Tuesday, March 17, 2015

“Someday” in Jane’s Domain

Today I was in a caffeine-fueled mindset that I had to completely refresh and re-organize my home from top to bottom.  

It was a lofty goal that was destined to fail. Particularly since I intended to get the entire main floor finished in one day.


Instead, I managed to get a few decorative items hung in the living room, dining room and hallway. I watered all the plants and then shuffled them around between the kitchen, dining room and living room. But after all that schlepping, I was too weary to start in on the spice cabinet.

So…two check marks on a legal-sized page filled with “To Do’s”? 

Epic fail!

But see what happens when you throw a little sunshine and warmer temperatures my way? I get all giddy and think that this is the year I will finally see my entire home cleaned, organized and de-cluttered – all at the same time. 

Now, don’t get me wrong. It’s not like I’m afraid to have unexpected guests show up or anything. No one is forced to sidestep a big mountain of garbage just to make it through the front door.

And, while there are many areas of my home that are well-organized, including drawers and cabinets that are all labeled and shelf-papered, there are definitely hidey-holes filled with junk and things that I need to go through “someday” and organize.

My mistake early on was thinking that “someday” I would have a garage sale to sell the things that I can’t use here, but are too nice to toss.   I envisioned raking in big bucks while sadly saying goodbye to some of the valuable possessions I’ve had for years.

Yeah, right.  The last time I participated in a garage sale, I think my net profit was approximately 12 bucks.

Consequently, there is not a great deal of motivation to work on the garage sale idea.

Every month, I get one of those charity solicitations asking for gently used clothing, shoes, and household items. And every month I save that postcard thinking that I’ll gather together a nice pile of donations for the charity.

Never happens.  Instead, I have boxes and bags of stuff that are supposed to be donated, but have been stashed in another one of my hidey holes. I swear, if that Hoarders show was still airing new episodes, they might want to make a house call.

They would come in expecting to climb a mountain of trash upon entry, but they wouldn’t encounter any. At first, they would think they had the wrong address. But ask them to step foot in my furnace room-slash-storage area, and they would be appalled.

The place started out somewhat organized after we moved in. But it’s where all my holiday decorations, wrapping paper and party supplies are stored. And since we’ve had a bunch of holidays, gift-giving occasions and parties since we moved here, the place has become a wreck.

But every time I step foot in the room and contemplate tackling the mess, I close my eyes and shudder, and then walk out and slam the door.

And then I pray that our furnace and water heater remain in good working condition.

I don’t think my plan of organizing my home from top to bottom is unreasonable. But I may need to lower my expectations on what I can get done in one day.

Baby steps, I guess. Besides, I’m pretty happy with myself that I’ve finally managed to hang the star-shaped mirror that has been leaning against the wall in the living room for nearly 2-1/2 years.

And I think my father-in-law will be proud of me. He has been wondering why it has been leaning against the wall when we have many empty walls on which to hang stuff. And we are not lacking in either hammers or nails.

A couple months ago, Vince and I had some car sketches framed. He’s a car guy and displaying them in our home is not unreasonable. The problem was, we didn’t know where to hang them. We didn’t want to hang all four pictures in our lower level and turn the place into a man cave.

And our living room space doesn’t work either. I’d suggest we hang them in the garage, but we spent too much having them framed, so that idea is out.

Meanwhile, the pictures have been leaning against the wall in our entry area since before Christmas.

But the other day, my sister-in-law and niece helped me find a spot in the lower level to hang two of them.  

Now, we just need to do the whole measuring and marking thing and get them hung up. Or the Jane version of that process, which is the eyeballing and hammering thing. (Most of the time, that works surprisingly well – as long as no one walks in carrying a measuring tape.)

So, today the star-shaped mirror. Tomorrow, the car pictures. And I may even have a little time left over to get to the spice cabinet.

And “someday”? Yeah, someday I’m gonna get to that furnace room-slash-storage area. I’m a little worried about the expiration date on the furnace and water heater. 

(And, no, I am NOT going to show you any "before" pictures!)

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Confessions of a Half-Deaf Blonde and The Rustin Story

Do you remember when you were a kid and played the Telephone Game where you’d whisper something to the person next to you and they would whisper it to the next person and it would go on down the line until it reached the last person who had to repeat the message out loud?

Hilarity ensued because usually the message spoken had very little in common with what the originator whispered in the first place.

Yeah, life is sometimes like that with me.

Why? Well, because I’m half deaf. 

(The proper response here is, “WHAT?!”  Yeah, ha ha. Stop it! I’ve heard it before.)

