Spilled Milk

I'm pretty sure I might be seven years old.  Who else X's their calendars?

I’m pretty sure I might be seven years old. Who else X’s their calendars?

Last night, I fell asleep as a typical thirty-one year old.  Pillow talk focused on our upcoming move.  We talked about how long we think closing on the condo will take, getting home owners insurance and crossing things off our mental to do list.  As we both settled in, I watched the ceiling fan, finding the whirring noise of the blades soothing.  But while my body was at rest, my mind wasn’t.  I couldn’t help but think about the days ahead.  There was still so much to do. 

The last four months have been anything but easy.  Everything from the apartment, to storage, to work has been throwing curve balls left and right.  As soon as I think we have gotten past the last bump in this latest journey of life, something else comes up. 

Our apartment experience has been a hot mess.  We didn’t have hot water for the first 39 days we lived there, and then, came the new roommates – mice. 

I don’t do well with mice.  While I could probably kill them with one stomp of my foot, I find myself yelping and running out of the room at the mere sight of one.  After a lot of nagging emails, our apartment company finally dropped off glue traps.  We placed them in the prime spots and waited. 

The next morning, I walked into the kitchen to see a mouse wiggling on a glue trap so violently that it was moving the trap.  My legs instantly turned to jelly, and I could feel the blood drain from my face.  A yelp escaped from my mouth as I ran out of the room.

Seconds later, I was hunched over, hands on my knees to calm myself, wondering if I woke Tom with the noise.  It was the final straw for me.  I. Could. Not. Wait. To. Move.

It took the seller a long time to agree on a close date.  When we finally agreed, the process was in speed mode.  We couldn’t wait any longer to schedule movers and to coordinate getting our stuff out of storage if we were going to be out of our apartment by June. 

When we sold the suburban house, we knew storage was a necessity.  I did a lot of research and decided that using PODS was the best.  While it was easy initially, it has been an utter nightmare since.  Their service is terrible, it’s a logistical nightmare and they grossly understated costs.  I was so angry that I wrote a scathing letter to the president of the company.  It got the attention I wanted, and they at least tried to make it right.

The long point I am trying to make is that moving is stressful.  So while last night I fell asleep a thirty-one year old dealing with adult things, this morning I woke up as a fourteen year old.  I straight up Benjamin Buttoned overnight.  That’s right.  I didn’t wake up to gray hair from the stresses of life.  Instead, I woke up with a ginormous, swollen, puffy red zit on my chin. 

I examined the zit on my chin, grimacing as I poked it with my fingers.  I couldn’t even remember the last time I had a zit.

Well shit.  What am I going to do with this thing?

I reacted just like a fourteen year old.  I huffed and puffed pointing it out Tom asking in a whiney voice if he could see it.  And just like I did when I was younger, I dug out concealer and created the best camouflage Almay can make.  It was barely visible when I was done but it didn’t matter.  I knew it was there.

As I sat in traffic this morning during my hour long commute, my mind reflected on life, writing mental stories.  Memories were being written in between the glances in the mirror to self-consciously check on Rudolph’s nose that had formed on my chin.  Yet, I found myself smiling despite this latest (literal) bump in life.  Maybe, I thought, just maybe things are finally starting to go my way – I would have been devastated if that zit was actually a gray hair. 

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This post was a bit like spilled milk today so to refill the glass, I will share with you my three highs for the day. 

Three Highs

  1. The Lumineers Pandora station has been spot on all day creating the perfect soundtrack to life.
  2. I had one of my favorite things for lunch – soup!
  3. We move in exactly one week!
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American Pride

FLagI was six years old the first time I felt an overwhelming feeling of patriotism. I was standing in my elementary school gym, staring at the flag with my right hand over my heart, singing at the top of my lungs.

If tomorrow all the things were gone,
I’d worked for all my life.
And I had to start again,
with just my children and my wife.

I admit I don’t appreciate my freedom like I should. It’s not something I thank God for when I wake up in the morning. Instead, I find myself thanking him for the mundane conveniences in life, like being able to button my favorite jeans with no muffin top or a short commute. I skate through life, a smile on my face, rarely stopping to think about why it’s so great in the first place.

I’d thank my lucky stars,
to be livin’ here today.
‘ Cause the flag still stands for freedom,
and they can’t take that away.

When I do stop and think about it, I realize why it’s so easy to forget. I live in the greatest country – a developed country, a democracy. I’ve grown up with choices. The American dream was in my grasp from the moment I left the womb. I was born with the ability to succeed, if I chose to do so.

And I’m proud to be an American,
where at least I know I’m free.
And I won’t forget the men who died,
who gave that right to me.

A grin spread on my young face as we all approached our favorite verse. I grabbed my best friend, Kayla’s hand, bending my knees in anticipation of what came next.

And I gladly stand up,

In unison, we stood as tall as we could. We stretched our heads to the ceiling, our voices filling the air. We sang louder, and we sang prouder.

next to you and defend her still today.
‘ Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land,
God bless the USA.

The beauty of this country is that we come together in the time of need. Unfortunately, those times seem to be happening more and more often. The internet swirls with banners of breaking news. News that makes my heart sink. News that makes me reevaluate my priorities and hug my loved ones at home. News that makes me ask “Why?”

From the lakes of Minnesota,
to the hills of Tennessee.
Across the plains of Texas,
From sea to shining sea.

I don’t think I’ll ever find the answer to that looming question but what I do know is that I will always find people who care. And just as I was filled with pride as a six year old singing a song, I am filled with the same feeling as an adult.

From Detroit down to Houston,
and New York to L.A.
Well there’s pride in every American heart,
and its time we stand and say.

Last night, Tom and I went to the Blackhawks play-off game. The crowd was a sea of red, filled with loud, excited chatter. I was anxious with anticipation as we waited for the game to start. I sipped my beer making small talk with Tom as I observed the crowd. It was amazing to think just a week earlier the whole country was in a state of turmoil.

That I’m proud to be an American,
where at least I know I’m free.
And I wont forget the men who died,
who gave that right to me.

For every tragedy, there is a nation united, standing as one. And I can’t think of a better place to experience this unity than a Blackhawk’s game. As with most American games, it is preceded with a rendition of the national anthem. The difference being at the United Center it is not the quiet rendition.

A voice boomed through the stadium announcing Jim Cornelison, the same singer who has sang the anthem for the last four years. In that moment, I was transported back to my six year old self but this time I grabbed Tom’s hand. We stood up, anticipating what came next.

And I gladly stand up,
next to you and defend her still today.
‘ Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land,
God bless the USA

As soon as Jim belted the first note, the fans erupted in cheers. The entire stadium was yelling, clapping, singing…and smiling. I looked around observing the pure joy and pride on every single person’s face. The fans were united. The fans were proud. And the fans were loud!

And I’m proud to be and American,
where at least I know I’m free.
And I wont forget the men who died,
who gave that right to me.

“I’m so happy.” I shouted to Tom. “I’m busting with pride. This is amazing!”

And I gladly stand up,
next to you and defend her still today.
‘ Cause there ain’t no doubt I love this land,

For me, pride is an overwhelming feeling that doesn’t happen every day but last night was a reminder. Being proud of our country shouldn’t be a feeling that comes out only in the wake of tragedy. It should be something I feel every day.

God bless the USA.

*Here is a video of the Blackhawks national anthem.