Sorry I’ve been incommunicado…
*author’s note: Dude, I spelled that right on my first try! No shit.*
…but the winds of change have been flowing through the House of Bethie, and I’ve been scrambling to set everything back in its place. Maybe I shouldn’t have left the windows open. The papers that once sat in structured order on the desk of life now sit in a chaotic tangle on the floor.
Of course that’s just a metaphor. The actual papers of my real life have ALWAYS been a chaotic tangle, on the floor…and desk…and cupboards; pretty much every available surface, and some that really weren’t technically available, but I think you get what I was going for.
Things are changing. Things have changed.
We lost someone. My mother-in-law pointed out that makes it sounds like he’s simply misplaced. I never thought about it before, but she’s right, so I’ll rephrase. A man has died.
I hate death, folks. I hate it. I hate it with every fiber of my being. “It’s all part of life!” Phooey. “It’s just the way things are.” Hogwash. “Everything must die.” Who says? Just because that’s the way it’s been so far doesn’t mean that’s how it *must* be. It simply means that we haven’t thought and theorized and invented hard enough yet.
When Death shows up at my door, I’ll pretend to be the housekeeper and call through the peephole to tell him to return when the boss is home.
Okay, little hissy fit over. I know that’s the way of things. Jeez, could you imagine what the world would be like if no one died? We think we’ve got problems now…yikes! And I’d only really try and trick Death for the giggles it would give me if it actually worked. I get that death happens, I get it has to happen. Doesn’t mean I have to like it.
It’s always been difficult for me to handle, another one of those things I always assumed I’d be better at when I grew up, like cleaning the house and not eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for breakfast. I’m thirty-seven, and none of these adult things have happened. Maybe I’m just destined to Peter Pan my way through life.
I suppose there could be worse fates. I could “Accountant” my way through life. *shudder* I would literally shrivel up from the boredom.
“So who died, Bethie?”
We permanently misplaced my father-in-law.
Now, I’m not one of those people who likes to do in-law jokes, or rushes to tell my sisters, “Can you believe what they do in this family!?” as soon as I get off the phone with them. I wait at least five minutes.
Kidding. I love my in-laws. They’ve always been the most supportive people on the planet to me. I’m a weird person, and they’ve never cared. In fact, if the pun war emails with my father-in-law were any indication, he was just as weird.
…get that look off your face right now. Don’t act like you’re above a good pun war. It’s safe to admit here. You’re among friends.
Our relationship was so much more than jokes. He supported me in my crazy endeavors. I loved my own dad, we were thick as thieves. But when I’d tell my dad I was going to do something like knock out the sink and put in a new counter made from an old door and flooring tiles, he’d tell me why my ideas wouldn’t work. My father-in-law, however, would say, “Okay, kid, this is what you’ll need to build a support bracket. Got any plant hangers you can take off the wall?”
I always thought it was a shame that we were separated by an entire country. He lived on the wrong coast. Had he lived closer, oh the antics we could have gotten into! My poor guy would have come home from work to find the walls knocked down to put in custom cabinetry, or the backyard turned into a Rube Goldberg apple picking contraption.
Or maybe he could have taught me some competition roller skating moves, or how to win at a hill climb, or how to craft an award-winning ad campaign, or what it took to become a master wood craftsman. He did all those things, and so many more. You know the “most interesting man in the world” Dos Equis commercials? Bitch, please. I knew the real most interesting man in the world, and he liked scotch.
My father-in-law was an amazing man that lived an incredible life. He did not die young, and he had enough experiences to fill several memoirs. Yes, he died…but before that, he really and truly lived.
And yet, I still want more.
What can I say? I’m greedy.
It hasn’t all been bad change here. As life so often is, it’s been a mixed bag. Two of the teens did something shocking: They got jobs.
I know, right?! Of their own volition, too! I’m so proud.
There’s a small store here in town that sells smokes, beer, and grocery reclaim items. A “dent ‘n bent”…’n vices. The owner bought out a different store, with no vices only dents, and the town was not pleased. I myself got many deeply discounted groceries from there, and was very reticent to see my favorite shady purveyor of questionably fresh products be replaced with an unknown.
It’s turned out just fine. The current owner has been spending a lot of time and effort in sprucing the place up. It’s still fairly seedy, don’t get me wrong. The man has a lot of hard work before he’ll make it reputable. But I must say, I believe his efforts are good for the town.
And he’s replaced the lighting in the store, so now it has some, and added some flooring where the tiles had long since been chipped away. He built a new, brightly lit register, and plays very cool music to drown out the droning whine of the off-kilter ceiling fans.
One of the best things about him taking over, though, is that he only employs teenagers.
Look, I get that he does that because it’s cheaper for him. He employs five kids on rotating part-time schedules. I get that he does this so he doesn’t have to offer insurance, or benefits, or deal with an adult who would ask for more than minimum wage. It’s in his best interest to hire young, eager, stupid kids.
But you know what? I don’t really care. It’s in MY kids’ best interest to get paid to do something with their free time. That’s five more teenagers who WILL have something to do in the evenings in this no-horse town. It gives them something to do instead of hanging out and getting bored enough to either cause trouble or do drugs…or both.
Besides, it gives the kids some good learning experiences. They have a job with other newbs, where they’re all being taught how to be employees together. The boys have had a few hard days already, but they came out laughing instead of feeling defeated, because they were able to joke around with the other kids who were in the shit with them.
I’m proud of my boys. It takes courage and drive to put the gaming controller down and pick up a broom for someone else. And I think they’re both proud of themselves for it, too. They seem to be walking a bit taller, and they get a look of satisfaction when they say, “Okay, it’s time to go to work.”
Good. That’s good. Right? That’s what they’re supposed to do. They’re supposed to want to spread their wings and test the waters and start to be adults. How else will they be prepared to handle car payments and tuition and spiffy duds for their climb up the corporate ladder and five o’clock shadow and rent that leads to mortgages and wedding days and baby carriages and the new roof the damn tree branch fell through and….
>>>I DON’T WANT THEM TO GROW UP!!!<<< They’re my babies and they aren’t allowed to ever have mortgages and roofs and spiffy corporate suits!! They are supposed to stay here and need me and be my buddies forever and ever and ever!!!!
Okay, I’m fine. Got that out, and now I’m better. I *do* want them to grow up. I want them to grow up and be capable and live amazing lives. I think just having two at once do it is a bit much. Can I tell one of them to wait a sec?
The youngest teenager, the one who is not legally employable yet, has been picking up the slack around the house. See, I do the bulk of things here. But I do have chores for the boys. I’ll ask one to do laundry, one to wash up the dishes, one to sort recycling, etc. However, with the other two working and going to school, I had a talk with the third member of the Three Musketeers about more of that responsibility now falling on his shoulders. I thought he’d balk. He did not. In fact, I think he’s getting almost as much pride in doing the few extra things here and there as the others are in having jobs.
We’ll see if he keeps that shine when paychecks start rolling in for the other two. Methinks it may be time to figure out if I can scrape out any type of allowance for him.
Think I can still pay him in cuddles like I did when he was little?
So like I said, the winds of change have been blowing up a sandstorm around here. One life has ended, two more have just taken great leaps to really begin.
It’s life. It’s just life. And while the ride is exhilarating in it’s unpredictability, sometimes it just takes me a bit of time to find the balance.
Thus concludes the Morning Musing for Thursday, May 21, 2015. I think I need to put some music on and make a contraption today. Something. Anything. I just need to tear apart some old junk and use it to make something beautiful. Now, if that’s not poetic, I don’t know what is.