Friday, January 11, 2008

All in a Day's Work

The waves lulled gently, softly…their easy motion becoming more powerful, louder, closer…the sound was overbearing now, as if the swell was right in front of me and ready to break over my head…

Oh, wait. It’s just my Homedics alarm clock. Although it says 6:20am, I subconsciously know that it is 6:08am in real world time, and I flail my arm around its vicinity until my hand makes contact with the snooze button. The surf will be up at least three or four more times before I actually put my feet on solid ground.

I decide to make eggs for my three high-school kids, who are good-naturedly chiding each other to move over in our tiny bathroom so each one can take turns spitting out toothpaste or plucking their eyebrows over the sink. I had stopped doing this for about a year and a half; however, I began to realize that they were running out of the house with empty stomachs more often than not, and the thought of them running out of fuel in the middle of Global History was not a notion I relished. Hence, the frying pan has come out of weekday retirement once again.

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I hurriedly park my car in the lot, and look over to the passenger seat to grab my bag and my lunch. As I lift up my thermal cup, I realize the top wasn’t screwed on right and now there is a one-inch puddle of Trader Joe’s Irish Breakfast Tea (with a generous dose of milk and one sugar) sitting in the round cup holder in my console. I sigh, run into work, seize a generous amount of paper towels, run back out to my car, and stuff them into the puddle. Procrastinator that I am, I decide to let the towels soak up the mess, which I will attend to later. The soaked cloths are still there as I write this fourteen hours later.

My workday is hectic, as usual. There is paperwork to be done, reports to be filed, and no office with peace and quiet that would help me to attain these goals. One of the senior citizens that we shop for calls me up early in the morning, crying: “Lisa, I think this is it. I haven’t eaten in five days, and I’ve lost six pounds. I think the Lord is taking me home, and it’s my time. I have to go to the hospital, but I’m too weak…can you please come here with some people and help me pack a bag? Sob….”

Well, I know very well that this is not Mrs. C’s time. As a matter of fact, I tend to think that Mrs. C. is just about as healthy as a horse, physically…but emotionally and mentally, she is suffering. All alone, with no children, I have grown attached to this persnickety woman in her eighties who talks of her Christianity often, but seems to become irritated with just about everyone who doesn’t comply with her wishes regarding food items, mail retrieval, and scotch tape.

I talk to my supervisor and take two of my individuals to her home to help her pack, wash up, put fruit in the refrigerator, take out the garbage, and wash and dry some dishes. Oh, and I also put in a phone call to her doctor, who—ironically—has been my doctor for half of my life. She is worried that he is too busy to call her back (and she’s probably right, although that was not the case 22 years ago). I pull some clout with the receptionist, and they call her back five minutes later. She doesn’t want to wait in his office for two hours—she’d rather wait in the hospital for four. I leave her all dressed and ready to call the ambulance, and she blesses me over and over. She hands my individuals all the singles she has in her wallet--$3.00—and tells us to wish her luck.

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After the buses finally leave the hub site at 3:20 and all is quiet, I hear a buzzing noise coming from my bag. Realizing that I hadn’t turned my ringer back on since a school meeting Wednesday night, I flip open my phone to see five missed calls. My son informs me that our older dog, Freedom, has gotten sick all over the kitchen floor and he’s never seen so much crap in his entire life. He takes a picture of it with his phone and texts it to me. It’s not a pretty sight.

I race home to view what looks like serpentine land mines of poo in every square inch of my kitchen. Astonished, I stand there in disbelief that one dog, even a large one like Freedom, could possibly have bowels that copious. As I clean up the fallout of what I surmise was the result of either the morning’s pouring rain or an item of food or drink that wasn’t on the doggie menu, the phone rings. I pick it up and hear Mrs. C. on the other end: “Oh, Lisa…this is terrible, I’ve been at the hospital for hours, and I can’t get a cab home! I don’t know who else to ask…could you please come here and pick me up?”

Of course, I say “Of course…” followed by, “…Just give me a few minutes to finish something!”

