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Nothing Left to Give


Been a quiet week around here (well, not exactly quiet by any stretch, but AI here has been quiet, no doubt), so I wanted to give out an update.

We’ve been doing work around the house for the past month or so — and when I say work, I don’t mean tidying up and deep-cleaning, I mean work — fixing things that should’ve been fixed long ago, tearing into walls to get at pipes, painting, liquid nails-ing anything that’s even the slightest bit loose, and generally turning this place from a depressing pile into a place that looks like it might be a nice place to live.

Because we’re trying to move.

So it’s been daily trips to the Home Depot, a daily devotional of instructional home-improvement youtube videos, the near-constant losing and re-finding of tools (especially screwdrivers: seems like I can only keep track of one for about fifteen minutes before the dark elves spirit it away to some obscure region of the house), and occasional bouts of stress-crying, stress-screaming, and stress-hammering-things-that-don’t-really-need-hammering. From sunup to sundown, we’ve been busting our butts giving this place a makeover, and we have very little left to give.

I could give a list of things that we’ve gotten done, but it would probably depress me, so I will refrain.

Needless to say, all that work hasn’t left time for any writing this week — either on the novel or around here — which bums me out a bit, but at the same time, there were really no two ways about it. With rehearsals on the musical ramping up — the show opens in two weeks — there’s no time for this stuff during the week. So we had to use this week — spring break week! — to get it all done.

So we’re exhausted from working ourselves down to the nub, and frustrated from giving all our time to this old house rather than doing the things we’d actually enjoy doing. On the other hand, there’s a certain satisfaction to knowing that the day was fully utilized, with not a minute wasted on frivolous things. (Well, maybe a minute here and there — we’re not machines, after all. Saw the new Beauty and the Beast while the grandparents were kind enough to babysit the kids for a couple of nights. The Terrible Review in one word? Meh.)

At any rate, Accidentally Inspired didn’t just vanish from the internet; I didn’t suddenly give up, board up the windows, and label this place condemned. There was just– no exaggeration here, and I say it fully cognizant of my usual statements against the very sentiment — literally no time for it.

And for that matter, time will remain short at least until the musical goes up, although going back to work is ironically going to free up more time for me to sneak my daily writing in. Sad thing is, I have tons of stuff I want to write about; the days just aren’t giving me the time. Instead, I’m hurriedly banging this post out on a Sunday morning — a day late, but what can I say — while my wife sleeps in a little bit and we wait for it to warm up outside so we can start on some yard work.

Yard work. Two of the dirtiest words in my lexicon.

Sigh.

Normality will be restored once we are sure what is normal to begin with.

This weekly remotivational post is part of Stream of Consciousness Saturday. Every weekend, I use Linda G. Hill’s prompt to refocus my efforts and evaluate my process, sometimes with productive results. This week? Maybe not so productive.


The Fruity-Smelling Guy


Note that the title of this post is not “The Fruity Smelling Guy” (the somewhat effeminate dude who goes around sniffing things). Come to think of it, do people even use “fruity” as a pejorative anymore? Anyway…

We’re back from vacation now.

I could write about the beach and how relaxing it was: the soft ocean breeze, the sand that gives way beneath your feet like so many microscopic gremlins and then swallows your feet up just as quickly, the tireless wash of the surf, the alligators cruising by just off the coast.

I could write about the weather and how backwards it was. We spent the week leading up to the vacation with lovely, cool (for summer) days in the low 80s and nights in the 60s. We traded that for a monstrous heat wave all week of temperatures in the upper 90s, with a heat index of well over 100 every day. (Keep in mind, this is the South — specifically Savannah — where even a moderate amount of heat can quickly transform your average city street into a slow-cooker thanks to the humidity.) Then, the day we came back — literally, that evening, and possibly while we were on the highway — the heat wave broke, a cold front moved in or something (I don’t know, I don’t weather) and we returned to the calm and really delightful 80s-60s range. Had we had that weather on the vacation, I think, at the very least, the kids would have asked about 80% less “WHY DID YOU BRING ME HERE”s and “DADDY WHY IS IT SO HOT”s.

Or I could write about the really amazing thing about vacationing with family that wants to help out with your kids: Grandparents putting kids to bed, grandparents getting kids dressed, grandparents changing diapers, grandparents waking up with the kids at the crack of dawn. I really can’t recommend bringing your kids’ grandparents on vacation enough, at least assuming that said grandparents are not the sort who will sit idly and ignore the kids’ screaming in a restaurant (they’re only children after all).

But what’s really on my mind?

What, in some strange way, I miss about vacation most of all?

Smelling like fruit.

Not because I eat a lot of fruit on vacation, or anything. (If anything, I slack in that department. Because who can manage a diet on vacation? If you can, please ship yourself back to Mars so you can resume life with the other non-humans.) But because when I’m on vacation, I use my wife’s body wash.

