Hurry Home Josh Weston. I am not me without you. 

Things That Come to An End

It occurred to me a few days ago, while I was unpacking hydroflasks and silipints and Bend Elks hats and all of the other remnants of my former citizenship, that I am no longer Bendability. Like most things, including my birthday week, Emmy pooping in the exact same spot of carpet 80 times because she doesn't believe in the new dog door, and my precious baby puppy's new obsession with humping every stuffed animal she can get her mutant paws on, my time in Bend has come to an end, and I must reinvent myself. Like Madonna, or The Artist Formerly Known as Prince, Or like Dagny will in a new home if she doesn't stop. Seriously. Right now. So the question at hand is "who am I now?" I have started to ask some of the ones closest to me. My Darling Husband poo-pooed my idea of calling myself "the Northportorican" as sounding racist. He suggested that I was "like a phoenix, rising from the ashes of Bend's Volcanoes." Yes that is a direct quote. Much too self aggrandizing for me, I am thinking, plus I like the rag-tag refugee sound of the Northportorican. Is that racist? Oh dear.

While I am ecstatic about this new life we are beginning, and the odd rambling house that is screaming for a little bit of help in the fashion arena (something I luckily know a little about these days, thank you, Buckle), I am simultaneously frustrated. Mostly I think its the constant downpour of rain that greeted us when we got to Northport, and the fact that my Boy left exactly 24 hours after he arrived, and won't be back for a whole week more. And then he has fire season, which has already started to rear it's ugly but profitable head. And then Boot Camp. And then it will be Christmas, and I will still be sitting here on this couch trying to decide if Northportability is just too long. Dagny, stop. Seriously. Sometimes we just have to go without, dog. Don't act like I can't sympathize!! That being said, I have already enjoyed a little run of social exposure, including two girls nights and a couple of loungy, chatty visits from some of those closest to me. I have made good friends with the hardware lady and scored some of the best salsa ever from a local cook, which I have been living on since. Jaunitas and salsa cover all of the major food groups, in case you were wondering. And they're gluten free!

Since I am not working, and feeling a bit financially restrained without the promise of a paycheck, ever, I have stepped up my creative fundraising efforts with a barrage of items on the local Facebook classifieds page, which is also acting as an additional stimulus to my social life. I have already met three new people through little transactions. But I don't really remember their names. Does it still count? I'm counting it. I even listed some of my precious Frye boots and other Items of Great Importance on eBay, hoping to supplement my potentially negative bank account. I say potentially because the checks haven't come through yet. Sorry Honey.

Speaking of which, the most convenient way to deal with the frustration I am facing, I have found, is to take it out in really bad ways on Josh. For example, when he calls, I have used words like "greedy" and "uncaring" when the man is working 400 miles away from home to be able to pay rent and afford the remodeling we need to do. I have explained to him that him being with me here is more important to me than additions and bathroom remodels, so could he please just come back, and stop making me feel rejected. And by the way, the bathroom really needs help. This is the beauty of a rational woman. Wait.

To my own credit, I did clean out the bathtub drain myself, and am currently trying to switch the light socket on an antique lamp. Working on electric things always brings me back to the time I almost met Josh for the first time, when I nearly electrocuted myself and burned down a house trying to change my own dryer cord. Maybe I will save that one for him this time and go sell more stuff, while I am trying to think of the new me. Please submit all suggestions to me via this blog, Facebook, or a messenger pigeon.

Things I learned this weekend:

1. Moving still sucks. 

2. Josh is more awesome than I thought. 

3. I don't need to be concerned about Halle being addicted to prescription drugs since at 17, she still can't open a childproof pill bottle. I discovered this when I asked her to get one of the many pulls I have been taking for me since I was driving and texting and changing the music while drinking coffee. Clearly my hands were full. I was forced to give up the phone and the music to open the pill bottle myself, whereupon I found that she had reduced all of the pills to powder in her attempt. Luckily this particular drug absorbed faster as a dissolving powder and is easier to dose in this form than cracking apart stubby round tablets.