I rush out of the house and race to the hospital. Mrs. C. is waiting for me, looking and sounding like someone who is definitely not…um…sick.

“How did you make out?” I ponder as I drive her home.

“Oh, Lisa…this is just my stomach acting up from that virus I had the other day. I’ll be fine, and my blood is perfect! But oh, Lord, Lisa…there was a ninety-seven year old woman next to me, and I tell you, I do NOT want to be here when I’m ninety-seven. I just don’t know why God keeps me around when I just want to go home to Him.”

The conversation then goes into her neighbors who refuse to get her mail for her or who snub her. She wants to know why she’s being tested. I think to myself…don’t we all?

I come back home and decide that I definitely need to cook something containing onions and garlic to get rid of the smell that two washings with boiling hot water and Lysol disinfectant have not removed. When that doesn’t work, I put up an apple pie candle. Eventually, I just cook some flounder. Honestly, I’d rather smell fish.

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My ex swings by to pick up my son. He’s taking him to Dallas to see the Giants play the Cowboys. I can’t pay my water bill, but he can make plans to fly out of state to see one of the most talked about games in years, and multiply his expenses by two by bringing my son along with him. Sigh.

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This evening, as I stood in the kitchen cleaning up some dishes, my husband snuck up behind me and hugged me while he kissed my ear. Some soft country music that he had found on his navigation ipod was playing in the background. He swayed me back and forth and I closed my eyes as he whispered, “I love you.” Time stood still, and the stresses of the day all faded into the mixed potpourri of odors that still lingered in the air. As I melted into his arms, I thought to myself before I opened my eyes…”Whether or not you are poor or wealthy…fortunate or unfortunate…right now, with your eyes closed, all that matters is how you feel in this moment…you can open your eyes and see wealth, or you can open your eyes and see poverty. But in this instant, the only thing that truly matters is how you feel in the here and now.”

Yes, my life can be stressful. It is definitely hectic, and it is sometimes really unfair. But the realization of living in the moment is becoming so tangible to me. I am really starting to understand the importance of being “present” in the present…I spend an awful lot of time dreaming of my future. But really all I have is today…this minute. And you know what? It’s not all that bad.

27 comments:

simply me said...

Sounds like a full day, but a very rich life. You are very fortunate. Stay in that moment for as long as possible.
love you.

Dust-bunny said...

Dear Simply Me,

You know, while I was cleaning the dog poop, in all it's stinky glory, the sun broke through the clouds. I looked out the kitchen window to see if there would be a rainbow--you know I'm weird like that--and then I realized I had accomplished something really big. I looked for the rainbow in the middle of the shit. Ha.

xoxo,
Lisa

annie said...

Whew, what a day. When I recount some of my days people often say they are tired just reading it and now I can say that to you! ha!
My day was interesting too and now I'm thanking God that it didn't include dog poo.
blessings lisa!

Shimmerrings said...

Lisa, this is, by far, the best story you have ever written. Not only, in content, but style, as well. And do you know what I put it all to??? That sweet little moment, swaying in the kitchen. It will definitely make the spirit soar, juices flowing with creativity and clarity! And you are a sweetheart, doing all that you do for others... but I have to tell you, I laughed my ass off that your son would actually send you a snapshot of the shit! Rofl! It just goes to show how techno we have become. He doesn't just tell you about it, he shows you :o Now, that's progress! It reminds me of this morning. We had a large piece of wood in the back end of his truck that we had covered up, till this morning, to keep the dew off of, overnight. Though we'd had several beautiful and clear days, when we awakened, this morning (hey, I need one of those clocks, where can I find one?) it looked as if it might rain. Next thing you know, he had me going online to find the weather report, and to get a doppler thingy. But, first I downloaded some weatherbug thing onto my desktop. Some twenty minutes later we had the doppler. After all that, I rolled over and told him, "Now, this is just getting ridiculous! We can look out the window and see that it's going to rain, but no, we have to go online to check it out!" He couldn't help but grin, too. Lisa, I am jealous. I have memories of my deceased husband coming up behind me in the kitchen, and us swaying too and fro, when he first came to be with me... and we were like that for 3 days, every time he saw me in the kitchen :) Later, we would refer to that span of time as when our spirits had danced for days *sigh* I sure miss that kind of attention :( You got a good thing going!

