“Laugh at yourself first, before anyone else can.”
~ Elsa Maxwell
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This quote makes me smile, because if you ask my friends, family and especially my coworkers, I'm an easy source of laughter. I'm happily self-effacing, I will try to make unnecessarily difficult situations lighter, and anyone who teases me will get teased right back. I live to entertain. (That is, when I'm not trying to make the world a better place. Or trying to get some sleep.)
And with that, I am declaring a moratorium on my whiny "who reads what I write?" "why do I edit so damn much?" "why can't I express myself the way I want to on this blog" kinds of posts.
Because in real life, I'm confident in who I am, I'm not afraid to laugh at myself - and I will try damn hard to make you laugh, too.
Before any man captured my attention, before I adopted Stormy, before I lived on my own, my car was my one and only love. The day I owned her outright remains was one of the happiest of my life.
As much as I love my VW, the trunk of my car has been.... well, not entirely functional. For a while. About a year. Okay, maybe more. Because my Ex was the only person who was able to successfully close the trunk of my car.
So, I've just spent the past year or so not using the trunk of my car. (I haven't wanted to find out how much it would cost to fix, okay?)
"It opens like a DeLorian" I've joked to friends and coworkers about the strange diagonal-angled opening that accompanied the usual unlatching of my VW's storage compartment. "Just use the backseat! We'll hide your things, this neighborhood is safe, no worries!"
Or, on occasion. I'd use the trunk, but caution at its potential lack of usefulness, but add "Hey, no worries, it can be closed safely. Just ... um, give me a moment...." as I wrestled with the pesky corner that generally refused to close properly.
It was with one such flippant remark that I did something remarkable this afternoon:
I shattered my rear windshield.
This was not something I had expected as a possible side effect of having a slightly malfunctioning car trunk.
I had stored two storage boxes, two roller suitcases, a duffel bag and a backpack in the car's roomy trunk. Then asked my Office Spouse, coworker and coworkers husband to step back as I valiantly attempted to wrangle that tricky corner of the trunk closed so we could drive to a meeting.
"Wait... wait... what's happening?" exclaimed my coworkers' husband in disbelief.
I froze. I stared at the growing spiderweb pattern.
"What IS happening?" asked my Office Spouse, impatient to get on the road.
"I... think.... I think I .... I just .... just ... broke my, my ..." I stammered.
I wanted to cry. My car. My fully paid-off darling girl. HOW COULD I HAVE DONE THIS TO HER?
With a calm that belied my inner fury at myself, (and my inability to take my eyes off the spiraling spiderweb pattern) I said "Okay. Let's unload, lets go back upstairs..."
"... and we'll figure it out from there," finished my Office Spouse.
We rented a car. As I write this, my coworkers and I are preparing for our meeting. I've arranged for my car to be fixed by a mobile repair unit.
Once things were settled with the insurance company and we were on the road, I called my father to tell him what happened.
"Well, my dear," he said, "That was not very ... graceful of you."
I agreed, and added, "But hey, I bet you didn't know a trunk could do that to a rear view window!"
Back to the grind and happy to report that my time off from work was lovely and restorative.
No, there was no hiking in Great Falls, drives to the Delaware shore or wandering around Capitol Hill or the the museums. But, in my own way, I was productive: I took care of doctors visits and cleaned my apartment. I finished two books and started two more (FYI, if you haven't read The Hunger Games yet, you are missing out) and went shopping for a new couch with my parents. And ... yeah, that's about it for my list of activities that did not fall under the category of 'sloth'.
Unless you also want to include conquering my irrational fear of upside-down roller coasters as one of those items..... WHICH I DO!
Don't Danny and Victor look dapper?
I'm still hoarse from screaming with fear and glee. We rode at least ten coasters, two of them twice, as well as few other rides. And I loved it!
The day before this trip, I found out that a much-loved coworker lost her battle with lung cancer. It was not unexpected news, but it was still heartbreaking. I reached out to my coworkers to let them know that I was with them in feeling this tremendous loss, and that I was hugely grateful to have them in my life. My office spouse encouraged me to go face my silly fear of upside-down coasters -- and to have a wonderful time in the memory of our departed friend.
Which I did. And I can say that it was a good vacation.
Early in the summer, my boss started telling me that I had a lot of vacation time to use, and that I should take advantage of it. I smiled and said "sure, I'll use it later in the summer".
I made no plans for taking time off. I just kept along my merry way, working hard, stressing myself out, having the occasional early-AM panic attack about my parents health (Note: Dad is now doing very well, his recovery has been going smoothly, although he claims to still be exhausted by the functions of daily life. But hey, recovery is an individual experience and relative process - if Dad feels like he's still recovering, who can argue?) but generally feeling like I had things under control.
But in early August, I started feeling tired all the time. And occasionally jumping at loud noises (I really wish I were kidding about that) and not feeling my usual cheerful self. Around this time, my boss casually mentioned my abundance of vacation time again. I started to think that maybe time off would be a good idea, after all.
So, despite the fact that I don't have travel plans, I'm taking five days off from work. If you include the Labor Day weekend, that will be seven days of vacation.
Or 'stay-cation'. Other than a day trip to Kings Dominion to conquer my fear of upside-down roller coasters, I have absolutely no idea as to what I'll do with my free time. Besides sleep, read and contemplate my navel. And clean my apartment.
What would you do if you had five days of completely free time and no obligations?