4. Grandma's really stink at laser tag, especially when the opposing team is comprised of cute and semi-innocent looking small children. In addition to her guilt aversion to shooting the little guerrillas, her perfectionist streak caused her to save ammunition for only the most clearly successful targets, which meant she only reloaded once and her score was indicative of the same anti-family-fun apathy that Kizzie was demonstrating when she realized the laser vests made her look fat. Not that Grandpa was much help either, since the mystery of how he scores NO points at all was solved after someone pointed out that he may have been holding his gun backwards the entire time. OK, not really, but he did die unreasonably often. 

5. I should probably be concerned that Kizzie was the only family member who knew what a "Charlie's Angels" pose was when we took family laser tag portraits. Clearly we need to watch more questionable TV. 

6. Mini Reese's peanut butter cups melt instantly in temperatures above 63 degrees Fahrenheit. 

7. Mini Reese's peanut butter cups ate possibly MORE delicious when eaten with a spoon. 

8. Eating extra pizza after you are full, pizza for four consecutive meals, or midnight snacks of pizza do not actually help with a digestive issue that has lasted a fortnight. Even veggie pizza doesn't fix it. Next time I am trying extra butter sauce. I feel certain that therein lies my cure. Thank goodness there is a Papa Murphy's on the way home. I think I'm having pizza withdrawals. Dangerously, I still love pizza. 

9. Taking the Lord's Name in Vain has a great many interpretations which can be discussed at great length on an hour long car ride to play mini golf since none of the mini golf courses less than an hour away has coupons. Coupons are vital for the appreciation of family activities. 

10. Saying a game was stupid, throwing a major tantrum, yelling at your sisters and hurting grandma's feelings by pouting about which games you didn't get to play, or get to win, or had to play.... None of these actually fall under the banner of "complaining", "ungratefulness" or just being plain old spoiled, according to teenage wisdom. 

11. Arcades are perfectly safe places for a nine year old to get lost. Especially when you drive a mini-cooper, because the trunk is much too small for kidnapping. Again. More questionable Television MIGHT be a good idea. 

12. Six and a half foot teenagers that are all legs, bad attitude and underdeveloped intellectualism do not make good copilot a in a Mini Cooper. 

13.  Knees actually can bump a shifter out of gear. 

14. Sometimes the people that you think you know the best, and truly want the best for, offer you a wake up slap that really frakkin stings. 

15. The people that talk the most about hating drama are sometimes the best propagators. Which is why I admit openly that my life is a swirling vortex of dramatic terror. This being said, if there's some that I can leave behind, I will gladly do so. That's why Kizzie is now living at a rest area outside of Ellensburg. 

16. Self-protection is the single most powerful human instinct. 

17. Being able to rise above our instincts is the only thing that separates us from other animals. 

18. Growing up is really hard. At every age. 

19. Even Avett Brothers are people who make mistakes. 

20. I have absolutely everything in the world to be grateful for. 

P.S. 21. Dogs eating out of compost piles before a prolonged road trip is a very very bad thing. 

Things That Move

So I sat down with my computer, intending to make lists of things that need to be done, to facilitate better efficiency than I have, to date, been accomplishing in this move. I feel like My Darling Husband has been so absolutely Over-Efficient, that I should compensate by being useless. But then guilt over uselessness sets in and I try to help a little but can't remember what needs to be done. So back to the lists. Or the other things on the computer that distract me. Like Facebook, or Netflix, or eBay, or finding some ridiculousness to blather about so I can continue the vicious cycle of inefficiency, guilt, forgetfulness, and irresponsibility. In my own defense, I did help load a table saw and swept half of the garage. I also spoke to children quite fiercely a time or two in order to extract usefulness from them. Is it just me or is usefulness out of teenage girls as elusive as a good deal on Frye boots? For as little help as I have been in this move, I have to say, they have actually been a huge hindrance. I think it's the discrepancy between what I would consider a room looks like when it's been "completely packed up" and what their view of the thing is. Apparently certain items cannot be boxed. Like dirty socks, and posters of movie characters which will remain unnamed. And collections of things, some unidentifiable, that apparently have too much emotional value to be tucked away even for a few days. I mean, my ENTIRE world is locked up in a swollen Uhaul truck, parked out on the street at this very moment. Every little piece of everything. I even packed all of my underwear, which posed an interesting dilemma this morning when I realized it. I will leave you to wonder about my solution.