This isn’t a conscious decision or anything. (At least, it wasn’t always.) We’ve been vacationing together for about eleven years now (help!), and this is a trend that started some time ago, though I’d be hard-pressed to identify the first time. The fact is, I’m a forgetful Ferris, and on one of these vacations, I forgot to pack soap. I pointed this out to my wife in explanation of why I was grabbing my keys to head for the nearest overpriced island-monopoly grocery/convenience store, and she hit me with something I really hadn’t thought of:

“Why don’t you just use mine?”

I followed her to the bathroom, where she showed me a bottle of fragrant orangey gunk with little beads of alabaster foam floating in it. Blood orange extract. Orchid essence. Jojoba juice. She saw the look on my face and popped the lid for me to sniff it. With trepidation, I did. It smelled even fruitier than it looked. Like a produce truck carrying a million melons had crashed into a perfume factory and exploded in a fireball of flower-smell and aerosolized pheromones.

“No way,” I said, with a characteristic macho folding of my arms. Man’s soap, I explained, is supposed to smell like the woods, or the earth, or something blue and cool and vaguely industrial.

“So you’re going to go spend five dollars on a bottle of something you have at home anyway?”

That appealed to my spendthrift spirit, and I lathered up with the fruity goop. I spent the rest of vacation smelling like an orchard that’s maybe just a little past ripe, and I’m happy to say that I was no less manly for the transgression.

These days, I don’t pack soap for our trips at all, of any length — not because I forget, but because I know my wife will remember, so I don’t have to. (It’s surprising how much easier your life becomes when you adopt a maxim like this. Or maybe that’s just when you have a wife like mine. This is a woman who starts packing five days in advance for a two-evening trip.) Rather, I happily embrace the fact that, when I’m on vacation, I’m going to smell like whatever aromatic mixture of scents was sitting on my wife’s shelf waiting to be used. Gingerbread Cookie, Tropical Tango, Peppermint Dream, Lavender Lullaby (some of those names are made up, but some, I assure you, are real) — I have used them all and paraded my un-manly-smelling self around the locales of much of the Southeast.

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Note the absolutely useless comb that I still keep next to the sink, for some reason.

And why not? Smell is the sense most closely tied to memory, and when I’m on vacation, smelling like the entryway of a florists, I’m reminded of the other vacations I’ve had with my wife (and, more recently, of my awesome — if exhausting — kids). Which is not such a bad thing.

Plus, it’s one less thing I have to remember to pack. And that’s a good thing, too.

I wonder if my wife will notice if I just start using it all the time…


What Allergies?


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Apparently, the pollen bombardment in Georgia isn’t moving along as speedily as the trees would like. Abandoning the “dusting” campaign which is usually the norm, they have opted instead to fling entire branches of the stuff down on our hapless cars.

In other news, Benadryl’s stock is soaring.


Lucky Bastard, or A Glitch in the Matrix


No re-motivator this week, because holy carp am I tapped out. Long week at school. Long week at the novel-writing game. Wife is hella sick. No time to muse on creativity and motivation and inspiration and the darkly wonderful things that happen in the writer’s lizard brain.

But, dude. You guys. GUYS.

I am thirty-something years old, and I have never in my life found a four-leaf clover. And there were times that I looked. I can distinctly remember a younger, high-school aged or maybe even collegiate version of myself spending entire minutes in weedy fields searching for one.

Never happened.

Then, today, this:20160326_185018.jpg

That’s totally my hand; you can tell by the horrible cuticles. I was gobsmacked. We hopped out of the car after a long day visiting with family, and I happened to glance down at my feet, and there it was.

But wait. WAIT.

Not even an hour later, I’d been to the grocery store and come back, and I was reflecting on how strange it was that I should find a four-leaf cloverin my own front yard. I glanced at my feet as I stepped over a totally different patch of clover. And I glanced again.

NO WAY.

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But yes way. A second four-leaf clover.

You guys.

Either I’m really, really lucky, or my front yard is a glitch in the matrix.

*skitters off to wait for Morpheus to unplug me*

This weekly remotivational post is part of Stream of Consciousness Saturday. Every weekend, I use Linda G. Hill’s prompt to refocus my efforts and evaluate my process, sometimes with productive results.


Here, Hold This Pork Chop


Some days, working in a school is everything you fear.

Other days, it is transcendent.

Here’s an actual thing which was actually said by an actual student. “Girl, hold this pork chop while I go over there and beat that girl’s ass.” She actually held out a fried pork chop to her friend, who took it for safekeeping, and proceeded to go over there and beat that girl’s ass. And the cafeteria wasn’t even serving pork chops that day.

A classic case of too crazy to be made up. Sometimes, being a teacher is awesome. Thank you, pork chop beat down girl, for bringing joy to my day.


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