Category Archives: Mid-Life Crisis Adventures/Defeats

Just Get In The Dang Rowboat

“Surrendering is the free-falling backwards into the unknown and trusting that The Universe will catch you.” ― Jen Sincero, You are a Badass.

This is just one of the thousands of motivational quotes I’ve been collecting lately.  In addition to reading dozens of self-help books, I’ve been Googling “How to manifest a dream,” or “How to figure out what dream to manifest,” or “Can someone tell me what to do?”

After all this in-depth research, I’ve learned I only need ask The Universe for what I want and, poof, it will arrive.

IMG_0398

Really?  It’s that easy?

I picked one colossal dream – Make Money From My Writing.

I wrote the dream down in my journal several times each day. I wrote it with a fountain pen. I will make money from my writing.  (Good karma using something beautiful.)  I wrote it with colored pens. I will make money from my writing.  (Good creativity using multi-colors.)  I posted it on my phone’s wallpaper, I WILL MAKE MONEY WRITING. (Covered in all my app tiles – maybe not such a good choice.)

I taped a note on my bathroom mirror and repeated it over and over while brushing my teeth.  “I wih make moyee from my whiting. I wih make moyee from my whiting. I wih make moyee from my whiting. ”

Then something did happen.  My brother from New York called and said, “I don’t know why I feel compelled to tell you, but ever since you helped me…”  I held my breath.  This was it.  The Universe had been listening and was ready to help me make money at my writing.  “…pick out a comfortable chair for my room, it’s changed my life.”  He went on to explain how that one change led to another change and another.  He continued.  “And the way you reorganized the kitchen, it’s amazing.  You should start a business decluttering and organizing people’s lives.”

No thank you.  I’m going to make money from my writing.

The next day I heard from a friend who wanted to thank me again for decluttering and organizing his room.  It had changed his life and he suggested I should think about starting a business doing that for people.

Nope.  I’m going to make money from my writing.

I shared with my niece about the two random calls of appreciation.  Before I could complain that The Universe was not listening to me she exclaimed, “You should totally start that business!  You are incredible at it.”

No way.  I’m going to make money from my writing.

That weekend, my sister-in-law said, “You are so good at organizing, you should start a business doing that.”

FrogHello?

Universe?

I’m free falling backwards into the unknown and trusting, but you are not delivering.

 

And then I thought of the old joke about the drowning man.

A fellow was stuck on his rooftop in a flood. He was praying to God for help.

Soon a man in a rowboat came by and the fellow shouted to the man on the roof, “Jump in, I can save you.”

The stranded fellow shouted back, “No, it’s OK, I’m praying to God and she is going to save me.”

So the rowboat went on.

Then a motorboat came by. “The fellow in the motorboat shouted, “Jump in, I can save you.”

The stranded man said, “No thanks, I’m praying to God and she is going to save me. I have faith.”

So the motorboat went on.

Then a helicopter came by and the pilot shouted down, “Grab this rope and I will lift you to safety.”

The stranded man again replied, “No thanks, I’m praying to God and she is going to save me. I have faith.”

So the helicopter reluctantly flew away.

Soon the water rose above the rooftop and the man drowned. He went to Heaven. When he got his chance to meet God, he exclaimed, “I trusted you but you didn’t save me! Why?”

God replied, “I sent you a rowboat and a motorboat and a helicopter, what more did you expect?”

What the hell.  I’m going to climb in the rowboat and see what happens.

Anyone interested in hiring The Mayor’s Decluttering, Organizing and Life Changing Corporation?

Blue Mayor

Awesome drawing by Annie Raab

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’m an Addict

After yesterday’s blog post, I got lots of encouragement and one great idea.  Change focus. So instead of talking about writing I’m going to talk about television.

I ‘m not much of a drinker and I’ve never smoked a cigarette in my life but, I, Mayor of Crazie Town, am a Home Improvement Show addict.

Really, any kind of an improvement show will do.  Fixer Upper.  Project Runway.  Life Below Zero.  Recently I binge watched something called Building Off the Grid, or some such name.  One guy had a team build a mud house, shaped a lot like a tulip, on his remote property.  It’s not totally useless information.  I mean, I have a remote farm and now I SO want to build a tulip-shaped mud house there.

I’ve watched so many of these shows I seem to have lost the ability to follow something with an actual plot.  Husband likes detective shows so we watch those together in the evening, only nobody’s building anything so I get bored.  I’ve tried out one of those adult coloring books but am always disappointed in the results.  I scan Facebook and Twitter and Instagram but no one’s building anything there either and I get itchy for a fix.  Eventually, I sneak upstairs and and shoot up some HGTV.

I, Mayor of Crazie Town, am a Home Improvement Show addict and I’m taking it one day at a time.

