Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Why I Don't Skydive...

Before I get into this post, I have to show you a couple of definitions that are very important.

1.      Clumsy (adjective) Done awkwardly or without skill or elegance.

2.      Accident-prone (adjective) Having a greater than average number of accidents or mishaps.
I feel certain that after you have finished reading, you will agree that I fall into the category of the second definition, not the first.

It started in early childhood.  I cracked my head open sledding down a hill on one of those extremely dangerous metal saucers. Apparently, you should not lie in them in a fetal position. This was before safety warnings. Any time I was placed on a stool, I would fall off backwards. Another hazard no home should have. One Christmas morning, I fell down an entire flight of stairs. Cause: A deadly combination of pajamas with feet in them and carpeted stairs. Add Christmas morning exuberance and you have a cocktail for disaster.
As an adult, the “accidents” continued. Most of the time I stayed safely indoors, but every year, we would go on a vacation (I can’t even say the word without shuddering). One year, while in Florida, we decided our second child was old enough to play miniature golf. We gave her some basic instructions as she stood ready at Hole 1. She swung. The next thing I knew, the world went black. Apparently, our little girl, who has always been an overachiever, took a full swing, hitting my sunglasses, which I was wearing on my face at the time.  I spent the rest of our trip with black and blue circles around each eye.

A year or so later, someone in my family decided it would be fun to go inner-tubing down a river. We got on a bus which dropped us off, inner-tubes and all, upriver. My son got in first. Then, it was my turn. My husband volunteered to be tethered to my daughter, so he could keep an eye on her. We were promised a relaxing ride. Because my son and I were lighter, we drifted quite ahead of the group. Just when I started to relax, I saw a two foot drop ahead of us. I watched my son go over it with ease. As I think back on what happened next, I believe I panicked at the last second and tried to grab a rock. The river didn’t like that and swallowed me up. I went head first into the cold mountain stream. The current was too strong for me to stand, so I bobbed up and down getting mouthfuls of water each time. I managed to get to one side and climbed the embankment. My shoes and sunglasses were gone.
I had no choice but to get back in the inner-tube, my only mode of transportation back to civilization. As our ride came to an end, my son stood up, big smile on his face, and said “Look, Mom, I rescued your shoes!” Sure enough, he had scooped them up as they floated by. When my husband finally arrived, I asked him why he didn’t come to my rescue. My daughter informed me that when I capsized, my husband told her “Hey, that lady just flipped over!” and my daughter had to tell him “DAD, that was MOM!!!” That’s when I realized the man who was keeping an “eye” on our daughter was completely blind without his glasses.
Over the years, I was chased by bees on a hike and went over a cliff, I fell off a surfboard and then got smacked with it in the face, I flipped over on an ATV and got pinned, I rolled off the back of a snowmobile, I was in the front seat of a small plane, when my door flew open at several thousand feet, and if you are a regular reader, you know I broke my collarbone walking the dog.

So, I’m sure you will agree that I am accident-prone. We can rule out clumsy, because I fall, dive, and trip, with great elegance.
Oh yeah, one more thing…yes, I live in Colorado, but don’t ask me if I ski.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

My Dirty Little Secret!

My name is Elaine and I am not a hoarder. I prefer the term curator of my own personal museum. Okay...I may have some hoarding tendencies. In my defense, I do believe it is in my DNA. I had an aunt who was a hoarder, my father is a hoarder, and I believe my mother also had some hoarding tendencies.

In the case of my mother, it’s not that she had an attachment to things; she just didn’t like to waste anything. Growing up, we had two newspapers delivered every day. They both came wrapped in rubber bands. Those rubber bands got saved. In a year’s time, and we will assume that a rubber band a week got re-used, she would have saved six hundred and seventy six rubber bands. She kept them neatly bundled and wrapped with (you guessed it) rubber bands. She also had a massive collection of twist ties and grocery bags. Does this sound familiar? Maybe it was more generation-related than anything else.

I don’t have that excuse. Ten years ago, I made a big change in my life, and rid myself of most of my possessions. What was left could fit in a car (not technically, since the treadmill had to be strapped to the roof) and it felt wonderful! During the next two years, the only purchases I made were a computer, a camera, an artificial Christmas tree (I had two ornaments, both gifts from friends), and a kitten.

Fast forward and I am now drowning in a sea of stuff. Let’s see if I can explain the logic behind my problem. I bought a pair of rustic candleholders made of metal with columns which look like branches. I paid practically nothing for them. I bought them because someday (and the word “someday” is a hoarding mantra) we may have a log cabin and they would be perfect. I also have a quilt, a set of dishes, and a lamp that would be perfect, too. Okay, multiply this example by ten (I also have things for a beach house, a downtown loft, and a farmhouse) and you will understand why I am starting to get frightened.

And, buying stuff is not the only problem. I save things just like my mother. I have enough bubble wrap to circle the globe. In the event of an apocalypse, I'm just sure it will come in handy. I have enough cardboard boxes to start a mail order business. If I had a dime for every time the words “Oh wait, I want to save that box” came out of my mouth, I would have enough money for a second storage unit. Yes, I said second storage unit. I have enough candles that if I lit them all at the same time, they would be visible from outer space.

I moved into the house where my husband already lived. I wasn’t comfortable for a long time because it didn’t feel like my house, too. The other day someone came to visit and commented that it looked like a woman lives here now. I smiled because I thought it was a compliment. My husband mumbled under his breath that the only place left in the house that was his was a corner of one room. It’s true. He has a humidor and a stack of motorcycle magazines. Every other inch of the house has been swallowed up by my tsunami of clutter.

Oh yeah, and the clothes. My closets are divided by fits now, fit last year, fit five years ago, and brand new clothes, with the tags still on them, that fit my dream body, not the nightmare body I actually have. And jewelry--I have enough necklaces to wear a new one every day for a year. And, of course, every piece of jewelry has a matching pair of shoes.

They say confession is good for the soul, but writing this has just depressed me. Now, what can I do to feel better? I know! I’ll find another place for the humidor and magazines so I can turn that room into a kid’s room!  It will be perfect for when the grandchildren visit! I don’t happen to have any grandchildren, but I know I will have them…someday.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

This Is Your Brain On Shopping!

Shopping. Is it an activity or a condition? In my family, it’s a condition. I would like to describe a few examples of the brain disconnect my family suffers from.

My sister will buy a blouse for $25, change her mind, and go back to the store to return it. She will then find a tablecloth and a set of glasses she likes which cost $30. At the register, she only pays the $5 difference. In her mind, the tablecloth and glasses cost $5. So, she feels very good about her purchases.

I will buy a pair of socks on sale for 40% off. In the same store, I buy a pair of boots for full price. In my mind, the sale item and full price item average each other out, so I feel very good about my purchases.

When I mentioned to my daughter that I was going to blog about my shopping condition, I expected her to roll her eyes, which is the reaction I get from both of my kids, no matter what I say. She is extremely bright and I knew she wouldn’t get my shopping “logic”. What she said next almost knocked me off my chair. When she buys something online, and then cancels the purchase, she considers the refund "free money". And, she feels good about it. Poor girl. I guess it’s in her DNA.

I’m sure by now you are wondering if you, too, suffer from the shopping condition. There is a simple test. Go to a store you like and buy a gift card. The next day, go back to the same store and make a purchase using the gift card. If it feels like you are getting the item for free, you could be a long-lost relative of mine.

Happy shopping!