There’s another kind of dirt I’m touching now. It’s every bit as organic as the dirt of my official quest. I’m digging deep and unearthing a powerful soul. This part was always known to me, but was never really seen for long. She’d get brushed away with cynicism or smothered with guilt or buried under embarassment. And well, she’s not really lovely or good or any other kind of sugary spice.
But – –
She’s a fucking badass and I’m beginning to like her.
Nobody is going to give me power. It already exists; I just have to claim it.
In this case it means developing a system, and communicating with and accepting help from others in order to implement it. And in the meantime, culture shifts will hopefully have occurred to help improve how the organization handles things in the future. That doesn’t seem so bad, does it?
Unfortunately, I’ve recently and vehemently expressed the need for such a system and asked my boss for help in developing one. He rejected me with comforting (but truth-slanted) words and a pat on the head. This isn’t some frivolity; this is me being able to be effective at my job. And me doing my job means having a reasonable amount of control over cash. Right now (and for the entire 7 years that I’ve been there) my department has been granted enough power to handle unpaid invoices like housekeeping handles dirty towels: Stack ’em up until we can filter them through the wash. Basically the departments spend (sort of based on their budgets which are always too big because of overestimated revenue) and then We (accounting) figure out a way to pay the bills and then instruct Them (departments) to slow down spending way too late. No control, no security.
Controlling the cash is my job. I’m the Controller. I haven’t been doing that very integral part of my job at all (except to the extent that I let payables go way into arrears and yell at people about spending) for 7 years.
Have I been given the means to perform my job well? Hell no. Does that matter to me anymore? No it doesn’t. I’m going to do my job, or I’m going to get fired trying. There is risk involved with what I’m doing right now. I may very well get fired. If rumor holds true, the controller before me got fired when he quit rolling over. But you know what? If I get fired, that’s OK. I’ll get another stupid job that pisses me off and stresses me out. I do know this: keeping my head down and being obediently ineffective is the wrong thing to do. For the both the organization and for me. I’m not asking for permission anymore.
Happy New Year’s Eve Eve! It’s a time for self-reflection and goal setting. So in that spirit I’d like to confess that I judge people. A lot. And I’d also like to confess that I have no working plan to change it in 2017.
For your entertainment or scorn, I have comprised a list of my favorite people to judge and why:
A co-worker (whom I otherwise like very much) who gets vehemently disgusted by people who hunt or harvest their own animals, BUT consumes a wide assortment of commercially harvested meats on a daily basis
My young neighbor who enjoys country living by driving halfway down her driveway to feed a couple of carrots to the other neighbor’s horse and then drives back (and then complains to me how the horse’s owner doesn’t feed her well enough because she grazes all day – – – Google is your friend, lady; horses graze)
My father who believes every conspiracy theory known to man and squishes them all together into one big extraterrestrial-driven jumble, and will have no conversation absent of this (unless he is making plans about how someone else should be running their lives)
Another co-worker who plops himself at my desk for long periods of time and bitches to me about all the people he’s currently judging
….Holy crap! Wait….my list just totally validated me. I am constantly judging people who are judging others. So that means I’m really nice!
OK no seriously, I’m a bitch. I guess that’s why I like plants and animals so much and why working with them comforts me so. They aren’t people.
Maybe the working plan for 2017 could be something like: Instead of judging myself for judging others, I could actively practice love and maybe it will help crowd out the rest.
Ok for real: I’ll most likely still be the same old irritable bitch by this time next year. And that’s OK because by then I should have grown a lot of Holy Basil to help soothe my judgy heart.
This is not about who’s right or wrong, but a picture painted for you to understand why some of us are crying and protesting and why others of us are quietly navigating our daily lives feeling betrayed by our friends and family. Please read.
It’s been a week since my trees got cut down. After participating in a good old fashioned Flip My Shit Cleanse, I’ve recovered. I didn’t commit murder or arson, so I’m considering that a win. I didn’t even utter many regrettable words. I just threw a shoe, wailed and bawled, and took a bottle of wine (sans glass) to bed. And whatever parts to which my sons were unfortunate witnesses will perhaps help prepare them for adulthood, assuming they may marry women who have loud, strong hearts.
On Sunday I finished up the garden prep and seeding for fall. A few weeks ago I was questioning whether I could or wanted to do all the ripping and soil prep needed, but I ended up getting some plowing help from my guys and I’m very pleased with the results:
I moved all the plants I could outside of the fence. There are now beds alongside the fence, three down the middle, and row connecting them on top. I have yet to transplant my (dwindling) brussels sprouts and broccoli (which will occupy the top connector and the widest center column, respectively) but everything else has been planted. In the garden lying in wait for possibility to crack them open, are:
baby bok choy
black magic kale
carrots: orange, purple & red
and two herby things that my dad sent me
Silas specifically wanted purple carrots because he saw them in a community garden on PBS kids (does my heart good). The carrots did really great in the single bag we grew earlier in the year, so we just did that again, but now we have five! The carrots were the only way I could bribe that child to come out in the heat with me and when they were gone from the garden, so was he.