 

Meet The Mayor of Crazie Town

Hello, my long-lost readers.

Wait.

You weren’t lost, I was.

???? Lost

You may be asking, WTF?  Why did The Mayor go from writing a hilariously funny and entertaining post every week, to barely a dozen over the last two years?

That is an excellent question and one I’ve been trying to answer for…well, the last two years.

I could tell you a lot of stuff happened, like:

My dad died,

and then;

My favorite aunt died,

and then;

My dog died,

and then;

We moved into the house from hell,

and then;

My husband was diagnosed with prostate cancer,

and then…

And then, I got stuck in Child’s Pose.  Literally.  Knees to chest, forehead pinned to a yoga mat.

My first yoga class in years and, unable to stand in Warrior 1, 2 or 3, I folded myself into Child’s Pose to wait for a position I could manage.  The problem became apparent immediately.  Once I arranged myself into Child’s Pose, huge crocodile tears rolled down my face and plopped onto the mat.  As the puddle of tears grew, the salty drops splashed back up onto my cheeks.

“Let’s continue our Vinyasa,” the teacher murmured to the class while tucking a pile of tissues next to me.  “Downward Dog…to Plank…to Cobra.”

I pushed up to try a Downward Dog but, the tears traveled upside down across my forehead and added to the growing dark patch on my purple mat.  Back to Child’s Pose, where I continued to weep silently until the class was over.

That was it.  I’m done.

I’m actually tired of being sad.

Khalil Gibran wrote: “The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain.”

I figure by now, my life can hold a shit-load of joy.

For example, this brings me joy.

Blue Mayor

I’ve spent a small fortune at Shutterstock and thought it would be better to pay an artist I’ve actually met.  This is a creation from one of the extremely talented members of the WTF Critique Group.  Annie is an artist, a writer, an art critic and a world traveler.  I hate her awesome talent.  I think she has awesome talent!

I asked her to make a drawing that looks like me but add a top hat.

Done and done.

Meet the Mayor of Crazie Town. She confirmed that hilariously funny and entertaining blog posts will soon follow.

 

BILLY BOB’S RURAL COMPOUND

I sat in my car surveying Billy Bob’s rural compound.  A crash involving a battered Barbie car, a hula-hoop and a rusted barrel lay in the weeds. rusted equipmentIn front of me were half a dozen crumbling carcasses of gigantic earth moving equipment.  To my right was a graveyard of broken household items; a shattered mirror, a decomposing sofa, a fry pan missing its handle, and more. So much more.

My older brother, Mike, sat in the back seat as our younger brother, Rick, climbed the rickety stairs and knocked on the door.

Mike and I stared in silent horror as a massive, furry white head emerged from beneath the steps.  The body of a gargantuan moth-eaten dog followed the head.

“Psst.” I whisper shouted. “Hey, Rick!”

He turned around and I pointed to the creature waiting for him at the bottom of the stairs.  Mike and I rolled up our windows. Rick walked down and patted the beast on the head.  “Good dog,” he said and sauntered up the steps to the back, where he continued his knocking. Old Camper 2

While we waited, the door of a vintage camper swung open. I cringed, certain Billy Bob would vault out, roaring chain saw in hand. Instead, a rooster and two hens jumped down from the grimy vehicle and crossed over to the grass to peck at insects, of which I am certain there were many.

After several more knocks on the door to the house, it opened.  A beautiful eighteen-year-old girl, with a killer body encased in spandex, stepped onto the porch.

Mike and I started to get out of the car.

A grimace on the girl’s face caused me to re-evalute my move and her age. Now she was a well worn thirty-five year old woman. “Get back in there!”

We did as we were told.

“It’s down the road. We have to drive,” Girl/Woman said.  She walked over to a camouflage ATV, pushed off a six-pack worth of empty beer cans and hopped on.

We followed her past the chicken coup RV and into some deep weeds.

How do I get myself in these situations?  You could read last week’s post, Unicorns, Mountain Lions and Brush Hogs, or you could just assume that, as the Mayor of Crazie Town, I’m doing my duty and trying to purchase a mower.

Remaining on the ATV, Girl/Woman pointed to a group of trees. Rick and Mike exited the vehicle and whacked their way to the brush hog for sale.

“Any way you could get it out so we could look at it?” Mike asked.

“Nope.”  She punched a thumb toward the house. “He don’t want to get up.”

We stretched a rope between my car and the equipment.

“You better not do nothing to hurt it.” She threw a worried look over her shoulder.

We dragged the piece of machinery into a clear patch and Rick began his expert negotiating tactics.  “It’s not quite what we’re looking for, but we’ll give you $400.”

