Writing

Ideal writing conditions

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I am a creature of habit and someone who likes things the way they like them. Writing is no different. My number one rule is a quiet, empty house. This is an extremely difficult rule to employ since I share said house with a husband and 11-year-old. I am also ok with writing while everyone is sleeping or outside so I’m always encouraging Liam to go help his dad when he’s working outside.

This is very simply because if I am working at the computer, the questions start coming from Liam. What are you doing? When can I use the computer? What can I do? It leaves me a bit frustrated to be honest. I rarely try to write anymore when they are around. My favorite time to write is in the morning as that’s when I have the most energy and imagination. Sometimes I get up at 5:00, make myself a cup of coffee and then Murphy, our golden retriever will look at me with sad eyes that say “what about me?”. He will sit next to my chair and stare at me until I get him a treat and then he’ll lie by my feet realizing I’m not taking him for a walk.

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Since our house has been torn apart for the last month, I no longer have my writing room and that’s been really hard. I have the computer set up on the breakfast bar in the kitchen but I sit at it and cannot form any thoughts. I’m consumed instead by how long this renovation is taking and how much longer it’s going to be before the house is put back together. Right now all we have completed is the dining room floor (which looks quite nice) and by the end of next week, the floor in the office should be done and then the room will be back together shortly thereafter. I’m not going to think about the kitchen. Nope, not thinking about the kitchen which is still weeks away.

I have come to realize I have to make myself write, no matter what the conditions or it will never get done. Sometimes I obsess over the young people I see in the obituary pages (we still get a newspaper delivered!) and think I don’t know how much longer I have here. Pretty dour, right? It’s usually a passing phase but mortality is a real thing. I never thought much of it until I turned 50 and suddenly have retirement staring me down. I remind myself of Meg Ryan’s character in When Harry Met Sally who is obsessed with her singleness and says she’s going to be 40, someday. She’s more like 30 but in her self-pity has aged herself by a decade.

I have now gotten so far off topic, I better wrap this up now. I’m writing today and that’s a good thing. It’s still early and Liam isn’t up to ask me what he can do and interrupt my momentum. I will try to shed my anxieties about mortality and writing and just get on with it.

Happy writing.

MC

 

 

 

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Writing

More to come

My drafts are piling up again! It seems everytime I start a blog post, I’m unable to complete my thoughts to publish and then before you know it, another day has gone by. I wanted to commit to three posts a week (M,W,F) and I have written this activity into my weekly to do log in my cobbled together bullet journal. Alas, Wednesday does not seem to be a good day for me. I have a feeling the commitment to write is going to get harder at the end of the month when WordPress eliminates their daily prompt feature, which I rely on heavily! Must all good things come to an end?

One of the posts I started this week, I’d really like to bring to fruition. It’s about the clarity of communication. Inspired by real-life circumstances (of course). I’ve been thinking a lot about how we trip ourselves up by not being clear with each other whether it be by a phrase, a tone (sarcasm) or being passive-aggressive. It can be written or spoken. It can be in the way we listen as well.

Right now I have to head to a class at the gym (also known as stretch torture class). I am finishing up my fourth week since I started with a personal trainer and while it hasn’t been easy, I do feel a bit more toned than I did at the start of the month. It’s going to be a beautiful day here in the Northeast and my mood will hopefully follow! My emotions have been an up and down, like a roller coaster ride, this past month. Did you know there’s an app for tracking that? It’s called Daylio.

MC

 

 

Life

Embracing Awkward

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I am not socially fluid. I don’t know what to say in many situations. I also find it very hard to start small talk with strangers, but that doesn’t mean I won’t try. Sometimes I’ll be in a situation giving myself a pep talk to just say something. Make a comment about their dog. Their cute bag. Their baby. I will give you a full blown example of a situation.

A couple months ago I decided to stop into a Starbucks to do some writing. People just keep to themselves, right? I was sitting in an area with four comfy leather chairs and observed a couple come in with a newborn baby. You could tell it was a major outing for them. Maybe they had to go out for a doctor’s appointment and decided to stop for a quick coffee on the way home. The dad got the mom and baby situated before heading to the counter for their drinks. The mom looked tired and a bit overwhelmed so I decided I would reach out.

I was that new mother once and it was nice when people talked to me about my baby. I asked how old she was. What her name was (it was a very unusual and lovely name). If this was her first (yes) and how being a new mom was going. She admitted she was overwhelmed and I offered what I hope were comforting words. I did not say this time passes too fast and to hang onto every moment (this is one thing that was said to me over and over, hundreds of times, especially when I was complaining about some facet of motherhood). I told her to take care. It wasn’t a flowing conversation by any means and I kept my voice quiet and mellow.

Then another woman came over cooing and awing away in such a joyful and interested way. She was full of questions and thoughts that made me think, so that’s how it is to not be socially awkward with strangers. It made me think about my own stilted interaction with the new mom. I should have shown more excitement. But that’s just not me. I love babies and puppies as much as the next person but if I don’t have a personal connection to you already, I can’t overact the situation – high voice, joyful tone, natural, sunny attitude. I am a reserved person, especially with strangers.