Back to the trees
The once majestic sycamore, lightning-struck and subsequently rendered a stump, offered up this sweet little glimmer of hope.
When I took this picture, it seemed like a very sad futility. Just one more piece to kill in a week or two when the stumps come out. But some time later an idea came to me: Can you clone a tree from a cutting? Turns out, you definitely can. By the time I have to harvest this little guy, he won’t be woody enough to be an ideal candidate. He has very little chance of becoming a tree actually. But maybe with very good conditions and a little magic, the sycamore could survive. So I will try.
Sometimes things look black to me. It’s in my blood and I’m probably too old to truly change that. Sometimes when things are at their worst in my mind I actually see a sort of kaleidoscope of thick blackness hovering around my bed at night. But you know what? Morning always comes and there are always glimmers ready to be seen if I’m ready to look. I have hope. I’m actually relentlessly hopeful.
My dreams were full of rain. I heard it and saw it and fretted over having to go out in it. Rain in dreams suggests crying or tears. There have been lots of tears.
My heart hurts for my trees. Six are getting removed. Two came down yesterday and four more have seen their last sunrise today. I know why it’s happening and I’m not trying to stop it, but my heart hurts anyway. Especially for my beautiful maple with its bark that curls away from the trunk and the healthy gloss of its gray-green leaves. That tree watches the birds with me and calms my spirit. When I hugged it goodbye this morning before going to work, words I’d said to my mother (that I’d be back very soon–before I never saw her again in this life) echoed in my mind.
I know why I’m letting this happen: the house, the water, the foundation, the roof, my husband’s peace. He knows that this is personally painful to me and so hasn’t pushed it forward until the lightning came. But all of our knowing is meaningless because it is without understanding. My heart cannot understand logic and he cannot understand my heart.
Carnage. Ugly Awful.
Right now this place feels destroyed. I should have stopped it.
We drove to Ohio to visit family and to fetch Eddie who’d been staying with Grandma in time to start his Cross Country practice. Of course that meant we had to leave the garden for a bit to fend for itself during a heat wave. Yes, they have very limited moisture access in porous containers, no I do not have an irrigation system or somebody around who I’m comfortable asking to help me. I would have womaned up and begged a favor from the neighbor had Gordon wanted to stay longer, but it wasn’t the case so I watered right before we left and right when we got back home.
The trip was exhausting, but good. We spent short chunks of time with many people, catching up after long periods of little communication. Gordon’s sister Renee was very sweet and inquisitive about my garden and the pictures I showed her. She said, “You should start a blog!” The second glass of wine I was sipping encouraged me to respond with admission that I already have one. She urged me to send her the link. I agreed and immediately began fretting over all of the editing required to make that a good idea. As we were leaving Mae’s house that evening, I decided that I would just not send it instead. I’m sure that the next time the blog comes up will be never.
My dad checked in with me today near the beginning of our seven hour drive and for 50 miles (until Gordon hissed that he didn’t want to listen to this shit all the way home) we argued about the presidential race and which candidate was the lesser of two evils. (I suppose I was foolishly riding the wave of lovely “agree to disagree” success in Ohio.) At some point while Linwood was trying to enlighten me against my “small thinking” he began educating me about a brand new conspiracy theory that had not entered my awareness before, but I’m sure I’ll be blessed to hear about again. And again. Chemtrails. Apparently the international evil powers that be have the technology to control the weather by shooting chemicals out of the backs of planes. That the droughts and floods and unusual temperature fluctuations attributed to climate change is actually being done on purpose by the bad guys for some masterfully orchestrated personal gain. He says China has the technology too. How else would one explain the perfect weather during the Beijing Olympics? Whatever. Maybe I won’t have to hear about the Anunnaki anymore.
Although Hillary Clinton had been piloting around and spraying weather chemicals to keep it from raining while I was out of state, I found the garden looking pretty good overall. The tomatoes were in good shape, except for one Red Currant that was knocked over for whatever reason. They normally go a couple of days between watering anyway and are in less porous bags, so yea! The corn, however looks like death has warmed over. Which I find weird because corn out in the field gets less attention than mine, surely. Also, some freaking critter helped itself to an ear. I found the moldy dried out remants off in the yard. I’m concerned as to whether it was dried out and moldy before or after the “harvest” although the point is likely moot.
Another effect of our extremly uncomfortable heat, was that a baby melon exploded.
