Monday’s Life Lesson

People talk to me. Maybe it’s because I dabbled in investigative reporting for a time — in another life — maybe it’s because I’m small and seemingly non-threatening (little do they know!) — whatever the reason, I can be anywhere and random folks’ll share very personal stories.

Like today, I was out and about finding the perfect plastic containers to organize old files and financial documents that aren’t supposed to be thrown out — I’m not sure if the rule is to keep them for seven years or ten years, so I’ve settled on forever, just to be safe.

I’ve lived in the same house since 1985 and have a LOT of paid bills and receipts and I’ve saved them all, because you never know when you need to find the receipt for a chair we purchased in 1987. Even if we don’t have the chair anymore. Is anyone whispering “hoarder” yet?

That’s another day’s post about my office purge, and it’ll be complete with pics.

Today, I found perfectly sized plastic containers with locking handles at Target because I hate Walmart. Standing in line to purchase them, the clerk was making every mistake in the book ringing up my THREE ITEMS. First, she only charged me for one box which would have been cool, then she corrected her mistake when I said, “Is that the price for all of them?”

Staring off into space when I asked, “Do I need to press a button for credit, not debit?” was slightly troublesome and weird, but I was having a happy day and repeated my question, thinking perhaps she was hard of hearing.

This was no twenty-something with a bad attitude at her first job. This was a lady in her mid-to-late sixties and you could tell by her wrinkles and gray hair that life had not been too kind to her. Here she was, working at a minimum wage job, standing on her feet for hours, when she should have been at a book club or gardening or anywhere but wearing that unflattering red t-shirt. Ya know?

Tears slowly filled her eyes and made their way down her cheek.

“I’m sorry”, she said. “I’m not really ‘with it’ today.”

“My best friend just called me to say that her dog died suddenly and while she was taking him to be buried, her car blew up, and to make matters worse, she’s being evicted from her apartment.”

She said, “It’s hard to keep my mind on anything but thinking about her. She loved her dog more than anything. How much pain can one person bear?”

I was sooo glad that I hadn’t been my snarky/bitchy/impatient self. (At times I feel that everyone was put on this earth to serve me (princess complex) and I’ll admit to acting a teensy weensy beeyotchy.)

I racked my brain to come up with an appropriate consoling response. What was the right thing to say in a situation like this? I felt so bad for her, her friend, and the dog. I told her that she was obviously a great friend to someone who must be a wonderful person to feel that kind of love for her dog. It’s all I could come up with at the spur of the moment.

This brief interaction made me pause and think about life and what’s important and somewhere in all of that, there’s a lesson to be learned.

What’s the lesson learned?

1 Sometimes, life sucks.

2 Sometimes, it’s not all about the shoes.

(Come on, you didn’t really think I was gonna get all preachy, did ya???)

Life Lessons from a Tugboat Man

Last night at 7:00 p.m. I received the call I was hoping for from my merchant marine tugboat captain husband. He was heading toward home, with an estimated ETA Thursday evening. Yeah! Joy! Visions of a naked tugboat captain was dancing in my head–uh–of course I meant sugarplums-hee hee, his sugarplums, that is. I need to stop that right now. This is not THAT kind of blog. Home for Christmas and home for Hannukah, which starts in a few days. “I’ll be home for Christmas” was playing over and over in my head. It was originally a song from World War II, but it’s still relevant. 

Maker of lists that I am, I got right on it. I organized the next few days into chores to do, projects to list not porncomplete, and his fave foods and beverages to get.
The time he’s on assignment is a weird limbo for me. I wait and wait and wait and wait. Don’t get me wrong, my days are filled with lots to do so I’m not just hanging around binge-Tweeting or anything. Hah! Of course that’s what I do, ‘cos the captain doesn’t approve of my Twitter habit. He gives me a dirty look and tells me to “stop laughing like a maniac” so I go cold turkey when he’s home. I went to sleep last night intending to wake up extra early and get to work with a renewed sense of purpose. With a cup of coffee in my hand, I checked my emails. This is what I read:

Bad news they just turned us around the ship needed us after all so we are headed back to______. No kidding either no idea what will happen now, crazy. We can’t believe it. LU

WTF??!! Are you f-ing serious? Again? You would think I wouldn’t be so shocked about an abrupt course change after all this time, right? I should be used to it by now, is that what you’re thinking? Well, I confess to being a lover of immediate gratification. I really hate waiting for anything (like that Chanel), and waiting for him to come home goes against my nature. I want him home NOW. Right NOW. Not whenever. I need a drink. Oh right, I can’t really drink anymore. Now what am I gonna do?

Not only is my MM a tug and tow master, he’s sailed boats all over the world. We had a ketch a few years ago but  I’m not much help; I like to let him do all the work. He’s definitely my better half (no argument there) and this is one of the life lessons he’s taught me (tried to teach me) using sailing as a metaphor. Life is like jibing and tacking and luffing, beating and running–all those things he does while I just sit there. I only move when he yells something about the boom hitting me. “You can’t fight the wind, you have to learn to work with it and manage it to reach your destination.” I get it, I get it. There’s no point being upset about something you can’t do anything about. You need to accept it and make lemonade out of lemons and all those other overused and tired platitudes. That doesn’t really make me feel any better, though. I had a list, I had plans, I had anticipated the end to my five weeks of enforced solitude!! I have my own words to live by…”When your husband’s delayed, buy some seashells.” That’s what I did today…seashells on a plate

I spent another couple of hours setting up my little tugboat photo sesh with every loose pearl I could find to create a new header for this blog. tugboat with pearlsAfter that, I stalked the captain on the live ships satellite map and emailed him to let him know I had my eye on him. He said he should have some updated info on Monday and I should “standby” which is another tugboat-y type term. I have to prepare myself for the call that says he’s on the plane and I need to go to the airport, which means I better take care of some much needed personal stuff, ya know what I mean?? If only I could cross my arms like I Dream of Jeannie, blink, and he’d miraculously appear! I just tried. No luck. Still here, still alone…Oh, and a final thought, you do NOT want to mess with a pissy Jewish princess. No, you do NOT want to go there. Trust me.