Saturday, June 19, 2010

Buy Good Quality

Stuff breaks. Pencils, bones, hearts, promises. This morning it was my shower head. It couldn’t withstand the coursing water pressure as I turned the dial to a different setting, and its head came unglued. I know the feeling.

Though I’ve had this shower head for years, I don’t plan to toss it at the neighbor’s barking dog. I will try a time, or two, if necessary, to repair it. The throwaway society that began in the 1960s never suited me, though I wish my parents would have thrown their marriage away 17 years before they did.

My id must be very strong, because I derive great pleasure from repairing rather than replacing things that have broken. Sure it takes time; I fix things each week. But through my action, I have not added to landfill waste, I’ve saved gas and money, and I wear a satisfied smile that looks as if I were doing something better.

Remember back in the olden days, things were solid, built well, constructed to last: tools, clothing, a lot of marriages. That was the American way. Then Made in China started appearing on the same kinds of products that Americans also made, except the much-less-expensive Chinese items broke rather rapidly turning into a much-more-expensive second trip to buy the American-made version.

Buying cheap isn’t smart, and you can’t repair the thing because its materials are inferior and flimsy, so into the landfill it goes.

Anyway, I superglued my shower head and didn’t realize the glue dripped onto my fingers. I was able to pry my fingers from the head, but two fingers were still stuck together. Warm, soapy water didn’t get the glue off. Neither did Goo Gone or Goof Off. Superglue wears off skin in a day or two, but it stays on fingernails longer.

The next day I tested my repair job with a pull of the shower activator and pop! The shower head is in the garbage can, the old stationary head is back in place. and I have regained complete functioning of my fingers.

So when something breaks, don’t come unglued. Give repairing a shot. And if you use superglue, have debonder close by.

Death and Darn Near

I know everybody dies, but why does everyone have to dip their toes into holy water at the same time?

My hiking bud, Bob, had a stroke June 7, Uncle Don died June 11, and a friend has had zero access to her son for months due to her lying, controlling, abusive husband.

My mind, body, and spirit are wiped out, because I'm the type who soaks everyone's feelings into my depths. And now, after relaxing in the hot tub, I'm completely drained and sobbing. If only I had some wine.

Bob hadn’t been feeling well for a few days, probably because we hadn’t hiked nor seen each other since May 17 and he missed me terribly, so his doctor recommended the How Much Do I Miss Auntie test at the hospital. The result: He only missed me a little bit. The real culprit was a little sac, and it wasn’t between his legs.

“In humans the appendix is small and has no known function,” which describes a couple folks I used to know.

His appendix had ruptured, which I find strange because it involves the digestion of cellulose and he doesn’t eat anything even resembling cellulose. Salads and green food are against his religion. Maybe it ruptured from inactivity, so the resident doctor performed an appendectomy.

Three days later and still in Memorial Hospital, Bob had a stroke. I surmise that the five clots they found in his head might have formed because he was taken off his blood-thinning drug, but I’ve only played doctor.

He lost some right arm and hand control and can’t walk very well, but his strange Iowan sense of humor slowly spills from his mouth. I visit Bob every other day rather than daily—a little bit of me goes a long way—and assist when I can, but not in the can. No butt wiping for me. Working with the occupational therapist, I helped him shuffle to the bathroom, tubes hanging out of his body, hooked up to bags of liquid and measuring instruments. I later fed him soup. I just pray he recovers fully and quickly, or his wife said she’ll go nuts.

Uncle Don was 87 and had a good life. My aunt, 83, was a tennis pro, Christian singer and songwriter, and worked at a retirement home till last year. She called this eve and shared the touching story about her husband of 62 years. She’d found love notes she had given him and shared their sentiments. By the end of the conversation, I looked like Alice Cooper. She said it would mean a lot for me to be there. But, she noted, we wouldn't have one-on-one time and she has a very small home.

I have less than $150 in the bank, and even if I started selling my body now, I’m not sure I’d have enough for gas and a hotel…or next month’s insurance payments. But at times like these, money should be of no concern…till next month.

As for my gal friend, I pray and hope for pure love and healing to move through her life—and her son’s. Whether healing is emotional, spiritual, or physical, it makes breathing so much easier.

appendix definition from New Oxford American Dictionary

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Hire Auntie: Evolutionary Editor

When a person declares that he or she is going through a midlife crisis, I question if that’s the correct term for the experience.

I mean, maybe a gal is just viewing her reflection at the wrong angle. I would term that “weight rearrangement.” Reflections should only be viewed in a small, chest-high mirror until the crisis has passed.

Or maybe her husband is viewing his wife from a different angle than he does other women, which could be termed “boredom,” “lack of self-esteem,” or “lack of self-control.”

Perhaps a person is so tired of the routine that a deviation or transplant is vital. We simply can’t do the same thing continuously without losing precision and verve, even when we walk a diverse path. Viewing life from a fresh perspective can give us vibrancy and invigoration.

Therefore, I think another term for this midlife crisis concept is “evolution.”

Think of how many times you’ve evolved since high school or college. Many of us don’t even work in our degree field. In college I majored in journalism. My emphasis was on advertising and broadcast, so I was the promotion director at the college radio station and appeared on TV as both an environment reporter and anchor.

After graduation, I sold time—radio time, that is. Plus I was on the air from 10 a.m. till 2 p.m. weekdays. But when an offer to earn almost double came along less than three years later, I jumped into the finance business and soon after ran a leasing company.

I can think of one position that pulled all my skills and talents together, except for singing, and that was as the international marketing communications manager for a high-tech company. I loved it, and they used me well, though I was only allowed to sing in the bathroom.

But less than a decade later, I decided to contract with my employer and work from home to more actively parent my little girl. And here I am 13 years later with my savings gone, evolving away and weighing my abilities to see what tips my scale.

Maybe you’re asking the same question: Of all the things I do well, what am I passionate about and do better than anyone else?

I believe my forte is editing, and writing, of course. [Purists out there will call me on my use of forte, I’m sure.] Therefore, I am hanging out my marquee to be your writer and editor.

Maybe you don’t need an editor. Here’s a test. See if you can find 25 errors in the following passage.

His sage advise after 30 years experience was:
(1) Read non-fiction books.
2) Don’t be lead astray by good looking women.
3) Be aware of ideas that are half-baked but others’ say are alright.
4) Don’t travel North West of Texas.
(5) When stopped by a Sheriff, know your hung if you don’t place you’re hands on the dash and act saint-like.
6. If you meet a skunk think twice before you yank it’s tail
(7) If you have a nearly-empty canteen be thankful for those drops already drunk.

With a wink of his eye and a tip of his hat, he said, “If I was you, I’d contact this Auntie girl.”

How did you do?

After I wrote that crazy passage, my daughter found one error that I hadn’t caught. Teenagers, they know everything. But evolution hasn’t caught her yet.

If you reach your audience with the written word, it matters to do it correctly, and your friends might not tell you something is wrong.