My mother and I have had an ongoing discussion about the level of truthfulness in my writing. Apparently I have successfully conveyed to the entire world that my favorite pastime is sitting on the couch in sweatpants, with a giant mug of coffee in my hand and a total disregard for any responsibility to the universe. While this, is in fact, very true, as much as I love to do it, it happens much less often than I have perhaps alluded, and even when it does happen, it is usually followed by a rushed shower and me being late for work, or at least cooking dinner for the family. I guess I realized when I started having to respond to gentle confrontations that I should be contributing to the care and well being of my family, I decided I should look into painting a clearer picture of what I really do. So for the record, while self-deprecation is one of my strongest suits, and partially because I want someone to protest my amazingness (which my Adorable Husband has yet to consider doing), I have to say, most days, I work pretty hard. For a girl. For a girl who is broken. But I DO feel lazy, and pampered and spoiled. Compared to the work that I have been used to doing, cleaning CXT toilets in the forest, or hauling sacks of cement, whole plywood sheets, stacking cinder blocks, pushing 20+ shopping carts uphill in the snow both ways - right now, I have it pretty dang easy. It's almost embarrassing. I mean, I still bust it out when I work, and a seven hour shift at the Buckle may sound posh, but if I stop moving while I am there for one second, I am overcome with the recognition of pain in my left lower quadrant which at this point is perpetually tying my adjacent lower back muscles into knots that pull meanly on the compromised discs that feel as if any second they will just poof out of existence into the growling, burning abyss that is my body and the breathtaking pain that I only get jabs of right now will be eternal and consistent. This is one of the reasons I wasn't much help moving. I have finally grown up enough to admit that the pain is not worth it. I think the hardest thing for me is watching Josh do things that make me actually feel the pain for him - I can't imagine it NOT hurting intensely to lift a box, so it must hurt him too... and I am not helping. I get almost angry that he insists on doing it all when I imagine that we are both in the same amount of pain, but then I remember that except for some aching arms and a twinge of soreness here and there, he isn't. Is it weird that I think that everyone around me hurts as much as I do all the time? It makes me reticent to complain, when I see people who must be suffering just like me moving cheerfully through their days. Even my kids. They do things, move in ways that make me queasy with pain, and I admire them for being so tough. Except that it doesn't hurt them. This pain isn't normal. I hate being broken. I hate being weak. I hate being useless. We keep saying "after surgery...everything will be better, will be easier, will be different..." but what if it isn't, and who knows when and if that life-changing event will occur. At this point I don't have much hope invested into it... Especially when three of our dogs have had surgeries and I am still waiting. I even tried to bribe the vet into doing my hysterectomy. She said no.

Yesterday was my last day of work and I am sad. I will miss it. I am anxious to speed ahead to the point where I am ready for a fire dispatch, or to take on a new job, and at least feel like I am contributing SOMETHING. Other than dinner. In addition to my reasons for not working, Josh makes it much harder for me to force myself into productivity partly because he is worried about me and partly because I will do it wrong. Every time. Inevitably. He has been having night terrors since I told him last week that I wanted to paint the crappy cabinets in the new house - just until we can replace them. The thought of how I will do this and the corners I will cut have been keeping him awake at night. I can imagine that all of our paint supplies could "magically" disappear during the move and I will be once more rendered utterly useless. What I need to do is just write a book, and make a million dollars. Then I will be a contributor. And I can finally justify shopping again. But for now, I'd better go make my lists.

