When I was a kid, I had a special job.
When my parents were at a meeting at my elementary school — they went to PTO meetings, but this must’ve been a Cub Scout or Boy Scout thing — I helped clean out the lost and found.
I don’t have any memory of what this entailed, except that there were a lot of socks. How do people lose so many socks, I’d wonder. At school?
As my reward, Steve the janitor would treat me to a soda from the machine, which I’d enjoy with him in the teachers’ lounge.
A soda AND hanging out in the teachers’ lounge. Told you it was a special job.
Steve couldn’t read, or couldn’t read well, but he liked the “funnies.” So we’d chat a bit about the comics we liked best.
There was a rumor later that one of the janitors had a side job sharpening Tonya Harding’s ice skates.
I wonder what happened to Steve.
On our way back to town after our last beautiful beach day of our trip, the van started to labor going up hills. We turned the A/C off. It still struggled. By the time we got back to our rental house, we weren’t even making the speed limit on flat ground. The whining got louder.
So, after a lot of fuss, moving from our rental to a hotel, putting half our stuff into a family member’s car, we ended up staying an extra day and a half.
It was not ideal.
But both days, our five-year-old found something to love. We went to the arcade, and he beat the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles game, thanks to his parents and free play mode. He got a knockoff Lego set from the Dollar Store. That killed ten minutes.
“This is the best day ever.”
While I was walking past a neighbor’s house, some girls were getting ready to race in their front yard.
“Ready, set, go!”
One girl easily beat the another.
Says the child referee, seriously, to the loser: “You just embarrassed yourself.”
Toddler asked for milk this morning. We don’t always have almond milk around, but I got it for smoothies this week.
“Dairy milk or almond milk?”
“Amond milt! Amond milt is my favorite.”
I gave him some almond milk.
“Not this one. Other amond milt. This one yucky.”
He had some dairy milk.
“I love amond milt.”
There were a lot of people from my high school at this wedding last weekend — the bride and groom went to the same high school as my husband and me. They all knew each other at the time, but they didn’t know me. I came along later, when I worked with the groom.
So a few of us were circled around chatting about how my husband, the best man, used to TP the maid of honor’s house, etc., when she turned to me. “Did we put you in a hatchback?”
“Yep, that was me.”
I don’t know why I was invited to come along with my oldest brother when he and some other band people went to see the Rose Festival fireworks, but since he was four years older, it seemed kinda cool to tag along. For some reason, I ended up riding in the hatchback of our old Honda Civic, which also seemed pretty cool at the time.
It’s a small world, with some small cars.
Last week was garbage week, and I asked my husband if he noticed the garbage wasn’t quite as full as usual.
“Yeah, I was wondering about that.”
“I’m … making an effort to create less trash!”
I’m trying to use — to throw away — less plastic.
There are some easy changes to make, some that take a little more planning, but I’m making progress.
But I’ve done this before, and I forgotten how much plastic people just hand to you without asking.
Plastic knives with your cream cheese.
Plastic cups to go.
Yes, straws in your water. I don’t need a straw for water, but anyone who needs one should get one.
I forgot it’s so emotionally exhausting to be given something over and over that you want to have less of.
This week I’m tracking my time in half hour increments and also reading a book about giving up the idea of productivity.
She had to be pretty productive in order to write this popular book, right? While also adding in time to sit quietly in nature, because that’s part of writing a book, too.
Better put that on my list.
We were pretty chill on the 4th. When you have little kids you can’t exactly skip a holiday altogether, so we went to the park in the morning, got ice cream in the afternoon, and had hot dogs for dinner. (I had a gardenburger.)
There were pop-its. The toddler woke up at 5:45 and didn’t nap, so we didn’t even try to see any fireworks in the neighborhood. It was great family time for a Thursday.
The next day, I ran a few errands. “How was your fourth?” a couple people asked.
“Well,” I said each time, “We didn’t feel too excited to celebrate this year.”
Each person relaxed a bit, then tensed. Like I was a safe person to talk to, but they’d just remembered the world wasn’t that safe in general.
“Yeah,” they both said, strangers to me and to each other. “A lot of people felt that way.”
I was chatting with a new acquaintance over the weekend, and mentioned my two kids.
“You have kids?”
“Yep, two boys, two and five.”
“Oh, you look too young to have kids!”
“You wear it well, my dear”
This isn’t even a good anecdote. I’m just bragging because I do not get comments like this very often.
Maybe she’s nearsighted too.
I’ve always described myself as a “shy ham.” I’ll be anxious about talking to someone I don’t know very well while waiting for my karaoke song, and then I’ll go perform the HELL out of that song.
Not sing the hell out it. I’m only a passable singer. But I commit to the bit.
This weekend, volunteering at a conference, I was kind of shy about going up and chatting with people. Not super shy, but not exactly outgoing, either.
But when it was time for the volunteers to go on the stage, I went to the CENTER of that stage. In the front. Well, I thought. Someone’s gotta do it.
At the after party, we watched some Bollywood dancing. “Are there any first-timers here? Come on stage.”
It did not take me long.
I didn’t go to the front because I did not know what the hell I was doing, but I was in the second row, performing the HELL out of a Bollywood dance that I’d just tried for the first time.