A couple weeks ago we were at a social function for our son’s school. I do not enjoy these situations very much because I am not home reading a book or a million other things I’d rather be doing. I don’t drink and cannot hear well in noisy environments which also is a strain in social situations. I keep to one on one interactions as much as possible but I’m just as happy to sit and people watch. I’d rather observe than participate, I guess. I think this makes me awkward to others but I have learned to just embrace it. I have been told I can come off snobbish because I don’t always engage. I feel like we live in a society that values outgoing people over the quiet ones but I’ve learned to be OK with that.

MC

 

Life

The chaos of home renovations

The early days of renovation

It’s probably no small coincidence that my last blog post of over two weeks ago coincides with the progressing and now overwhelming chaotic state of my home which is undergoing (apparently) vast renovation. It started with pulling apart our master bath which left us unable to inhabit the master bedroom. We pulled up stakes and moved into the extremely unorganized guest room upstairs and have been there ever since. It’s a dodgy existence. The chaos has served as a slow moving infection that is seeping into all areas of life.

On day one I came home to find our vanity and toilet planted in the area directly in front of my dresser with only  a few drawers accessible that housed my underwear, pajamas, shorts and exercise clothes. The closet too. This is okay because I don’t need socks or scarves this time of year and was able to pull what I needed to survive in the guest room. We could get to the ironing area by climbing over the bed (now covered with coats, boots and random paraphernalia from our entry closet where the floor is being replaced) which for me has only happened once out of sheer necessity. I figured we’d be back in business in the master room by now but it sits starkly empty down to the studs with the contents sitting patiently in the garage ready to be called into duty.

Day two I came home to find the contents of my office in the dining and living rooms and it has been downhill ever since. Fortunately we will still have our kitchen another few weeks while we wait for cabinets to come in. I’m hopeful that the other areas will be put back together by then and I’ll be better mentally prepared for this transition. Maybe not.

So at the end of week one, on my Friday day off that was full of errands and to dos, the contractor sat me down to tell me his partner has not been showing up to work and basically took some of the money we paid out to start the job and did a runner. Yeah, that day pretty much sucked but I feel confident in the remaining guy who has brought in more help although it’s going much slower than anticipated.

What is the moral of the story? I don’t really know because it hasn’t played out in it’s entirety yet. We’re living in a confined space and even Liam’s room is chocked full of pieces of our house so that he really only has a narrow passage to get to his bed. Partly it’s been a freeing experience because I don’t have to worry about cleaning up (or yelling at Liam to clean his room). I merely have to keep up a bit of laundry, keep the dishes washed and make sure nothing important gets lost in the clutter. It will be helpful when it comes to putting our rooms back together because I’ll likely be able to throw or donate a lot of things I find we don’t need anymore.

Tomorrow is my first Friday off at home without a dozen things going on so I’m planning to take my laptop somewhere to write to escape the noise of the work. I will hang around to talk to the workers who I barely see and to find out how it’s going recovering the money he paid out to his former partner. I hope he has good news. I will also try to get an estimate on our master bath which will begin the return to normalcy in our chaotic home life. Stay tuned.

MC

productivity

Cracks in the foundation of productivity

Order Or Chaos Directions On A Signpost

I wasn’t planning on writing a post so soon as a follow up to my productivity post. Launching into a new system has been an abrupt awakening about our lack of organization that has been going on far too long. Only three days in and the cracks in the foundation of productivity are readily apparent.  I’m using the hack of throwing all my to do’s for the week on a running list, highlighting what I have to do today in yellow and then crossing off what I complete in green. I also have the full list of my May schedule to refer to. I like to see the green!

One of my to do’s for yesterday was to pay for summer camp since my husband said he signed him up. I got right on it early since the gym was open and guess what? They didn’t have his registration. I keep bumping up against this thing with my husband where he says he *thinks* he took care of something and then I find out he didn’t. Either that or he thought I was going to do it, without cluing me in to what I was supposed to do.  I am not going toss all the blame on my husband because I am just as guilty of this.

This week alone we thought the other was taking care of several important tasks. Sign up and pay for a dinner dance Liam has for Friday (the RSVP has been on the fridge for a month). I had the foresight to order Liam a new pair of khaki’s, oxford shirt and dress shoes for the dance which arrived last week, though. Do I get any points for that? Neither of us had ordered  Liam’s yearbook (weekly emails have been going out for the past three weeks). We have no signed a permission slip for a field trip to the book store (due yesterday). Also not done: find a sitter for Saturday and a dog sitter for the following weekend.  These are the tasks that fall through the cracks!

I wonder to myself how we’ve managed nearly fifteen years of marriage without fixing this grave deficit in communication. We have definitely been running on chaos. All this is further proof a system is needed. The good news is most of these things have now been taken care of and I can breathe a little easier. The sense of accomplishment is motivation to keep going.

MC