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Patching up

Posted Oct 22 2012 12:00am

Okay, it’s Monday. I had a nap yesterday, then ended up staying up later than I should have, watching television that is NOT improving my life ;)

Oh, well. So it goes. I did actually get some good things done yesterday. I got the biggest things handled that I needed to – and I finished some things that I was putting off, and I was going to put off till next weekend. Some other things I forgot, but that’s okay.

I woke up yesterday feeling really out of it and wasted almost hungover, except I wasn’t partying the night before. I actually got in bed at a decent hour on Saturday night. But I woke up wiped out with a sick headache. In the morning, I read for a bit and wrote a little bit and I tried to do some studying, but that was a lost cause. So I went for a walk in the woods, and that helped me at least get some exercise and move the “sludge” through my system. I also had a chance to stop and chat with a couple who were hiking into the woods in search of a geocache. I got to tell them a bit about the place and give them better directions than the maps posted at the head of the trail did.

That was one of the high points in my morning, actually. They were an older couple and they looked a bit intimidated by the situation, but I managed to chill them out and get them laughing and looking forward to their hike, instead of being intimidated and confused. Where’s the fun in dreading you hike? You should enjoy it! And I helped them get on their way.

When I got home, I was going to do some errands run to the hardware store to pick up a new rake, glue to fix my boots, and a bolt for my pole saw, so I can trim my trees. I had a list with me, but some of the items I decided not to get because they’re too expensive, and I forgot to put the rake on the list. The rake was the main reason I was going, because my yard is just too big for the standard-issue width rakes it takes me forever to gather all the leaves when I rake. I have a leaf blower, which I use sometimes, but a rake is actually quicker for me. And on top of it, I don’t have to deal with the noise, which gets to be way too much for me.

This time of year tends to really push me, anyway, because there’s so much work to do AND all the leaf blowers are going, which is incredibly hard on my ears and my head. Come to think of it, that might be part of why I have such a headache, these days all the leaf blowers constantly going. Oh well, so it goes, this time of year. All I can do is make sure I get enough rest so I’m less sensitive, and wear some ear protection when I am working. But geez – the constant whine of them in the background, everywhere I go, is too much. It makes me yearn for a time like on that t.v. show Revolution, when all the electricity goes out all over the planet. Just kidding almost.

Anyway, I got to the hardware store and I remembered to take the bottles and cans I’ve been meaning to return. I also managed to take the bag of canned goods that I’ve been meaning to donate to the food pantry. There’s a collection bin in the store where I return my bottles and cans. So, I had three things I needed to do:

And I managed to do them all, even running late and being just under the wire with when the hardware store closed. I was pretty smart about the hardware store (my shopping list inconsistencies aside) – I actually took the pole saw with me, because I had no idea the exact size of the bolt I needed, and I couldn’t afford to make trips back and forth. It worked out, too between me and the fellow who was stationed in the hardware section, we found the right size, and I picked up five bolts and five washers. Then I got my glue and took off for the grocery store across the way with my bag of bottles to return and a sack of canned goods to donate.

The bottle return was busy and loud, and people were impatient and pushy. I was already foggy, and it kind of threw me into a tailspin – between the noise of the plastic being crushed and this one individual standing right behind me, rushing me to get done with what I was doing. I was just trying to get the bottles in the machine, which is harder to do than you’d think, when you’re struggling with all the noise and being rushed by some a’hole who thinks they’re more important than you. Geez. You know, thinking back, that 5 minutes in the bottle return was one of the hardest episodes of my day. I was getting seriously tweaked by this individual, and if I’d been less focused on what I was doing, I probably would have gone off on them and ended up in a fistfight. I’ve been feeling increasingly combative lately, probably due in part to the sudden jump in the pain I’ve been feeling. But I was so busy just trying to deal with the uncooperative friggin’ recycling machine, I had to stay calm and not get aggressive and confrontational with this individual, that I just put my head down and pushed through it, and got it all done without a fight with this person.

Then, as I was getting into line to cash in my slip for the bottle return, I realized I had forgotten my rake – the whole reason I’d come out in the first place. I was so caught up in the drama about the bolt and the glue at the hardware store, that I completely forgot my rake. Because it wasn’t on my list. I had just expected to remember it. Yeah, right – will I ever learn? And part of me felt like, “Screw it, forget about the rake that’s embarrassing the guy asked you five times if there was anything else you needed, and you swore up one side and down that you were all set – and now you have to go back like an idiot to get the #1 thing you went to the store to get in the first place?”

But getting the rake was more important than looking good, so after I returned the bottles and cans and dropped off the canned goods, with 10 minutes to spare, I walked back to the hardware store (which is in the same shopping center as the store). I swallowed my pride and found someone to point me to the rakes, and I sorted through the bunch of them looking for the biggest, widest one they had.