Dust-bunny said...

Dear Annie,

I think your days must be filled to the brim with all things hectic, yet you always find the time to be kind and considerate of others!

I hope you have a wonderful week!

Take good care,
Lisa

Dust-bunny said...

Dear Shimmerings,

I will tell you, I did ponder the thought of posting the picture, but for reasons of "class", I decided not to (one of the poops in the picture was so large that my co-worker thought it was the dog)!

And it's funny you mentioned that my inspiration for this post was our "swaying" moment in the kitchen...you are absolutely right!! I honestly can't believe you said that...right after that moment, I actually turned around and told my husband, "I have to write something," and I ran to my computer!!

I'm so sorry for your loss. I always say that my husband is my soul mate, and if God forbid something ever happened to him, that would be it for me as far as men go. I've gone as far as I can go in the "love" department, and I'm grateful for someone like my husband whose ability to love so generously is like something out of a novel (of course, he does have a "y" chromosome, so it's not always lovey-dovey, light and fluffy over here...but for the most part, he is a gem)!

I'm assuming your wood was for your kiln? I hope it was spared from the rain!

Have a great Sunday!

Take good care,
Lisa

Shimmerrings said...

You can't believe I knew the reason for your creative spurt. You should, 'cause we always have such similar things going on, simulataneously, lol. I know all about the effect that "swaying" can have on the heart, mind, soul and spirit. It's all about feeling complete and fully loved, beyond the shadow of a doubt. It makes all else, that is dark, doubtful, and confusing, just melt away. Because Love is Light. And when there is Light there is nothing but good stuff that will come from it! :) No, the wood is for a cabinet to set our combination oven/microwave up on. It's one of those ovens that is supposed to be like built into something, like a wall or something (the cook top stove is separate and in another room). We've been working on re-doing this really old house that is over a hundred years old. He already had the home when I met him. He tore out all the walls and redid all the rooms, enlarged the bedroom, turned another tiney little spare bedroom into the bathroom, turned the bathroom into the laundry room, and threw the oven into the laundry room, which is right off the kitchen, lol. It's still underway, so much to be done. He's really done a great job on the tile in the kitchen and laundry room, heck, in the bathroom, too. And all hardwood floors. The only thing is, this house is really tiny and, except for the kitchen and laundry room, bathroom, and one small bedroom, the rest is just one huge room, which was originally two separate rooms. It's very unique, however, and quite a challenge for decorating. The original old fireplace is now in the middle of the main room, and is double sided, instead of it being two fireplaces in separate rooms, separated by a wall, as before. When all is complete, there will be a staircase going up into the attic, with an extra room, albeit small, up there. We would like that to be the art room, at least I would, and perhaps with a small cot sized bed and some book cases. :O I could hide away forever!

Big Dave T said...

Ah, the life and smells of being a busy mom. I'm all for living in the present. I'm really enjoying my CD of classical music I got for Christmas. I can even listen to it at work with headphones. It helps with the tedium when I'm just staring at a computer all day. There are worse things than dealing with the public, methinks.

Loving Annie said...

Good Sunday afternoon to you, Lisa !

That is really strong of you to pick out the good and focus on it in the midst of a day like that !

You gave to everyone, and still had the wisdom to know that what you were being given back with love and support to by your husband outweighed the nuisance and aggravation rest.

If you put a dish of plain distilled white vinegar out on the kitchen counter overnight, it will get rid of any lingering odors in the air.

Kacey said...

