Things That TICK ME OFF

This morning at 6:16 AM (That's Pacific Time, Y'all) my darling husband woke me up to tell me that our bank account was overdrawn $555. American. Instantly my mind raced to any forgotten shopping binges that I forgot to calculate into the register, but came up blank since I have been So Darn Good lately. Of course Josh was having chest pain and on the verge of an all-out panic attack, since the 60+ hours a week he is working just don't seem to cover the bills anyway. I reassured him in my calm and laid back demeanor (which means I wasn't fully awake) that I was sure it was some technical glitch and all would be well. He was insistent, as usual, that it was fraudulent activity and probably our whole lives had been hacked. I think he then checked to make sure his gun was still in the drawer by the bed, which is wasn't because he hid it behind the TV for some reason. I have always casually poo-pooed Josh's paranoid ranting about identity theft and mocked his careful worrying, noting how it was HIS truck was broken into and wallet stolen, and not mine (never mind that this was due to the forgetfulness of a certain un-named individual who was not me. For once.) , and in all the years of carrying a debit card, I had never been hacked that I could remember. Although I think there was this one thing on PayPal... but that turned out to be a new pair of boots that I forgot I ordered. And I happen to be universally careless about locking cars, house doors, internet passwords, pin numbers... Josh, however, had survived a series of misfortunes due to fraudulent activities, in spite of numerous safeguards and anal attention to locking and passwording everything he owns, even from me.  Before we go any further, I would like you to understand that I really dislike the word fraudulent. Especially before noon. ESPECIALLY in my bed. I feel as if there are legal proceedings going on and I am not even wearing a bra. So while Josh grated my early morning nerves by using THAT word several more times in his adamant protests that we had been HAD by those damned identity thieves running around out there, I was growing more irritable and was still trying to think of a shopping expense to blame it on. I even offered to bet him that it wasn't "fraudulent", which, thank goodness, he didn't take me up on. Mostly because he was too distracted googling "identity theft therapy" and the legal definition of self-defense in murder trials.

After waiting a pain-filled 44 minutes, the credit union call line opened and he was instantly connected to a nice young man who pulled up the details of over $750 in charges placed today through TicketMaster.

Whoooaahohohoho... now hold on. Not only were these charges actually fraudulent (at this point I breathed a sigh of relief for the untaken bet, or lord knows what I would be liable for), but they were fraudulent purchases of TICKETS. Now, if anybody is gonna be bouncing our account for ticket charges, it had better damn well be me. This was like the ultimate insult. Like someone robbing a double amputee to buy a pair of prosthetic legs! I was immediately irked, and simultaneously more comfortable using the word fraudulent. Even in bed, with no bra. I was irate in spite of the crow I had to eat to admit that we had, in fact, been taken by those damned identity thieves running around out there. My first and most important question was to inquire about what the tickets were for and whether they would be mailed to my address. Turns out some jacka** in New York with an email address: had bought a slew of tickets to the Rangers games. Not that I wouldn't like to see the Rangers, but it was immediately apparent that no tickets would make it to Bend and no Bendites would make it Rangers games, so any incurred charges were completely and utterly unjustifiable. I was also a bit peeved that  I didn't think of the email stliv@whatever first. Oh, and I checked into this goldenpages4u crap and it doesn't even exist. I was contemplating emailing the thief but in addition to it probably being a fake email, I didn't want to risk stliv having access to even more of my information, so I will sic the credit union on them like a hound dog. That is slightly less lazy than Truck. Ok maybe more like a pit bull, or a border collie. Those little guys never quit. Maybe if nothing else, for all of our trouble the Rangers would feel sorry for us and comp us some box seats next time we're in New York in two thousand and never. It's a nice thought.

The really convenient thing about a financial crisis of this caliber is that I can stay in my sweatpants longer while I am making phone calls and doing a little sleuthing of my own, rather than packing any boxes. At this point I have run out of leads to chase and may have gotten distracted by Facebook. But if stliv@goldenpages4u is hanging out on Facebook I should probably know. Josh had to go to work and I am sure that the morning has been almost as stressful for him as yesterday when I yelled at him for yelling at me for calling him at work with unimportant information about a pair of certain teenagers and their wish to get driving permits. I forget sometimes that there are more important things going on in the world that no insurance premium raises and the fact that I am making pulled pork for dinner.

