Treading (Cold) Water

In my most recent round of climbing out of the rabbit hole, I’ve read and listened to lots of people with lots of ideas about self improvement. In my interpretation, the most useful advice all stems from the exact same core ideas.

Not that I’m going to summarize them for you here. If you ended up on this blog in hopes of the answer to life’s mysteries, that’s unfortunate and hilarious.

I just finished two weeks of tech rehearsals for my new show. For you civilians, that means I haven’t slept or done the shit I need to do to be less crazy for a while. If you’re a parent, it’s a lot like having a newborn who doesn’t like you. I’m lucky to remember how the coffee maker works, I’m constantly checking to make sure I’m wearing pants, and my head is most definitely not my friend right now.

So core self-improvement ideas may be the same, but unless someone presents them in a way that resonates with you, they don’t hit. I’ve read innumerable versions of these same ideas over the years that didn’t make a dent.

The fact that I’m even attempting to write today comes directly out of what Scott Adams says when he speaks of Systems vs. Goals.  If you have system in place, you can fail at specific goals but still win. Putting out a blog post on Sunday is a system. It forces me to create something, connect, think about something other than work, practice writing, and do something scary that pushes me outside my comfort zone. It isn’t a goal to have x-number of comments, garner a book deal, or get more people than my immediate family to read it. Doing it is the system, and that’s enough.

Tim Ferris says that when you’re struggling, share the thing that you’re struggling with. Let it be embarrassing. Let it be honest. Let it be.

I can do that.

So we’re working ridiculous hours. It’s temporary, it’s part of the gig, and we’re making overtime.

Stupidly, we had a conversation about what we were going to put the extra money towards.

In the past month, the washing machine broke, was repaired, then finally had to be replaced. The next week, the garage door went. After that, #3 suddenly required a housing deposit for college that was inexplicably three times what it was last year.

Then the door fell off the minivan.

van
For fuck’s sake.

This was after the snow storm (By the way, stagehands don’t get snow days. Although if you’re super fortunate, your show may get you a room in the city, which mine did).

The door on the minivan was a conundrum. CC and I stood in the parking lot at eleven o’clock at night, with a combined total of six hours of sleep between us, completely baffled. We couldn’t get the door all the way off, and we couldn’t get it back on. Plus, all our tools were at work. It was towed to our mechanic. Then towed to the dealer. Then to the dealer’s body shop, where it remains today, ten days later. It might be ready tomorrow. It might not. CC leaves for Toronto on Tuesday.

And I’m still in production. Someone I love is in the hospital in another state and I can’t get to them yet. My dreams at night are of destruction and trying to solve problems that don’t have answers. I’m sure I’m going to be fired any minute, and convinced that this is the last job I’ll ever be hired for. I hide on my meal breaks and try to regenerate enough energy to finish the next session. I’m embarrassed how hard it is for me, but this is what happens to me when I don’t sleep.

Sleep deprivation is an exponential power added on to every single flaw and concern in my life. I just keep trying to remember that not all of the things in my head are true, and that all of the things both in and out of my head will pass.

chairdogs
It’s okay. Just take a nap.

 

Saturday morning I chose sleep over a shower.

Last night our hot water heater went. The plumbers come tomorrow, well after I’m at work. Once again, our overtime has other plans. And now it’s been a little while since I’ve been clean. I’m currently debating the merits of going to the gym to take a shower, taking a cold one here, or just simply not giving a fuck.

Right now, the latter is winning. It has a high chance of still winning at 5am tomorrow. I’d apologize in advance, but it appears I’m all out of fucks to give.

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Sh*t My Dogs Eat, Part Deux

Twins have a thing. A true DNA-level psychic connection, where they can directly sense thoughts or feelings from their siblings, no verbal communication necessary.

The Puggle and the Fuggle don’t really look anything alike, but they often have the same movements. They’ll sleep in the same shapes and change position at the same time to another same shape. They do the same pug head tilt, the same beagle tracking sniffs.

And they’re geniuses at conspiring together to steal food. They like Milkshakes, icing, and gravy, but they’re really not picky. The phrase, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks,” only pertains to your idea of what the dog should learn. A dog can come up with plenty of new shit if left to its own devices.

CC and I are both in production right now on new shows, which means nobody’s cooking. Yesterday he ordered the kids a surprise pizza from work and had it delivered. They were pretty thrilled (bonus garlic knots and all).

Everybody got a piece of pizza. What happened next depends on who you talk to.

Jack swears he had nothing to do with it. He only had to pee.

Pugglesaywhat
Fire safety is very important and I had nothing to do with the pizza.

 

#4 claims that Casey got a piece of pizza and took it into the crate.

 

Caseycute
What?

#5 revealed that Casey pulled the entire pizza box down off the counter, causing the remaining half of it to land cheese-side-to-the-floor and then stole the piece that was witnessed by #4.

When questioned how Casey managed to access the pizza box, #5 blamed Jack for having to go outside. He took Jack out and his sisters, in typical sisterly fashion, let him do all the work and stopped paying attention to anything beyond their phone screens, including any errant Puggling sounds.

Because God knows shit like this never happens at our house and it’s totally okay to check out like that.