Personally, I think you and your company are spoiling that little old lady. You shouldn't rescue her after office hours--- there really are cabs available. I'm old, but the lady in the other half of our condo is older and she takes advantage of me. I am also a wimp.
Is the dog all your's? Nobody else can clean up poop?
Your day sounds like a nightmare----until you get to the swaying part--- and then all fades out of sight. You are way richer than you know and someday, when the kids are gone --- you and the swayer will keep right on swaying together --- the feeling never goes away.

Carine said...

stress, the way of life for mom's of all ages w/ kids of all ages. Funny, I was putting together next week's blog on the same subject.

LZ Blogger said...

By Joe... I thinks SHE'S GOT IT! You can't change the past... you can't live in the future. You only have RIGHT NOW! ENJOY IT! ~ jb///

Big Dave T said...

P.S. I'm all for life's little pleasures, but it still must have been pretty sweet for your son to see that historic Giants win over the Cowboys.

Dust-bunny said...

Dear Shimmerings,

I always know you will truly "get" whatever it is I'm saying (sometimes better than I "get" it myself)!

I think that old house sounds just lovely! I'm sure you both will make it a perfect home. The home I live in now is tiny...but I do love it so. And yes, someday I'd love to have a bigger one--you know, to be able to do holidays in and have my kids stay over with their families--but for right now, we've made it as "homey" as possible! I'm sure you've done the same, and when it's ultimately finished, you'll feel right at home!

...Love the idea of an "art room"!! I'd be there all the time, too.

Take good care,
Lisa

Dust-bunny said...

Dear Big Dave,

We were just talking about classical music today, and how I feel that I got my whole education in it by watching "Bugs Bunny"!! That's really the truth...I only appreciated it as an adult because it was so familiar to me from my childhood!

OH...and BTW...Yes, my son was THRILLED to be at that game, wearing his Giants jersey and all...and of course the Giants' victory was, indeed, sweet. Not sure if anyone hit him in the head with their ten gallon on the way out of the stadium, but hey, he had fun anyway!

Take good care,
Lisa

Dust-bunny said...

Dear Loving Annie,

Yes, my husband has a very innocent way about him sometimes, I can't really explain it...but he has some sort of ability to just drown out all the stress sometimes and just throw himself 100% into the moment (Of course, that works both ways...his car is in the shop and he's thrown himself into being 100% cranky today)!

Thanks for the advice for getting rid of the smell...it actually wasn't smelling like pure poop by that time, just that "dog-kennel-y" smell...but cooking the gravy helped, and the fish just about drowned it out, hahahaha...all's back to normal now, thank goodness! I'll remember your advice for next time! Hope all is well on your end!

Take good care,
Lisa

Dust-bunny said...

Dear Kacey,

Funny, I get reprimanded almost weekly at work for spoiling Mrs. C.! Technically, I was promoted and I'm not supposed to shop anymore, but she doesn't like the way anyone else shops, especially the coaches who are men (well, I can't really blame her there...they're all single guys who have no idea how to buy food for little old ladies)! So they've allowed me to continue to shop for her (in case there's any confusion about what I do--I work for a company that services developmentally disabled adults, and my particular hub site teaches them how to be out in the working world by having them do volunteer jobs such as Meals on Wheels or in this case, "Senior Shopping")!

It just so happens Mrs. C. lives in the same town as me, so I've kind of put her under my watch, so to speak. I bring her EVOO from Trader Joe's, and sit and visit with her about once a month. Hey, it won't kill me, and it makes her day!

Hope you're feeling well, Kacey! And the DH, too!

Take good care,
Lisa

Dust-bunny said...

Dear Carine,

Yes, stress comes from all angles when you're a mom, doesn't it?? That's why I've tried to eliminate the "useless" stress, or stressing over things and situations that will never change. My kids, well that's different--they're still being "molded" by us, for lack of a better word--and I will most likely always worry about what goes on in their lives.

And I decided not to stress over the poop at all...I just kind of sighed and thought to myself, "Oh, well!"...because what could I have done to change it? And it wasn't going to hurt anyone, other than burning out some nostril hairs!

Looking forward to reading your post!

Take good care,
Lisa

Dust-bunny said...