While watering, I discovered lots of different creatures, even though I coated the place with organic pesticidal soap before leaving. A stink bug hanging out on on a reddening bell pepper, a cluster of eggs on an unripe tomato, a big lizard, a new baby lizard, and this dude:
Apparently thsee little white things are going to hang out and grow on this terrible tomato predator, kill him, then hatch into wasps that kill other evil vegan invertebrates. Mwahaha! Here he is walking on the twig which brought him back to the tomato plants. I usually take a pic of a cool plant killer then squish it, but this guy should probably nibble a few leaves and finish out his life as a host. Thanks for your sacrifice, horny.
I barely fell asleep before I heard a faint sound of distress. Silas crying at the other end of the house in his bed. I ran to him as fast as I could. He was upset because he had to pee.
Forget going back to sleep right now. Or rather, I tried for about 30 minutes, but now I’m here entertaining you, virtual diary with my bullshit tales of woe.
Why did we do this? How could we have ripped Eddie out of his school, his life, away from his friends? We said, “As soon as we move in, we’ll have a party for all your friends to show them where you live. They’ll want to come often.” Well that was crap. One because we haven’t and probably won’t. Two because that is just rubbing salt in the wound, “Thanks for coming, good buddies, now go back to my old life and I will go back to my lonely new one.”
It’s day 4 of 7th grade at a new school. He seems ok. Said the kids are all nice and as a matter of fact, nobody has made one disparaging remark to anyone as far as he can recall. Well that’s just bizarre. Nothing makes you feel like an outsider more than being off-kilter in a sea of nice. Who the hell is that happy and fine where they don’t have to talk some trash? Or is it a case of “bless his heart” (whisper whisper whisper)? Of course I share none of these poison thoughts with him. And honestly I didn’t have these poison thoughts at all until I was lying around fretting, digging the anxiety wound bigger and bigger.
I’m terrified of the possibility of climbing out of my warm fly covered dung heap to take a new job. Especially right now. But shouldn’t I join the club and do just that? Especially because of what I’ve forced my fragile-aged son to do?
Or perhaps the better question is why am I down this godless rabbit hole at all? Because Eddie mentioned his friend Sammi and we shared a pang of absence and planned on sending out emails to friends once the kids were assigned their chrome books, (since the whole county is linked)? Is it because nobody’s reassurances mean a thing, except my mother’s, and I can’t ever have one of those again? Or is it because we really did the very wrong thing in coming here? Should we have stayed in hot, plastic suburbia watching House of Cards and just dreaming of trees?
What did I tell him and myself before? What are the nuggets of truth that I’ve forgotten? It doesn’t matter where we are, as long as we are together. Everything will be fine no matter what. You know nobody there today, but will know them all tomorrow. It will be worth it. We will be able to breathe there.
My dream was interrupted by a grating, industrial-sounding, repetitive clanging that woke me and shook me to the core. “What was that?” I asked a stirring Gordon next to me in our new too-firm bed. He grumbled a reply and went back to sleep. I got up to look around. Something must have happened. Something was wrong. But no. The house was quiet and everyone was asleep.
I spent the next while worried that someone someday would crash into our house and kill us in the middle of the night. And we’ll never be able to sell this place. Who wants to live on a highway? And the bed we just bought was a bad idea. Too hard, (but I did notice that nothing on me hurt when I got up to investigate). And now I have to change jobs?! Or at least look into it. My counselor, of all people (who knows all my crazy) sent me a link to a job she thinks I should apply for and use her as a reference. Which means, if I blow it off, we will have to talk about why I didn’t at least look into it considering my current job is failing the ultimatum I gave it in February. And what kind of psycho has auditory hallucinations that are loud enough to wake them up?
It’s called Exploding Head Syndrome. Occurs sometimes when people are stressed combined with mental or physical exhaustion. More common in women than men. Also, is commonly followed by anxiety.
Ok, so I’m not a psycho. I’m just tired and stressed and I’ve been smiling and nodding and working and trying to offer stability to my three boys that are feeling their own worry. Making sure papers are signed and heads are kissed and crock pots are full of dinner. Gordon is doing all of that stuff too, but has new things going on that take him away from his normal level of domesticity and his normal role of stabilizing.
I see a pattern emerging. When I’m feeling especially posty it degrades into Brain Pain posts. But I’m living in this state right now. I’m not walking around in black or crying a lot, but I’m well within the text book acceptable grieving state. Even early. It’s only been three and a half months since I lost my mother for good. It seems a lot longer though. The world shifted then. To me, it was an apocalyptic event, yet one that the vast majority of existence didn’t feel. A spidery grayness encased the hearts of some of us, but otherwise life carried on. Jobs, kids, funny TV shows. Regular shit. And then we committed to this crazy incredible dirt quest thing.