Busy Brain

For the life of me, I cannot stay on task. It is one of my worst qualities and the piece of my personal ‘puzzle’ that I fight every day to overcome. Many times, with only marginal success. My brain is always too busy getting ahead of itself to stay In The Moment.

A few months ago I was mentally sitting at my desk beginning my workday, but I was physically pulling into my parking space at work. I exited my Trusty Honda and bee-lined across the icy parking lot toward the front door of the building. One second I was striding to the front door full of purpose. The next I was flat on my back looking up at the sky.

Brought back to the moment by the impact of the cold cement on my back (and backside), I began laughing at myself. In a most ungraceful manner, I scrambled to my feet.

None of my co-workers were in sight…thank goodness. I’m not sure I would have lived it down any time soon. Not counting the blow to my pride, I was uninjured. I righted my clothing and began cleaning up my mess. My hairspray rolled to a stop several feet to my right and the apple from my lunch over to my left. My workbag was flung into the air sending papers flying around me like paper airplanes. The contents of my purse lay exposed to the great outdoors. Makeup, wallet, checkbook, etc.

The worst part? My only can of Diet Coke was emptied into the parking lot with my belongings. Concrete does NOT need caffeine in the morning, but I sure do! The second worst part? Inspired by my Perfect hair day, I took the time to apply make-up, put on a jaunty knee-length skirt and a smart pair of heels. I was feeling every inch the competent, career woman. It was hard to carry that through with my Perfect outfit baptized in Diet Coke.

Another day. Another lesson. I had been too busy worrying about the ‘next’ thing to negotiate the Cleveland, Ohio winter weather that stood between that door and me. I had gotten ahead of myself. Again. I hadn’t even noticed the clear blue sky, until I was flat on my back looking up at it. And my commute time is almost thirty minutes! It was a little frightening to think of my brain wandering, while I was driving in the car for that chunk of time. On autopilot–not taking in my surroundings.

It would be impossible to count the times I have gotten into trouble, because my Busy Brain is not in the same place as my body. But I do believe that cement might have knocked some sense into me. At the very least, it knocked me into the present moment that day.

I won’t say the experience changed me, or that I never lose focus. But I am aware of this shortcoming in myself and I do work hard at minimizing its effect on my life.

Practice makes Perfect

This past weekend, I had the pleasure of being transported about town by my new Personal Chauffeur. If only it was as glamorous as it sounds. A limo, Movie Star sunglasses…

My new ‘driver’ is my teenage daughter who last month got her ‘temps.’ The vehicle is my 11-year-old Honda, equipped with manual windows and door locks. When I bought it last fall, it was the first time my children had ever used a handle to roll down a car window. They had great fun with the novelty of it. This is NOT a deluxe vehicle, but it does run surprisingly well for an older car.

Our new family bonding activity is for my son, Rocky the family dog and I to pile into the ‘trusty’ Honda to be carted around. We sometimes manufacture ‘errands’ to run and places to go. After all, my little girl must ‘practice.’ It would be better if the practice could happen without all of our lives hanging in the balance. But we do want her to be a Perfect driver. So we drive around a lot.

Rocky expects to go with us, because he likes to ride in the car. He barrels through the front door and takes his place in the backseat, before anybody realizes what has happened. This is not an intelligent dog. I know this because I have had intelligent dogs. Though he is a wonderful companion to the family, he has failed every ‘doggie intelligence’ test ever administered to him.

Ever heard of the blanket test? A small blanket is tossed over a dog. Smart canines will be out from under the blanket in a heartbeat. Rocky walks forward, until his head makes contact with (slams into) the ground. He then backs up, spins around and generally gets so tangled that he knocks himself to the floor. His tail thumps wildly under the blanket because he is such a happy dog. We feel sorry for him, so we free him of the blanket and give him lots of treats.

In his virgin car ride with my daughter, he looked at her behind the wheel and at me riding shotgun. Then  back and forth a few more times. As we began to ease backward out of the driveway, his whole body began to tremble with terror and his eyes were wide as saucers–I was seeing more of the whites of his eyes than anything else. He quickly learned to wedge his 85 lb. body onto the floor between the front and back seat to secure his position in the vehicle, while burying his head to hide his eyes. It is the closest thing I have ever seen to a ‘doggie tornado drill.’

It annoys my daughter to no end that we allow the dog in the car. But he really does like to go for rides, even when she is driving. She also isn’t keen on listening to her little brother and I snicker, as we try to stifle our giggling at the dog’s antics. I remind her that she shouldn’t complain, as I am mostly willing to instruct her AND let her drive the car that gets me to work. My only car.