Dear Jerry,

You've got that right! I learn that more and more every single day.

Hey, happy birthday to you! I heard it was today. Growing younger every day, right??

Take good care,
Lisa

Betty said...

Dear Dust-bunny,

I'm trying to learn this lesson, but I keep forgetting about it.... Your appreciation of your husband kind of makes me think of all those "here and now"s which I experience alone. I may be denying an important aspect of human life by insisting on going it alone.

I think your blessings flow because you appreciate. Your posts are full of examples of your appreciation.

Hugs,
betty

Shimmerrings said...

I guess understanding comes in it's own time. Sometimes our spirit knows stuff that our mind just doesn't yet know. When you asked me about Heaven On Earth, on my blog, by the time had finished sharing the story, with you, I understood, much more clearly, the things in my window :) So, thanks for askin'!

Dust-bunny said...

Dear Betty,

I know that you have had a rough time of it with the "significant other" in your life...and I hope that he doesn't ruin your outlook on love, affection, and commitment for the rest of your life. You loved deeply once (or possibly even more); you just picked the wrong person (haven't we all been there at one time or another). So you are very capable of giving of yourself emotionally. The trick is to truly see the person in front of you, right down to their very core, be honest with yourself, and know in your heart whether or not it is truly "right".

Sometimes I think we really know things are wrong, but we make excuses for or cover up the "ugly" stuff. As I've said before, I have been there, trying to "make love out of nothing at all," to quote a really corny Air Supply song. But how many of us are guilty of that?

As for me and my husband, I knew from the minute I met him that he was very different from any man I had ever met. That certainly doesn't mean that EVERY woman he dated felt that way! But I did. And luckily for me, he felt the same way. Was I looking for a life partner? Yes, but not obsessed with it. I knew it would happen because I wanted that life--a life of commitment to one person--and I felt it deep down in my soul that I was supposed to spend my life with someone. I don't think everyone feels that way; there's nothing wrong with that!

If you don't feel that desire--to share your life with someone, to let someone into your child's life--then really, what's wrong with that, if that's how you truly feel? There are many, many women (and men!) who choose to go it alone, even parent alone, and they're very successful at it. And they're HAPPY. So don't worry that you're "missing" anything if you are truly happy being alone...it's all good anyway. And if you don't want to be alone, then your heart will eventually lead you to the right person. It's right when you don't have to question the things they do or feel guilty about the things you do. It just is; it just is. And it's great.

I think I appreciate so much because I was born with some innate ability to be overly-emotional...I tend to put myself into others' shoes a lot, and I can really imagine how others feel when they go through something...so at the end of the day, I am very conscious that I don't want anyone's problems but my own!

Take good care,
Lisa

Take good care,
Lisa

Dust-bunny said...

Dear Shimmerings,

I'll have to pop back over and see what you wrote! I'm not sure what I did, but you're welcome!

Take good care,
Lisa

Matty said...

Hi! Lisa,
I love what you're doing for Mrs. C....we'll all be there one day...and hopefully someone will take the time to listen to us.
Loneliness is the worst disease of the elderly.
And as for the dog poop I had to laugh.
Christmas Eve I sent my sister a picture of the puke & poop I had to clean from the bathroom.......ah...the visuals!
She thought I was nuts....
and I am.........those are the times I think how fortunate I am to be cleaning puke & poop and have my grandkids here.
I bet a lot of people would want to be in my place. I know there are a lot of lonely grandparents out there who would be glad to have their grandkids full-time and they'd be more than happy to clean up after them as well.
I bet your dog pays you back in love and loyalty.

Dust-bunny said...

Hi Matty,

I guess our families have a lot in common...who takes pictures of poop and puke?!? And then sends them to people!! Yes, I'm nuts too, and my kids fit the bill, also. And you know what? I wouldn't want it any other way, either!

I'm glad you're all feeling better! And yes, our dogs are just the best. I will always have a dog (or two or three)! They are the most unconditional beings around!

Take good care,
Lisa

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Take good care,
Lisa