The Way Things Are



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I was digging around
2006-02-15, 3:57 p.m.

I was digging around on my hard drive again, and found a whole slew of pictures taken when I was newly-divorced and overwhelmed with being a homeowner, and realized one day that I had let the backyard go to shit. See if you agree:


I was the whitest of all white trash on the block that day.

And here’s why I hate Valentine’s Day:

Yesterday, I broke(back) down and jogged over to Best Buy to make the purchase I’ve been kind of wobbling over lately: a Dance Dance Revolution game and the floor pad thing. I figured this would make a really decent V-day gift for Lil Guy, who still wants to receive a Valentine from me because he’s a little boy trapped in a stinky, out-of-proportion body (long arms and legs, small round thorax, like a tick), as well as satisfy my yearning for a game that makes you dance, and would give DW a new workout outlet, even though he didn’t know he wanted this. Yet. I mean DW, not LG.

So I figuratively jogged over there (while literally driving my car), made my purchase, and after work, picked up LG, who had gone to the grocery store with his grandfather – Surly’s dad – and bought me a giant heart-shaped mylar balloon. Aw. Yes, it was very sweet and very huge. Batten-down-with-bungee-cords huge.

I presented to him the newly purchased DDR gear, and he said “Hm. I’ve kind of wanted that for a while.”

What we need to translate here, is his use of the words “kind of”. That doesn’t mean that he was tempering his enthusiasm so as to remain cool. What it means is, he didn’t REALLY want DDR, he just KINDA wanted DDR. His lukewarm response led to a conversation, and the conversation led to the decision that if he was not all that fired up about, and that I knew DW could probably take or leave it and would probably rather NOT spend the money on something like that, given a choice, that we should return the stuff and I’d figure out something else to get LG some other day.

My feelings weren’t hurt; I did not feel rejected. I felt kind of good about not spending all kinds of money on something that it turns out I was the only one who really, really wanted it.

When we got home, two things happened: first, we told DW the story of the returned DDR, and he was DISAPPPOINTED. He wished we had gotten it. Now, sure this was supposed to be LG’s “gift” (a gift to all of us disguised as a gift to him), but having two of us really want it kind of balances out the third just kinda wanting it, and it’s all really complex and confusing and has to do with the dynamics of our family and how we work these kinds of things out.

Oh, and then second, LG asked me after we’d been home a while, after admiring the huge balloon bobbing gently and menacingly in the dining room, “Did you get me anything for Valentine’s Day?”

ARGG. I ‘splained to him that that’s what the DDR was, and we had returned it, and he said “But are you going to get me anything else?” and I had to ‘splain to him that I was not going to run to the store and get him anything right then, no.

I really think he just wanted a big-ass balloon. I should have kept it simple. As it was, I tried to give a gift with no expectation of receiving anything in return, and what happened was I received an unexpected gift and reciprocated poorly and ill-advisedly.

And if you don’t get what I’m talking about here, please place yourself in the shoes of being the mom whose very sweet son looks at her with the sad eyes, because he didn’t get a Valentine from his mother. I don’t think it was that he was being materialistic, I think he wanted the gesture.

I think he’s a woman, actually, and nobody will EVER get it right and meet his expectations, and Valentine’s Day will be fraught with guilt and sadness for the rest of his confused life.

Or he’s still a little boy and I need to give us both a break.

All righty then, I was asked this morning…something about why I’m so freaking rational all the time, and I responded that I had rewired my brainial hard-drive by reading The Four Agreements, and the person I was tawkin’ to very promptly tuned me out and started ignoring me, and I giggle at the thought that she might have thought I was going to start talking about religion to her heathen ass.

As if!

Anyway, upon the recommendation of my sister, the beautiful EB whom we saw at Enchanted Rock a few days ago, I read this book about Toltec mysticism, and while the book has some religious types of undertones and references, it’s not a book about religion or faith or puppies or rainbows or footprints in the sand. By the way, when I’m railing against God and nature, and my mom quotes that freaking footprints in the sand drivel at me, I tell her to find that in the Bible and then maybe I’ll buy it. The same for that “shuts a door and opens a window” garbage.

Note: if anyone mysteriously carries me through sand, or opens windows while doors are shutting of their own accord, I’m going to think it’s the ghosts. Again.

So, The Four Agreements . It’s this book, you see, that the top layer of it makes sense when you read it, and that is that you make these four agreements (duh!) with yourself, and they are: be impeccable with your word; don’t take anything personally; don’t make assumptions; and always do your best.

Of course, since it’s a whole book and not a slogan on a matchbook cover, there’s a whole lot more to it than that. Lots of explaining and shit. And philosophy and mysticism. And I think rattlesnakes might be mentioned in there, too, and if they are not, I think they should be.

The top layer, those four agreements, that makes sense. I can do that. Right? But how? That’s where the other layers of the book come in.

The first time I read it, none of those parts – how you make this happen - made sense. It went right over my head, and I reviled my inability to process abstract thought. If I can’t kick it, knock on it, or spit into it, it might not exist.

BUT THE SECOND TIME…it was spooky. All of a sudden, all the woo-woo talk made sense, and **poof!** the philosophicalogical part of it sunk in, and as if I had downloaded a friendly do-gooding computer virus, my brain was reformatted, and that’s why I don’t hate my stepfather and have pushed neither he nor my ex-husband down a flight of stairs, or had a nervous breakdown relating to my ex’s shenanigans. It’s a book that basically teaches you to shrug and say “whatever” instead of driving yourself crazy. er.

Since we’re speaking of such lofty topics as mysticism, I want to share with you the inspirational words on my February calendar page:


The lack of punctuation: endearing or maddening. You decide.

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