But I’ve been 100% deaf in my left ear since I was about four and contracted German Measles, which damaged my auditory nerve. For years, I’d just tell people I was “half deaf.” Very often, they thought it was the beginning of a joke. Or that I was simply hard of hearing and would continue to talk quietly into my left ear, which was a lesson in futility.

Being deaf in my left ear hasn’t really hindered me in life all that much, other than I get a little surly if I’m stuck on the far right hand side of a table in a noisy restaurant, which means I pretty much can’t hear anybody throughout the meal.

There aren’t too many outward signs that I can’t hear, other than I tilt my good ear toward the speaker’s voice to try to hear better. But I don’t talk loudly the way some hard-of-hearing people sometimes do. And I tend to enunciate pretty carefully. Perhaps I’m trying to help out other half-deaf people or something.

Oh, and sitting in the passenger seat of a convertible means that, (a) conversation is pointless, and (b) my hair will look Bride-of-Frankenstein-ish by the time we arrive at our destination. The second thing really has nothing whatsoever to do with being half-deaf, but I just thought I’d throw it in there.

Other than those few things, though, I haven’t had too many problems with my faulty hearing.

But I realized the other day that I fill in the blanks a lot. Sometimes I’m a half step behind everyone else when the punchline is told and I fake the laugh – at least until I can fill in the blanks to the words I missed and I finally “get” it.

Probably over the years, people have attributed my slow response to being blonde.

Ah well. The price you pay. It’s not like I’m going to wear a sign.

The other day we were at the funeral home for Mrs. B. Friends and family were greeting each other and catching up, or shedding a few tears, or watching the slideshow Nick and Frankie had prepared where the images of Mrs. B's life flashed by on the screen.

One good friend, let’s call him Mikey P, walked into the room. He sees Joe for the first time and walks up to greet him. Joe, being on the verge of tears half the morning, hugged Mikey P tightly and they said a few words to each other.

When Mikey P released him and stepped back, he looked at us and then looked around the room, arranged a confused look on his face and said, “Oh, I’m sorry, I thought this was the Rabinowitz funeral…I’m in the wrong place!”

And we all burst out laughing.

We had all been feeling sad and his comment immediately released the tension and allowed us to laugh. It was perfect.  Plus, Mrs. B would have loved it.

But here is where I start making stuff up. I have no idea what name Mikey P used. I just filled in the blank with “Rabinowitz.”

Fortunately, with that kind of example, the name itself didn’t matter.

But it sometimes makes retelling stories a little difficult for me. I hear parts of stories and I just make up the rest.

People will listen to me tell a story and think, Huh? I was standing right there – that’s not what he said at all!

So when I was at their house working on the eulogy for Mrs. B the other day, my friends Nick and Beth started talking about some guy named “Rustin.” I was completely baffled. First of all… “Rustin”? What kind of name is that? I figured I must have misheard them.

Fortunately, I’ve learned in life that it sometimes pays to ask that stories be repeated. The parts of the story that I do hear sounds too good to play the fill-in-the-blanks game, so I asked them to start over again for me.

In this case, they did.

It turns out that when Nick posted on Facebook that his mother had passed, he and/or Beth accidentally tagged some guy named “Rustin.”  Now, Rustin is not a Facebook friend. They don’t even know the guy. And they weren’t exactly sure how he got tagged.

What’s worse is that they didn’t know how to un-tag him.

Because Mrs. B was so well loved, there were many responses from friends sending thoughts, wishes and prayers to the family over her loss.  Many were sweet memories that evoked tears as well as smiles.

But we laughed knowing that Rustin was seeing every one of those comments and “likes.” Oh, how that probably confused him. 

Rustin's Facebook cover photo depicts five guys in a shooting stance, leveling guns or rifles at a target. And there he is, all the way out in Washington State getting dinged every time someone in Ohio sent condolences for a little, old Italian lady he never met.

After nearly a hundred comments on Nick’s post, Rustin finally chimed in and said he was sorry for their loss. And, for some reason, that cracked us up.  What a great thing – to give us a chance to laugh and to make our sadness recede for just a moment.  Beth typed in a “thank you” for his condolences, which made us laugh even harder. And when Nick suggested that maybe Rustin and his friends could give Mrs. B a 21-gun salute, we were practically rolling on the floor.

Too funny.

So, Rustin? Even though you'll never see this, we want to thank you for the laughs, man.  It helped get us through some sad moments.

And sometimes – just sometimes – it’s a good thing to hear the real story and not try to play the Telephone Game to cover my half-deafness.

“WHAT?!” (Ha ha. Stop it!)