To my daughter’s credit, she has done very well behind the wheel. Just one tiny love tap with a metal pole so far…And really, it is only the dog that isn’t keen on her driving. And he isn’t very smart. Or is he?

Shades of Gray

Last week, I signed a formal Separation Agreement. A tree was lost in getting to the final document; in drafts, court filings, and copies of documentation passed back and forth between all parties.

For those unfamiliar with the process, the SA (as it is commonly called) is filed in court after the spouses come to agreement and then sign it. After being reviewed and approved by the judge, it becomes the final divorce settlement.

The tricky thing about the SA is that there has to be AGREEMENT between the divorcing parties on ALL issues–big and small. During the negotiation process, I often thought that if we AGREED we probably wouldn’t be getting divorced!

But now we are agreed. Or at least we have compromised (given in?) enough to sign the SA, thus avoiding a trial in court. This will now turn into a Dissolution of Marriage, commonly called a ‘disillusionment’. Which is somewhat funny on a good day, because I am certainly disillusioned after the last few years! Thankfully, I am not delusional.

Marriages begin on a specific day that is forevermore celebrated as ‘the anniversary,’ but the ending of a marriage is not always so clearly defined. Most unions begin with an exchange of vows in a religious or civil ceremony and some sort of formal promise of “til death do us part.” The promises take only a few minutes to make, but many years to get out of.

When does a marriage officially end? In some ways, never. If there are children born of the union, the ‘ex’ is in your life for good. It isn’t like trading in a car, where you dump off the old car and roll out with a shiny new one, never to set eyes on the old car again. There will always be a relationship; it just changes with a divorce.

If you ask me, when the promises are broken and the parties’ no longer share a life together, there is sort of an informal divorce. When I filed for divorce almost 18 months ago and moved into my own home, I was essentially ‘out’ of the marriage. My decision was made. I did not have a final divorce decree. But I certainly didn’t think of myself has ‘married.’

For me, winding my way through the divorce proceedings was just paperwork. For a girl who had never been in a courtroom until recently, I even good at court dates once I got the hang of them. The attorney’s go into court with the magistrate and haggle it all out. My function was to sit in the hallway looking pretty.

In preparation for my last court appearance, I stopped at the bookstore to pick up a copy of a book I had been wanting to read. After all, I wasn’t at home doing chores, there were no children present, and I wasn’t at work. I considered it a Perfect opportunity to relax and have some quiet time. I’m fairly certain ‘my better half’ wanted to tear his hair out—I might have heard his voice raised in argument somewhere in the vicinity a time or two…As for me, It isn’t often I get ‘free time,’ so I might as well have been reading at the beach. I even brought along a snack.

I have been living as a single woman for almost a year and a half. Longer if you count the time I was a ‘wife’ living with a ‘husband’ who was in such a state of intense confusion that he fell far short of being an attentive husband. Today, I am still a ‘wife’ in the gray area of the legal world. Pending the filing of the SA and a judge’s approval, I will no longer be a wife. There will be a paper that says so.

Maybe I’ll plant a tree to mark the day I get that paper?

My Name is Amy and I am a Blogger

By way of introduction, it seemed appropriate to write a short Bio using words. No way I’m doing ‘my life in pictures.’  I no longer identify with pictures of myself because the stranger staring back at me surely cannot be ME. I always want to Photo shop (or edit) her, so that that we look alike.

As I reflected back on my life, I decided to skip the Bio entirely. Why plod through the past when I am moving forward? It made more sense to go ahead and jump into blogging…

Then I realized that blogs are PUBLIC. (Gasp…) There is a possibility that many, many people could read my blog. In fact, that would be the whole point of writing a blog! To reach people, to connect with people and to build a readership.

After overcoming the extreme photo trauma, I STILL had a blog to get started on.  A blog that could reach an unlimited amount of readers. More sleep lost as I spent time (8 weeks to be exact) playing around with fonts, templates, hosting sites, reading books and conducting research in an effort to learn more about blogging. I was so immersed in the possibilities, that I confused myself into inaction.

The irony is not lost on me. I spent two months trying to come up with the Perfect presentation for the Perfect blog. I finally realized that if I didn’t lose the Perfectionism, the blog was never going to get written. It is often said that Perfect is the enemy of good.

For sure, I am heading into new and unfamiliar territory—publicly—with no idea where it will lead. And I will be learning as I go along. I’m not a Perfect writer, but I do enjoy it. Please join me on my less than Perfect journey as I blog about everyday life…