Things That Stretch



He bought a shelf. That probably seems like no big deal, but for Somebody who has a System, buying a shelf that alters the System is a big deal. The shelf is so I can have some stuff in his bathroom instead of spilling in my duffel bag, which is where it has lived for the last 11 months, pretty happily, except when that menthol infused arnica oil spilled into all my clothes for the week and left big oil spots that smelled like a sore shoulder. But now my spilly things can live on a shelf, and his System will be changed. This is a big deal because it's about stretching, and growing, and doing the things that aren't as comfortable as sitting on your couch under a woobie and pretending nothing ever changes.

Stretching is painful. Like skinny jeans when you first put them on out of the dryer and haven't done any squats in them yet. It's hard. You're not always certain you'll get up out of that first squat or if the skinny jeans will throw you down on your ass and laugh at you for forgetting to not dry them. Stretching is awkward and embarrassing and uncomfortable.

So he's stretching with shelves and I'm stretching with words like "mortgage" and "budget" and "amortization" and the worst of all: "spreadsheet." It's not comfortable. I want to crawl head first under the woobie and die a thousand deaths before I go meet a realtor today and make an offer on a house. But I will keep stretching. If he can get a shelf, I can spreadsheet. I even asked my mom how to quit making all of the cells say the same thing. It wasn't as hard as I thought it was, when I stopped doing it wrong. That's the other thing about stretching, it's way more painful when you're not doing it the right way. Or if you're doing it too much, which I have done and why I need hip surgery. Well, too much stretching and also too much couch/woobie time.

Wrong stretching is things like biting off more than you can chew or more than you can pay for, or more than you can live with, and instead of a shelf, trying to get a whole new life. Wrong stretching is not just skinny jeans out of the dryer, it's high waisted skinny jeans out of the dryer that are too small and push all of your love handles into your lungspace and make you want to pass out.

My whole life seems like stretching right now. All the people I know are stretching. My kids are stretching as they put up with my stretching and not being there for some of the Big Things, like the last day of volleyball districts or Fall Sports Awards, which are important, but happen to fall on a day that I have been scheduled for a project for work weeks ahead of time. So they'll stretch, and I'll stretch, and there will be more awards banquets, like the ones that I have been to in the past.

My kids have pretty much been stretching with me their whole lives, as I rush from job to job and thing to thing and keep seeking for the Right Place at the Right Time with the Right People, trying to Pay the Bills and Do the Things and not make anybody mad, missing the boat pretty often but always with the best intention of catching it along the way somewhere.

But all the stretching makes us stronger, better and more interesting people. I can wear the sweatpants all day long, but if I want to make my mark outside of WalMart, I gotta keep working on the skinny jeans. The stretching makes us able to bend without breaking when the waves of bad things happen, and also the good things. Because I am learning lately even too many good things is a lot of stress and it's had me bent pretty hard. Good things like All the Jobs, Money to Budget, Smart Kids to Help, Him, Skinny Jeans, and growing, learning, stretching.


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