Saturday

I work 6 days a week.  Saturday is my only day off.  You would think this would be my day of activities and joy and friends and projects.

It’s not.  It tends to be a black hole of nothing.  It the day my depression induced stillness can get it’s way.  I mostly lay in bed reading, scrolling through various websites and basically doing nothing of value.

I have managed my depression in most of the areas of my life.  But my days off continue to be a problem.   Today I want to just clean the apartment a bit, do a couple of loads of laundry and cook something for meals for the next week.  Even as I write that I know it’s more than I can manage.  Despite the fact that it’s a normal amount of stuff for a person to do.

I really need to choose just one of those tasks as my priority.  Probably Laundry.  It’s the most necessary for the next week’s needs.  I can live in a messy house but I still need clean clothes for work.  And this defines why I’m not really getting farther than the treading water.  I do the barest minimum to make my life work.

I’m really just one of the people in those bleak movies.  Trudging along in greyness.

What is even more necessary than all the tasks I think I should do is to find some joy in this life.  To get more social.  To find creative things that bring me personal satisfaction.  I think a Good Life is about the people and making things.  I’m doing nothing to promote that in my life.

I’m so much better than I was 6 years ago.  But only in that I’m not homeless and penniless and jobless.  I’m working and self sufficient and I don’t feel like my life is out of control.  I’m able to interact with my family better.  But I’m not even close to content or happy.  I’m… grey and blank.

 

 

Grumpy

I really don’t like other people’s noise inflicting itself into my life.  At worst it can trigger anxiety in me.  But mostly it just feels like a constant push against my peace of mind.

For example when people blare the radios and I can hear it.  I don’t want to hear your music, commercials and talk radio.   We live in an era where it is utterly unnecessary for me to have to.

Put on a pair of ear pods.  Your experience of the music is better and I don’t have to share it with you.

My neighbor is currently listening to Christmas music while he works on his car.  I’m not thrilled.

Same neighbor who gets picked up at 4:30 am for work.  His ride HONKS THE DAMN HORN to signal his arrival.  So everyone in the neighborhood is woken up.  We live in an age of cell phones.  There is NO GODDAMN REASON to honk.  Text / Call.  The rest of us don’t need to wake up because you have to go to work at that ungodly hour!

CRANKY

 

Perfect! Get the putty, Honey.

That is a family joke.  It’s what I say when I do a thing and I feel like I Done Did a Thing.  It was a challenging and perhaps annoying.  And it’s finally done.  Probably not perfectly.

My grandfather renovated their house without any prior experience and as a result there were a lot of obviously not quite right spots. He was known for putting way too many holes into things from not measuring well enough. Thus he would stand back, eye the probably crooked result and say to my Grandma. “Perfect! Get the putty honey.”

When you think about it. “Perfect! Get the putty, Honey.” is a sort of life philosophy.  A.  Just try to do the thing, even if you haven’t done it before.  B.  Don’t chase perfection. Putty and Paint and Pride are excellent substitutes.  C.  Keep trying when it goes wrong.  Just remeasure and drill on.  D.  Find someone to help you who shares your sense of humor.

That house did not have a straight wall or a plumb door anywhere in it.  It was a series of haphazard rooms strung together oddly, with alarmingly low ceilings.  But it was all – every uneven wall, crooked door and head scraping ceiling built with love and the effort of a man who only knew he wanted to build what his wife wanted.    And Grandma, who also had a love of just making a thing look like she imagined it might with bargain paint, was perfectly happy to abet his painfully amateur efforts.

He was not discouraged by his various missteps.  His natural humor was ever present when a shelf was not straight or the wall had a distinct wave in it.  And because Grandma and indeed all of his acquaintance, fell in love with him for his humor, no one had anything but positive to say of his efforts and his funny descriptions thereof.

If either of my grandparents had held up some ideal of perfection as their goal they wouldn’t have had a home.  And probably not a marriage after he began his renovations and add-ons. But both of them took the effort for the deed and loved the result.  After all, a bit of putty and paint will hide a whole lot of craftlessness.

I think it speaks volumes that I know this story from my mother, who used the phrase regularly.  She was his daughter in law.  In fact his STEP daughter in law.  But no one ever thought of him as anything but the dearest of relatives.  He came to visit me in Puerto Rico when I was just a couple of months old, when my grandma was still working and couldn’t come.  He came down “to do the duty”.  But of course he was so welcome and my mom always loved him for it.

He died when I was too young to remember him.  I have regretted that so often.  I have so many stories in my memory.  But I never met him as a remembering person.

I think stories are so important.  The sort of story that surrounds a saying that has infiltrated so deeply into my life that I say it and people stare at me strangely.  He lives in me, without his genes, without having an actual memory of his presence in my life.  He lives. In these kinds of stories.

Stories matter.  Tell them.  Talk about the people who came before.