.Years ago I got an unexpected check for $40 in the mail. I didn’t want to spend it on bills or groceries, but instead on something unexpected and spontaneous. I think I bought a new comforter. Then 2 weeks later I spent that same extra $40 on something else, a jacket. A month later, I bought a crockpot. I picked up this habit from my sister, unconsciously spending the same birthday money from her sister in law over and over again. Once I started budgeting my money through a really helpful app and I became responsible for every purchase, I can’t pay tricks on myself anymore.
This weekend I was traveling during the Daylight Savings time change. I went to sleep on Chincoteague Island on Saturday night and woke up Sunday with an extra hour to spend. We awoke at 5:30 am (6:30 am for my body) and drove to the ocean to catch the sunrise. Then we spent all day doing the math about what time it really was because of all of the clocks that hadn’t changed (the one in the car, the clocks in the rental house). It was an amazingly full day of friendship and laughter and connection and before I knew it, midnight had arrived. The next morning I woke up ready to spend my extra hour again. But it was gone. How DID I spend it? Because I couldn’t pinpoint which activity occupied that extra hour, it felt lost.
Today’s a new day at the beach house and once again I’m trying to figure out how to spend my extra hour. The one I spent yesterday. but somehow I think is due to me again. Then it hits me. Every moment I spend is a gift. A treasure. I have this slice of time off from work in a place where I can choose how to focus my time without the distractions of everyday life. How will I spend this time? How will you spend your treasure?
My parents had faith in a God that would always provide, even when neither was working. No reason to assume I would ever go hungry. $50 bucks a week feeding 10 to 12 people. 7 kids getting free lunch at school, breakfast if they left early. Government cheese, big cans of peanut butter. Always an extra person at the table. Even when we didn’t know when the next meal was coming from, there was food.
The chest freezer was full whenever uncle Denny sold us a cow, emptier other times when it was hardly worth the electricity to run. Someone had chickens used as placebos in experiments, dead and beheaded but not plucked. After boiling them so the feathers could be plucked easier, the kitchen smelled foul for weeks. Going into the freezer to get dinner items I had a pain in in my stomach while hanging at the waist to dig through frozen chunks of bloody beef to find corn or fish sticks. But I had a secret. The fun-sized Nestle crunch bars we received because they were burned in production. I would sneak whenever I could get away from the kids to grab handfuls. My earliest bingeing behavior. I never went hungry.
Jim. A 92 year old man who lived a full and blessed life. I spent a couple of hours today listening to the stories of how he lived and my heart was full, and breaking. Full because it was evident that he touched so many lives, and breaking because my friend was mourning the passing of his Pop. The priest gave a wonderful homily about sunrises and sunsets and birth and death and about Jim going home. No matter what your thoughts about religion and life and the afterlife, it was a wonderful celebration. From the a cappella opening song “How Can I Keep From Singing”, chosen because Jim spent a lot of time his last couple of years singing out at the home, often at the top of his lungs, to the moving eulogy given by his son John, whose stories captured his essence perfectly.
Continue reading “Send In The Clown” →
You haven’t heard from me in a couple of weeks because Shameless. I spent the last couple of weeks with the Gallaghers. slipping deeper and deeper into their dysfunctional chaotic lives. And what happened to the promises made at the beginning of the month to match NaNoWriMo commitments from previous years, to post a blog a day during the month of November? Sadly, it seemed to go the way of all the ones made in years past. Another pre-Christmas retail season had me working extra hours and limping home, reaching into the medicine cabinet for copious amounts of Advil. And then hours of keeping up with the drug and sex-fueled Chicago family who just can’t seem to keep themselves out of jail. Go Figure.
A total of 12 blogs, all written in the first two weeks of the month, is still more writing than I think I accomplished in past Novembers. It was a strong start. What did I learn during this latest attempt? That maybe November is not the best month for me. I will be gentle with myself, continue to blog at a pace more suited for my #retaillife, and bring you quality writing as often as I am able. Thanks for your continued support. And if I end up in jail in Chicago because of those crazy Gallaghers, I will let you know where to send the bail money!