Why your kids don’t call.

Phone boothIn a recent call with my mother, the conversation took its normal course.  There was the “I have some news but I’m not going to tell you because it will just make you mad” topic.  This is usually followed by the “I’m tired of taking care of everybody else” and the “Staff at my store are idiots and talk too much” topics. I will say that my favorite one is the story that is going to make me mad but she launches into it anyway and then is immediately defensive at my response.

There is one topic which made me stop and consider family conversation traits in general.  During one lengthy call in particular, she mentioned she really needed to call her brother.  She hadn’t called him though because it always turned into an hour-plus conversation about nothing.  Really?  I can’t possibly imagine.  That it the exact reason I do not call her more often and have been known to ignore her calls from time to time.  I guarantee you that very thought has never occurred to her though.

Here is another interesting family trait on my husband’s side of the family.  His mother is notorious for continuing a conversation after he has said, as politely as possible (and sometimes not), “Alright, well, let me let you go.” or “Hey mom, I need to let you go, the house is burning down.”  She will even acknowledge him with an “ok”.  However, she continues on with the conversation and will even start a new topic.  This is where it gets good though.  I will be on the phone with HIM and say, “Hey, I need to let you go.  Hell’s Angels have surrounded the car and they want me to buy cookies.”  What does he say?  “Ok.”  What does he do?  Continues the conversation or starts a new one.

Unfortunately, I suspect I may fall or have already fallen victim to these same traits.  I hate to talk on the phone as it is so I hope I have at least avoided those traits for now. Also, if my mother and mother-in-law happen to ever read this, please know I love you both dearly but as with all family you will always be a source of entertainment for me.  By the way mom – get rid of those damn cats and stopping finding excuses to collect them.

Irish Car Theft…. Almost

Dunluce Castle in County Antrim

Dunluce Castle in County Antrim

The rain has finally stopped for the afternoon and the light outside has reached the “golden hour”.  Like that is really going to make a difference in my vacation photos.  I’m lucky if the picture is in focus much less perfectly lit.

Bryan and I are headed back over to Dunluce Castle in County Antrim, Ireland.  We had been there earlier in the day but he wants to try to get a sunset picture.  In true American tourist fashion, we are rushing around trying to get to the car.  We’re quickly losing daylight and it’s still a good 15 minutes to the castle.  We spot the car in the parking lot in the next to the last row facing the hotel. The pale blue compact rental is fairly nondescript and looks like a hundred other cars on the road in Ireland.

I unlock the car with the key fob and we climb in.  Both doors close and we get situated before backing out of the parking space.  As I try to put the key in the ignition, something catches my eye.  Not that we left a lot of things in the car but there seem to be some things missing.  Where is the map?  Where is my jacket?  And why does the car seem so clean on the inside?  Ours has already collected a nice bit of dirt on the front floor mats.  (Wait!  Where are the front floor mats!)

In perfect sync, like all couples who have been together for a while, we whip around to face one another and yell “Crap, this is not our car!”  Both doors fly open simultaneously.

Before we can slide out without being noticed, we happen to look up.  There in the dining room window of the hotel facing the parking lot is an elderly couple staring at us with the most quizzical looks.  They may not be the owners of the car but I would just about bet my life on the fact that they are.  With as much cool as we can muster, we slide out and softly close the doors trying to look unfazed.

Pretending to be calm, cool and collected, we manage to quickly locate our own car.   It is on the very back row and completely facing the other direction.  Once again, I unlock the car with the fob and we quickly slide in.  Taking a quick survey of the car contents, we verify that this is indeed our rental car.   In an overwhelming fit of laughter, we become 12-year-old children unable to stop the giggling fit.

The fit passes, we can coherently speak again and I can finally see without all of the tears streaming down my face.  We pull out of the lot and make it to Dunluce Castle with just enough time for some more photos.  I can hear you asking, “How did your key fob open the other car”.  Well, it didn’t.  They had left the car unlocked and I hadn’t bothered to listen for a click of the door lock.  I am grateful to the elderly couple for not calling the Irish Garda and I am grateful for such a funny travel episode that will leave me with a permanent smile each time I think about it.

Holy cow, what if someone actually reads this blog!

So, what are we looking at here?  Procrastination?  Bipolar disorder?  Fear of success?  Disinterest?  All four?  And does the label really matter at the heart of it?

Before I dive into my thoughts on this one, here’s a little background.  I am an incredibly fortunate person in that I pick up skills both mental and physical pretty quickly and with a moderate amount of success (thanks mom and dad).  Nope, I’m not a genius by any stretch of the imagination.  It really comes down to obsessions, whether short or long-term, they are the vehicles that get me where I want to go.  (Ok, sometimes the obsessions actually take over but we will talk about that another time and Ireland will be involved.)

Herein lies my challenge.  I get deeply excited about any new skill and quickly decide to apply it to a project of some sort.  Before I can even get to the beginning of that project requiring my fancy new skill, I find I have to drag myself kicking and screaming to the actual starting line. Why is that?  It is as if I have fallen into space and everything floats just out of my grasp.  I find this incredibly frustrating and well, just downright stupid.  I have faith in my ability to complete the project.  I have never had a disaster yet that I couldn’t fix.  I am generally successful right out of the gate (not to say there isn’t always room for improvement). So why, why, why!

I will tell you why.  I am always waiting for the other shoe to drop in life.  As ridiculous as that sounds, I am not alone in that subconscious state.  The pervasive thought goes something like this.  “If I don’t start it, I won’t fail at it.”  If I don’t start it, I won’t have to deal with success (because there are as many consequences with success as failure).”  If I don’t start it, it will remain perfect.”  And on and on.  Well, guess what.  Everything and anything will happen and nothing is ever perfect.  So what!  Was it an enjoyable experience?  Great – because that is really the point of learning and using any new skill.

Recently I have been dragging myself to that line sooner and sooner but it has also become more like dancing than dragging.  So, I invite you to dance to that line right alongside of me.  I suspect you will be shocked at how well it works out.  Not only will your project start sooner but you will also be able to wallow around in mindless project-joy.  See that’s the thing.  I am happiest when in the middle of one of my obsession-led projects and I suspect you are as well.  And guess what, I am also generally pleased with the outcome.

My friends, I haven’t seen that other shoe around and I sure haven’t heard it drop.  If it does, maybe it will be a pair and they will be Jimmy Choos.  I hope I see you at the line.

One of those imperfect projects that I am still quite proud of in the end.

One of those imperfect projects that I am still quite proud of in the end.

An Attempt at Thought Compartmentalization Organization

What the heck!  Not only is that a complicated and lengthy title but it also seems a bit too academic.  Well, my friends, it is definitely not meant to be academic.  It is my description for this blog and all future topics.  Oh yeah, and it is fun to say because it sounds like some brilliant research project.

As time goes by, my interests and fancies grow by leaps and bounds.  So much so that they seem uncontainable and disorganized (which in turn makes me crazy because of my Type A personality).  This blog is an attempt to corral all of that while creating entertaining and often educational stories.  I hope you enjoy this series and your life is a bit more fun because of it.