The pulled pork turned out awesome and Josh even said it was the best ever, maybe to reassure me that pulled pork is at least as important as a siding job. After slow cooking in two bottles of beer, it better be.

At any rate, I think I am now out of excuses to avoid getting dressed and going to the credit union to sign an affidavit of fraudulent activity. At least I will have a bra on by then.

Things That Are Intended

I have a very vivid imagination. I can vividly see the end result of any undertaking that I decide is worth the effort, and sometimes it motivates me enough to follow through, cut a few corners, and end up with a result that is nothing like the original dream. Kind of like those Pinterest fails (go to this website, you'll thank me.) that we see pictures of. Josh didn't understand why I was laughing until I cried while I scrolled through other imaginative mom's attempts at something cute that resulted in a cataclysmic, but hilarious mess. It's so relatable. That's why it's funny. I live that. For me, dressing for work poses the exact same problem. I will lay in bed until the Last Possible Second, planning a new, edgy outfit to wear to work that day, get up, put at least most of the pieces of the outfit on my body, omitting the ones that have been wet in the washer for three days and should probably be run through again to kill the mold spores, and trying to cover the stains on some that I forgot happened when I was burning pinto beans and chocolate chip cookies yesterday. I make some passable (or so I think) substitutes and look in the mirror. It's at that point that I realized that the image I had in my head while lying in bed was of me 20 lbs from now and I forgot to stick to that diet that I think about so much that I can't understand why it's not working. Turns out thinking and doing are two totally separate things. The girl in the jerry-rigged outfit staring back from the mirror does NOT look good. She looks like a meatloaf wrapped in draperies and accessorized with Christmas tinsel. If I could take a picture of what I had imagined and put it next to the finished product, it would be just as funny as those Cookie Monster cupcakes that look like the dude on Raiders Of The Lost Ark with his face melting off.

Another area of imagination letdown is childrearing. For about 6 years (from just before Natalee was born until I got my first pair of designer jeans and moved on to more important aspirations) I woke up every morning with that 1970s Amy Grant song about Brand New Start Each Day (listen to this, you won't thank me) stuck in my head, trying to brush away the condemnation of my mothering faux pas from the day before and ready to conquer parenting for REALS this time. Some mornings I would even make breakfast, wash the dishes, and by 10 AM at the latest I was sidetracked by ANYTHING more interesting, which my kids would unavoidably interfere with, sending me into a downward spiral of frustration and poor verbal responses to my herd of toddlers. This pattern continued until I gave up the Brand New Start thing and just skipped straight to the frustration upon waking. It's much easier anyway, since few things irritate me as much as waking up.

It's hard, really, to think of an area in my life where this principle of failed intentions doesn't carry over. Certainly in the "customized" recipes I adapt to whatever isn't moldy in the refrigerator. And in the house cleaning that gets as far as a box of old photos I keep meaning to scan into the computer but can't stop looking at. Lately, even the errands that I run fall prey to a combination of laziness and/or forgetfulness, as I leave the house minus the things that I was supposed to have dropped off but can't remember why I showed up at a particular business anyway. I know that making lists is supposed to help all of this, but I have this tendency to forget my list. Even though it is on my iPhone, which we all know is never out of reach.

Also sewing. It turns out that cutting corners in sewing is almost always a recipe for certain disaster.

That old saying that "Good intentions pave the road to hell" carries profound truth. To an extent. No amount of WANTING to be a good mother, wife, housekeeper, cook, friend, or fashionista will make it so. Just the step by step DOING of it. One little choice at a time. Don't yell at Aspen when she wakes me up to show me Truck's lips. Remember to turn the beans down FINALLY. One less toxic drug into my body. One less cookie. Be nice to My Boy even when it is Grossly Apparent that every problem in the whole world (a.k.a. my broken and hormonally altered body) is all his fault. Take the time to get that one ingredient for a recipe that May or May Not be vital to the outcome. And maybe not getting the house clean but scanning some of the more precious memories into the computer and plastering them all over Facebook where they will be enshrined forever.