Things That Change

I guess I won't be Bendability for much longer. Northportability just doesn't have the same ring to it. Maybe it's appropriate since I am returning, like a boomerang, to the land from which I hailed, to become simply Predictability again. Less and less this predictable ness of mine is the reliable inconsistency that I have been known for. Now maybe I really am predictable. Maybe I go to the same place and do the same thing and respond the same way every time. In some ways it's sad to think that I have settled down into some form of regularity, as wanton as that form is. But maybe that's just part of growing up, something I said that I would never do. I am turning 36 soon. That is almost 40. It's old. Older than I have ever been, or really ever hoped to be. It's one of those ages that just SOUNDS old. Like 55. And 27. And 83. I guess there's no fighting it. I will be 36 whether I like it or not. I will be a grown up. And I will be predictable. Sad day. My one consolation is the steadfast belief that "old" is nothing more than a state of mind. An attitude. A choice. As is being "a grown up". I have turned the corner in my life where it has become more work to choose to remain young than it is to act like a grown up. I have to actually remind myself, and some times even coerce myself, into skipping to the bus stop with Aspen. It doesn't just happen spontaneously most days anymore. I have to actually put thought into an outfit that would make my mother cringe. It doesn't come naturally as I "mature". Ice cream doesn't sound good for breakfast these days. Sometimes I even crave vegetable juice. It's as though my body has resigned itself to imminent death and I am just preparing my corporal being for interment into the ground. Gaining weight has less to do with attracting wolf whistles and more to do with fitting into a casket that pallbearers can actually carry. Ok, now I am just getting morbid. Something tells me that I am LONG overdue for a night of line dancing or karaoke and dressing inappropriately for my age. Maybe even a ride on the mechanical bull. Wait - I just did that a couple of weeks ago! See, the memory loss that my age has inflicted upon me is waging war against my anti-maturity tactics!! I am gonna have to up my Peter Pan game as the years go by. My coasting days are over.

My kids are getting so old that I can hardly even look to them for the ideals of perpetual youth. Except Aspen. She will never age. This morning, in a deep philosophical discussion about relationships that end because of things like money or being Jewish (had to set that one straight) or disagreements about life values, she was asking if she would get to visit Josh if ever we split up. For a kid like Aspen, I think that the idea of a forever mom and dad scenario is still a little beyond her imagination, which is sort of heartbreaking. Give us a few years, babe. She was concerned that she would not have visitation rights since Josh is technically a step-dad, and she only gets to visit her "real" dad, but not Lee, who was "like when you go to some stairs and almost step up, but don't, dad". So she was a little fuzzy on what happens when an already-step dad goes away, verses an almost-step dad. Boy I have done some damage. God help me if my kids can't forgive me. Halle and Kizzie have very adult perspectives on life by now. They make always-rational choices and have well-rounded and deeply rooted opinions about all life matters. They have concerns that are far reaching with implications of life and death. Don't all high schoolers? I don't remember being so serious at their age. I guess I remember FEELING serious at their age. Maybe the distinction between feeling and being is what defines maturity. In that case, I am not old at all. I have no idea what I AM but I am quite clear on how I FEEL. That's one thing that hasn't changed since high school. That and my toes. Every other particle of my body is different than it was 20 years ago - much to my husband's chagrin - but my toes are the same. not the toe joints - those are all messed up from irish dance and being stomped on in mosh pits, but the toes themselves look just like they did at 16. Sometimes when I am feeling particularly old, I look at my toes. Or I get a pedicure. It's like babying and protecting the one remnant of my youth to get a pedicure. Josh can't understand the importance - although if it was my 16 year old flat belly or firm thighs I was nurturing I am sure he would gladly pay $30 a week to pamper them. If only my youthful toes would make him so happy.

All this talk of aging makes me a little melancholy. I think I need to go find something slightly ridiculous for my age to wear today and eat crunchies for lunch. Then maybe I need to get a pedicure. Hey - it's my birthday month.

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