Hang It Anywhere

Part I: Excerpt from my life this previous Sunday I was SOOO mad this morning at a certain individual, who I may have had two children with, that as I drove away from the gas station ( a horn was honking furiously), I MAY have heard some thunks and klonks and then maybe I noticed the pump hose still attached to my van and not at all attached to the station. Uhhh.

I already had tears in my eyes as I walked into the gas station. I told the guy, “I’ve completely wrecked your gas station.”

Blank stare.

“I drove off with the pump, sir. What do we do now?”

Blank stare, no words, furrowed brow. In my complete and utter madness, I clearly had lost all ability to communicate with the natives. My primate self decided to get more specific.

I pointed outside. “Pump #2, you’ll notice there is no hose connected anymore.”

He looked outside. He looked back at me. He sighed. Got paper and pencil and handed it to me.

“Just leave your name and number; sometimes they charge to reconnect.”

“What do I do with the hose?”

“Hang it anywhere.”


Part II: Wednesday

My son was with me when this all went down Sunday. Have I indicated that he is emotionally connected to me? I don’t think I’ve covered that as of yet. Well, when I’m in a bad mood and don’t realize it, I often find that Michael is in a twist (emotional upheaval). When I do happen to notice that Michael is in a bad mood and struggling, more times than not I will realize my own bad mood. At that point, I can either name it or shift it and he immediately calms down.

So how did my madness affect Michael? He was a freaking mess the entire day! He just witnessed his mother doing something that very clearly he knew was not normal because she was mad at his father. So on top of me being maniacal and raging (which is not very maniacal and raging compared to most people), we had to be in this crazy space together all day long.

My boyfriend and his little girl were scheduled to come over and this could change everything. My thought, if I had a rational one, was that maybe I could talk to my boyfriend about this. I know even as I type this that that was a crock of bull. I was so far into the emotions of my former spouse’s stuff, it would have been pretty near impossible to reach me. I divorced that guy for a reason; this being one of them! I even pulled a hose out of a gas station and STILL I was feeling crazy and completely disconnected from my body.

Well, my boyfriend and his little girl came over for the visit, and I warned that guy, after he got here, about what I thought he was walking into. My boyfriend and his little girl left earlier than normal after I asked them to, as kindly as you can ask someone to please leave before I say more hurtful things. It was too much and I was finding it hard to be kind and hospitable. That poor guy got a big apology from me the next day and still will receive more. I was not able to work it out and talk it through. Nope. Not that day.

That night, though, a major shift occurred. I built a roaring fire before dinner, because truly there is nothing like a roaring fire built by an angry woman. Michael, Mason, and I sat down with the talking stick. We have a talking stick in our house where the person holding the stick is the only one allowed to speak. It’s a GREAT tool for those of you who struggle with “devoted communicators.” We don’t use it often, so it is still highly effective.

We had a conversation using the talking stick about how Michael is unkind to Mason and what are some ways we can stop that. I was raging alone; Michael was raging on Mason. It was not OK. The conversation was a really beautiful time together and we really did relax into that moment and become more present. And the truth and honesty was stupendous. At one point, Michael says, “Well, I could just say nice things.” This was in response to the question: “What are some ways to be kind to Mason rather than to say hurtful things?” So Mason grabs the stick and says, “Why don’t you just do that then?”

That’s the million dollar question, isn’t it? “Why don’t you just do that then?”

The gas pump attendant hasn’t called me. I kinda wish he would in an odd sort of way, maybe to validate that I really did pull a pump hose out of a gas station. Although, I know I did without a shadow of a doubt. Michael is all too eager to share our story with others as it does have a nice dramatic feel that invokes reactions of shock.

The three of us are in a better space today. Wednesday. I woke up happy this morning and know that I have moved through my anger and can live another day without the dark cloud over me. I don’t know what I’ll do about the incident that started all of this. That is not for today though. Today is to relish my happiness and to welcome it back. Today is to look my kids in the eyes and say, “I’m sorry I left you for a few days. I’m back.” Today is the day to write this piece so that I don’t forget this part of my story. And today is the day to thank you, dear reader, for reading and being part of my story. Thank you.

And please thank your local gas station attendants for what they do. You never know, the woman before you could have wrecked their entire gas station.


Perfectly Roasted Marshmallows

This is taken from a writing prompt from a Fall Writing Retreat Playdate I attended. The prompt: Think of a place where you feel perfectly content.

In Front of My Fireplace

Winter is not my favorite season. I don’t like to be cold. At all. I will tell you, though, that winter holds my perfect moments. Moments in front of my fireplace.

Mason will curl himself onto my lap, while Michael bops around talking and talking. Michael, with all of his beautiful energy, jumps on the mini-trampoline, he comes over to lean on me at times, and then walks off again, to move his energy all around the living room.

There is no place to go. There is nothing to do. Ahhh, nothing to do except to roast the perfect marshmallow. Mason and I have so much patience. We could sit for hours on end with our marshmallow sticks topped with two marshmallows (we almost never roast just one at a time), just gazing at the fire. Turning the marshmallows this way and that, slowly round and round for the perfect browning color. Michael doesn’t have the patience for such still work. Good. I get to roast his marshmallows for him. Score for me.

It’s the most important and productive nonwork in the moment. My fingers are all sticky, which makes it that much more perfect. At least one of my fingers is dotted with black soot from tending to the fire. And my pyromaniacal tendencies get quenched with hours of log burning fire that I get to start and tend to. It doesn’t get too hot either, except if we can only find very short kabob sticks for roasting. Then we have to strategically place our hands just outside the fireplace in order to get the perfectly roasted marshmallow. Know this, our nonwork act of camp side fire roasting of marshmallows is an art form all its own. This is not your typical set the marshmallow on fire, blow it out, and eat the charred sugar glob. This is watch the marshmallow until it is the perfect golden brown on all sides with the middle cooked just so that it is getting wobbly on the stick. Ahhh, perfection, almost every time.

Mason and I have a new trick now too. He places one sheet of newspaper on the fire and we watch with entranced gazes as the fire WHOOSHES instantly into a tall roaring flame and then back down again. I always say, because this happens now quite often, “This probably isn’t my best Mommy decision, but I love the fire, so as long as we’re all here and safe, it’s OK.” They both smile, knowing my Mommy choices are sometimes questionable.

I’m comforted to complete peace in front of our fire, with Mason curled on my lap and Michael free to roam and talk all he wants. Mason and I are used to being quiet. The fire is also speaking to us. The perfect moment was created by the three of us, plus the fire, plus the kitties, and I will savor it for as long as I can. Which is who-cares-how-long . . . nobody cares. Perfection.