The funny thing is that good intentions and even right actions is that you can't always circumvent the failures. Even when you follow the directions to every jot and tittle, sometimes things just don't come out right. Like a necessary vet bill for a very sweet dog that wasn't even ours. Like devastating your children by doing the right thing for your family. Like making the best call you can imagine in any given moment and causing years of hurt and frustration, or following the "will of God" right into a cesspool of human error. Like making the "right choice" that you find out later, really wasn't. Like all of the careful non-shopping I have been doing and then somebody uses TicketMaster to charge over $700 to our checking account. Like going to Costco with a short and specific list and realizing there is a new coupon book. It gets sorted out somehow, but sometimes things are just beyond our control.

This tendency of mine holds an ominous foreboding for the coming move to Washington. All of the best intentions to pack neatly give way to hurriedly dumping into boxes and hoping some things break so that we have less stuff when we get there. Rooms that I can daydream about in pretty colors and ├╝ber creative themes that will stay the same drab off-white until after Christmas sometime when I kick into early January nesting as a result of post-holiday depression.

Lucky for me, the memories that usually stand out for me, and (thank God) for my kids, are the ones that DO happen, not the missed opportunities. Although I still kick myself for a few things that I "meant" to do and never followed through. Like sponsoring that little girl in the Ugandan school that we took off of the Christmas tree at Church. Or using my Living Social voucher for 10 sessions of Hot Yoga. But all-in-all, the things that we actually pull off are the things that we recollect. Like that road trip to Reno with 4 kids for a concert. Or melted crayon rainbow hearts that are MOSTLY recognizable. Or a pineapple curry in the crockpot that is slightly customized, but delicious nonetheless.

Maybe it isn't so much that we get a brand new start each day, but that we get to keep going. It's not do-overs, it's move-forwards. Survive, and Continue. It's learning the valuable lesson that cupcakes must be COMPLETELY cooled before one can add a frosting cookie monster face, or that you can crumble up burnt cookies and make a crust for an amazing pie-type thing (hey, with ice cream, everything is amazing). And that gaining a couple pounds over the weekend is an excellent motivator to work a little harder, move a little faster, since I certainly would not have wanted to give up those amazing hotwings at the Whitebird. Maybe it isn't that I have failed at fulfilling my intentions, it's that I have intended the wrong things and must be redirected periodically. If asked to choose between a hotwing and a pound of fat, I would probably go with the hotwing. Choosing between 20 hotwings and 20 lbs is a more obvious choice. Therefore my intention should be more exercise. All things in moderation. Small steps. One choice at a time. Hey, the fact that I make dinner at all is pretty awesome some days. There really aren't any do-overs in life. It is my intention (one that I will follow through on) to get the most out of each moment of each day. To learn every lesson, make every choice. Move ahead and know that I will do it wrong. And sometimes I might not even do it at all. But without intending to, we'd be even farther behind than we are now. So maybe good intentions aren't as evil as we make them out to be. Not fulfilling them is disappointing, no doubt, but not having them is death. I have a handful of true regrets in this life, but for the most part, every failure I have seen is the leverage I needed to get me where I am today, and we all know that I am pretty awesome. I have wasted enough time wallowing in the guilt of screwed up days and lost opportunities. There is always today to pick up where I left off and make things better. Maybe that's what it means to live for today. Don't wait for tomorrow for a new start when today still has opportunity, even if it isn't the one you were looking for. I get a certain sense of panic when I realize how quickly the days fly by. The weeks, the months, the years. I feel terrified that I will blink and miss something vital. The silly part is, the vital things are what I decide they are - they are happening with my and by me and I can't miss anything that is vital to me, because if I do, it wasn't. Life is good. Today is good. Even with it's little overdraft issues and me stepping on a Lego viking helmet this morning. I've got lots of intentions to go fulfill... see ya!

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