#5 also neatly tossed #4 under the bus for getting mad at him for throwing away the three remaining slices that landed tits-up on the kitchen floor.

Casey’s not talking. She’s got a belly full of pizza and is remarkably unconcerned.

Nothing about this story surprises me.

Last summer, CC grilled a gorgeous side of salmon on a cedar plank for the kids’ dinner. The babysitter left to take #5 to scouts and came back to discover a $90 broken plate and a distinct absence of an ENTIRE SIDE OF SALMON. This was the day we discovered Casey had yet again increased her vertical reach.

Shortly after the salmon incident, I had a chicken dish in the slow cooker. It smelled pretty good when I left for work. #4 made some iced tea and left the 10-pound bag of sugar sitting on the counter. I’m still not entirely clear on why a 10-pound bag of sugar is an iced tea requirement, but the Puggles smelled chicken and grabbed the thing that was within reach.

Then #5 sent me this video, which made me happy that we finally got him a smart phone.

 

The Difference Between Me and Martha

I don’t hate Martha Stewart.

I have an aunt who does Martha Stewart better than Martha does. My Aunt Kathy is badass. Her gardens could easily provide both catering and decorations for formal brunch. She creates a very welcoming atmosphere seemingly without effort, she sends valentines and advent calendars when I can barely remember my own kids’ birthdays, and to my knowledge she has no disgruntled staff, nor has she ever done time. When my cousin Jen got married at their home a couple years ago, it felt better than a fairy tale. Aunt Kathy claimed to have pretty much nothing to do with the planning of the wedding and lays all credit to Jen. But there’s a knock-you-out kind of beauty everywhere you look at their house. It makes you feel like you just got punched in the gut, in a good way– I suppose that’s what people mean when they say something takes your breath away. Aunt Kathy and Jen both make that beauty real, and it makes me feel honored and special just to be in the same family as someone who can do things like that.

I’m grateful they’ve taken care of being better than Martha, because if it were up to me, we’d all be doomed.

Through no fault of my parents, none of my chromosomes contain a single homemaking gene. Also, I don’t craft, and I don’t know Snoop Dog.

I do, however, have an unhealthy obsession with Martha Stewart’s calendar.

A recent online purchase resulted in my gaining free digital access to Martha’s magazine, in which she prints her monthly calendar. It gives me something to strive for, and I think I’m starting to measure up pretty well.

I’m perhaps most envious of her well-balanced exercise regime. Two days of weight training, one yoga class, one day of cardio and core, and an outdoor hike or horseback ride every single week. I don’t want to brag, but I’m pretty good at bending at the waist. Particularly if I’m already sitting down. I’m also getting better at tripping teenagers and Puggles with my cane, a skill I’ve only been practicing since my most-recent-and-hopefully-last foot surgery on Thursday. I don’t see any cane tricks listed in Martha’s calendar. At this rate, I’ll be doing some real Fred-Astaire-worthy shit by April. Look out, Martha.

canepuggle

March 6: Order gladiolas and dahlias. This is such a beautiful line. I’m going to work it into a story. It’s going to have something to do with murder.

March 7: Prune tearoses to remove winterkill. This is my favorite entry for the whole month. Beautiful, yet deadly. Kinda like poison dart frogs, or the mantis shrimp. I’m detecting some sort of theme here.

March 9: Wash dog beds. I prefer to be more organic regarding the washing of the dog bed. I leave it until they throw up on it. I’m confident that will happen at least twice in March.

March 13: Have cars cleaned, waxed, and serviced. Heheheh. Heheheheheh. Heheheheheh. I’m undecided whether this, or March 10’s Have stables cleaned is a better euphemism.

March 14: Rotate house plants to ensure even sun exposure. No direct sunlight enters my home. This is a blessing for all houseplants, as any that I receive as gifts are immediately given to good homes (i.e., not mine), thereby saving them from a sure, slow, and painful death at my hands. I’m going to substitute, Allow chipmunks to eat the flower bulbs.

visitor
Hello, friend.

March 16: Bake Irish Soda Bread. Meaning, of course, Eat Irish Soda Bread that someone’s actual Irish mother has made. Irish Soda Bread Day was one of my favorites at my old show. Rest in peace, Ma Kelly and Ma Fedigan. You are missed.

March 17: Have friends over for dinner. Perfect timing, right in the middle of technical rehearsals for the new show. Eating leftovers alone under my desk at work is pretty much exactly the same thing.

March 20: Have curtains steam cleaned. There are at least three words I don’t understand in this sentence. I’ll replace this with Eat more chocolate.

March 21: Photograph early spring flowers for blog. Meaning, Look through pictures from several years ago for anything that could possibly be blog-relevant. Done.

March 22: Bring fresh eggs to office. Canned sardines and leftover broccoli- check!

March 26: Deep-clean area rugs. Does a hyphenated word count as one word, or two? There are up to four words in this sentence I don’t understand. Do something with chocolate again.

March 27: Take outdoor furniture out of storage. Is this even English?

March 28: Bake sweet oat-walnut crisps. This, I can totally get behind. Particularly if it’s on someone else’s calendar. Hey, Aunt Kathy- what does your March 28 look like?

pink

Happy March.