I combed through the collection and thought I found a really good one, then checked out and headed out to my car. The store was closing in 3 minutes. But as I was situating the rake in my vehicle, I noticed that the handle was damaged a big chunk of it was cracked off, near the end.

My heart really sank, because the first thing that came to mind was, “Okay, not only are you an idiot for forgetting that you needed a rake, but you also picked one out that is broken. Any fool can see that it’s eff’ed up, but you pick it out like you’ve got good sense. What is wrong with you?!” And the thought crossed my mind to just take it home and deal with it. Or wait till another time when I wouldn’t have to look the folks in the store in the eye and show them how dense I was yet again. If I waited a few days to bring it back, they might forget me completely and not remember that I was the idiot who swore they didn’t need anything only to return 10 minutes later.

But then I thought about the coming week, and I thought about the rest of my day, and I thought about what it would take for me to do that I would have to keep the receipt and remember where it was, in a few days’ time. I would have to make time in my crazy schedule to come back when the store was open. I would have to negotiate some sort of social interaction to convince the folks at the store that the rake was already defective when I got it. And it would be a huge friggin’ mess that might never get handled. And I’d probably end up keeping defective equipment, which would be a constant reminder of how I couldn’t manage to simply buy a rake on a Sunday afternoon.

So, again, I swallowed my pride and went back inside the store, obviously holding up the folks who were hanging around the entrance waiting to close up. I showed the rake to the cashier, and I headed back to pick out another one. I knew they were closing up, but I made sure I got one that had a good handle, and in another few minutes, I was on my way back home to rake.

All this time, my head was full of all kinds of frustration and incrimination about how stupid I was, and how dense I was really out of proportion to the situation. It was pretty noisy in my head, and the noise wasn’t good. I could have saved myself a ton of hassle and frustration and discomfort, if I’d been able to quiet it down and I probably would have been able to see that the first rake I’d picked out was defective, if I hadn’t let the pushy individual in the bottle return get me all wound up. But thinking was not my strong suit, yesterday. So, I just drove home and got to work, moving leaves. It was getting pretty dark, by the time I finished – and I still have a lot of raking to do. But at least I made some progress. At least I managed to move some leaves. And I got my rake. And my bolt. And I fixed my pole saw, so now I can trim my trees, which is good. I also got the glue, so I can fix my favorite boots. And on top of it, I also patched up some of my spouse’s clothing. I can cut and sew a denim patch on a pair of old jeans like nobody’s business – and if I say so myself, it looks pretty cool, by the time I’m done with it. Both of my parents are skilled at patching things, so I must have gotten it from them – plus, I hate to throw things away and I love to repair stuff so it’s good for years and years.

And that’s the thing – so many times in the course of my days, I say and do things that just aren’t right. Especially when I am tired and/or I’m struggling with my sensitivities, I get a little bent and screw up things that you’d think would be easy for me. And I have to regroup. Figure something out. Make up for oversights and lost time and all the other stuff you’d think would come easy. People say I “shouldn’t” have any problems with stuff  ’cause I’m “so smart”, but it’s not intelligence that’s the problem it’s logistics. Figuring out how to do things in which order, and figuring out how to make right the things that go wrong, whether they’re little details like putting a bottle into a recycling machine while someone is breathing down your neck, or missing a broken spot on a rake handle. It’s all the extra stuff… like sorting through all the input, managing the stimuli, dealing with the pain… yeah, the pain I’ll talk about that later, ’cause it’s back, in a very big way, now. Intelligence is the least of my worries basic, dense, step-by-step stuff is the problem.

But I do manage to figure out how to deal especially in the moment, which is when I have to do it. I don’t know if I’m going to remember things later, or if I’m even going to make time to do them, so I have to do things NOW. In the moment. When they come up. And I have to acquire more skill at putting aside all the chatter and drama that’s clattering around in my head, just so I can get stuff done.

I’m actually doing better at that than I did in the past. And despite all my internal drama yesterday, with the pain and discomfort and frustration, I did achieve something I wasn’t going to get done maybe till next week buy my rake, fix my pole saw, get glue for my boots, return the bottles and cans, and drop off the food for the food pantry. I didn’t flip out and assault the individual who was breathing down my neck at the bottle return. I didn’t lose my resolve and run away from that rake return with my tail between my legs. I handled things in the moment, and I handled them well, despite my internal experience.

That’s what I need to focus on the final, end result. Not the things I experienced on my way there.

Yesterday felt really shitty, for the most part. But the end result was rockin’. And that’s the thing that really matters. For all the pain and awkwardness, sometimes I really do rock.

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