One of the fun things about growing older is that you can actually remember being young. I don't mean that in a morbid "excuse me, but the Grim Reaper is knocking at the door..." kind of way, although I do recognize that this is entirely possible. I mean it in more of a "oh, honey, I remember doing that..." kind of way.
Because the latter is fun. The former? Not so much.
Yesterday, I got a text from my sweet friend, Lauren, who has learned one of life's important lessons of homemaking. Namely, that one does not put the Christmas candles in the attic and expect them to come back down the following year looking the way that they did when they went up.
Been there. Done that. Sadly, more than once.
Like even last year. Because I so did it. Again.
That is one of life's little annoyances...along with unexpected company when your house looks like an episode of "Hoarders" could be filmed there or you oversleep on a morning when it is crucial that your hair look decent and that you be to work on time. I have spent the better part of my life getting all bent out of shape about these things...and now that I am kind of on the "over" side of the hill, so to speak...I don't care as much.
Not to say that I don't care at all...because that isn't true. I've just split off the part of my personality that does get mad about things I can't change and allocated that to my alter ego, "Towanda." She tends to have some limited success in clearing up matters of poor customer service, abuse by people who need to be knocked off one high horse or another, and general communication issues.
Like, for instance, she will communicate to companies when their products suck, their customer service representatives need a verbal wedgie, or when she has been ripped off and a situation needs to be corrected. And she's actually pretty good at it, if truth be told.
But for the remaining 97% of everything annoying out there...I've learned to laugh hysterically about it at best...or act like it didn't happen at worst. Here are a few things that have happened within the past couple of months that fall into the category of "life's little annoyances" - and what I have learned from each...if anything.
BAD: Getting to the checkout at Publix and then realizing that you have the wrong size cereal than the one on sale. Waiting for what feels like 20 minutes while someone goes to the shelf and comes back with "no, it is the 20 oz box that is on sale" but with no actual 20 oz box that you might purchase instead. So, he goes off for another five minutes to get said box while the lady behind me with the four kids in the green cart that is a mini-replica of a car glares at me and tells her hyperactive daughter "no" at least a thousand times as she begs for candy, the two little boys fight in the aisle behind us and the baby starts crying. Yes. All of this for a box of Apple Jacks. I kid thee not. I've learned the following: Check the box size against the sale paper before leaving the aisle...but if you forget...you can always laugh hysterically at how awesome it is that your kids are grown. Of course, Towanda would just tell her something like, "better you than me..."
WORSE: Being behind someone in the line with 623 coupons and a kid who glances my way as I am watching this and says "Mommy, why is that lady so fat?"
BAD: Offering to help someone with something that turns out to be way more time consuming than it ought to be. What I've learned: Not just no. But HECK no.
WORSE: Having them tell a friend about your kindness and that friend calls for the same deal.
BAD: You go to the grocery store and purchase a lot of groceries that need to be brought into the house and put away. You pull up to the house and notice that you are the only one home. Thirty three trips to the car later, Big Dave pulls up and asks, "Need any help?"
WORSE: Big Dave is sitting on the couch watching TV while you go in and out numerous times...even slamming the door a time or two so that he's aware that you are bringing in groceries. Once everything is in and put away, he asks, "Need any help?" What I've learned: Have Towanda get Big Dave off of the couch.
BAD: Decorating for Thanksgiving and realizing that you have a lot of items to put out that you don't have space for...even after taking down a lot of things and boxing them up so that you have more space in which to work. In fact, now that you look at it...you are wondering where you got all of this until it occurs to you that these were acquired at the Michael's 90% off fake flower arrangement deal-o-rama...and you're not entirely sure what you were thinking. What I've learned: If you don't have a space for it...you don't need it.
WORSE: Decorating for Christmas. Enough said.
BAD: Making a recipe for years and then realizing that it has "jumped the shark" so to speak. I had 3/4 of my "famous" congealed salad left over this year. Since it costs about $10 to make...I'm thinking that this year was the last year for "Blueberry Salad." Even if they beg.
WORSE: They don't notice.
Oh, there have been others. Like a call to Palmolive-Colgate's customer service over a toothbrush that broke...seriously...while I was taking it out of the packaging (they sent me coupons for two free toothbrushes and good coupons for every product that they make), breaking one of the Thanksgiving decorations that I actually did like by dropping the box too hard on the floor, and trying to train a puppy how to either hold or contain his natural instincts...but that's life. Right?
Of course it is.
But it can always be worse. Right? Just a few minutes ago, a friend posted the following about her granddog...
"Since (my daughter) is still battling the flu I told her I would keep Savannah here this week so she wouldn't have to take her out up and down 4 flights of stairs at her apartment. This morning Savannah has pooped and peed downstairs, run away to the creek twice, and vomited on my rug. While I was cleaning up her vomit, she went into the kitchen and ate my waffles. I think Savannah wants to go back to Athens. Clearly she is trying to make me hate her even more than I already do."
Bless her heart.
At least I don't hate my grandcat. Other than the fact that he makes me sneeze (Benydryl is a necessity) and he can do no wrong in Jill's eyes (true, this)...he's pretty awesome. And he's cute. I'm not so fond of him walking on my table or clawing my chairs...but I can overlook this...sometimes.
Life is just full of those little annoyances that we all laugh about. Generally after...and sometimes even years after something has occurred. And I haven't forgotten how I want things to be perfect and easy to manage and to be even better than I expect. To have the "Southern Living" house...or to have people ask for my recipes. But the older I get, the more I realize that life is more often than not...anything but what we expect. Sometimes that's not pleasant...and sometimes it is pretty awesome...if truth be told.
So, as you encounter the annoyances that make life what it is...try to laugh and see the bright side if you can. My sweet other-daughter, Lauren, certainly did. Her follow up text was..."Well, at least they (the melted candles) were all in Ziploc bags." She's far smarter than I was...I had to throw out a box of decorations long, long ago when I did the same thing.
Laugh at what you can, bear what you must, and just remember as you are chasing your dog around the yard trying to get him to the groomer because he thought that you were trying to play (which happened last week)...at least it will eventually be funny. Most of the time, anyway.
And for you newlywed girls out there...keep your candles out of the attic. Seriously.