“No way,” Girl/Woman snarled. “And you’d better put it back where you found it before you leave.”

Mike and Rick gave it a second look and decided it was worth the asking price.  I counted out $500 and handed it over.

Her fingers flashed through the bills and she nodded. Girl/Woman jumped off the ATV, a smile lighting up her face, turning her back into the beautiful eighteen-year-old girl.   “How ya gonna get it in your trailer?  I can bench press three-hundred pounds, so I could help.”

Mike’s plan was for them to tilt the brush cutter on its side, I’d “slide the trailer” under it and they’d flip it on.  Girl/Woman was correct in her bench press statement and with her help, this endeavor went fine.

Unfortunately, Girl/Woman had laid the $500 on the ground to help lift and when she returned to the pile, $20 was missing.  We kicked around in the tall grass searching when Mike joked, “Maybe one of the dogs ate it.”

“Max,” Girl/Woman hollered.  The raggedy behemoth turned his head her way, a luscious $20 bill hanging from his mouth.

We took off before a replacement twenty could be demanded.  As we drove back to our family farm, Mike and I concocted our stories of Girl/Woman’s life.  A stripper who’d made it good, and likely to tell Billy Bob that she’d only been able to get $400 for the equipment.  Rick was appalled by our assumption and insisted she was probably a schoolteacher.

In any event, I made it out of there with my life and ready to work on my next Crazie Town situation: How to remove a frog from the fresh water tank of my camper, whom I discovered last week, peering up at me from inside the intake valve.Frog

UNICORNS, MOUNTAIN LIONS AND BRUSH HOGS

A couple of years ago, when my aunt died, she left me a fairly worthless piece of farmland about sixty miles from my home.  I know the land is worthless because my Grandpa said so in his will.  A third of the original farmstead [the rich flat land] went to my father, the other two thirds [the rocky, cedar-tree-infested land] went jointly to my two aunts.  That’s the part that I inherited with my brothers and sister.  Basically, I own one/nth of one/half of some acreage.

We hired a local farmer (Little Steve, son to Big Steve – a friend of my dad’s and the only farmer we knew) to plant the fields he could.  The rest is rocky, hilly and covered in trees.

In the plus column, at the highest point, you can see for miles.  I’ve spotted dozens of deer and turkeys and coyotes. In the early spring we even had one little lonely duck on our sad tiny pond and after I parked my vintage camper out there and spent the night, I heard a mountain lion.

In a fit of Crazie, and against the advice of every attorney I talked to (more than six, less than twelve) we all decided to keep the land.  Why? you might ask along with my husband who asks constantly. Maybe because it is two-thirds of the farm I grew up on and although as a kid I never once wanted to do a single farmer thing on it, now I can’t wait to get my hands dirty.

Unicorn Besides, I had a vision. Simply remove all the invasive cedar trees and we’d be left with unicorns dancing in the starlight or possibly just rolling hills covered in prairie grass and wildflowers.

We worked and slaved (for one weekend) and then paid someone to bulldoze acres of the prolific cedars.  After two days we ran out of money he finished. But I was determined to keep going.  I had a vision after all.

I started out with a hand saw and then graduated to a reciprocating saw, which required the purchase of a generator, extension cords, gas cans.

Teresa with sawI borrowed my nephew’s chain saw (don’t tell Husband) and cut down every cedar I could reach.

Overwhelmed with nightmares of cedar trees, I learned from Little Steve to hone in on the female of the species, easily distinguished by the thousands of blue berries covering her branches.

In the process of tidying up the land, I uncovered spectacular deciduous trees; walnuts, red buds and pears.  Next to the hundred year-old-dump — a dry creek filled with rusted tin cans, stoves and old tires — I discovered a hundred-year-old oak tree with a seven-foot circumference.

From Little Steve, I also learned that baby cedar trees pop up wherever there is open grass so the cleared area would need to be mowed. Rather than pay someone, I thought it would be more fun (?) to buy my own tractor and a brush hog — that’s a mower to you city folk.

From a friend of a friend of my brother, Rick, I looked at a 1949 Ford 8N tractor.  The owner was kind enough to deliver it.  Sure there were a few issues, like I had to disconnect the cable after every use or the battery would run down and the steering was so loose I could turn the wheel a foot in either direction with no reaction.  But it was a tractor and it was destined to be mine.

In Crazie Town, the women/girls stayed in the house and cooked while the men/boys ran the equipment, so in all my years on the farm, I never once drove a tractor.  I gleaned a little bit of farm knowledge so I could probably tell the difference between a plow and a harrow, but I couldn’t, for the life of me, tell you what a harrow is used for.

But, now, I had the possibility of my own tractor and I was in farmer heaven.  I puttered around learning how the gears worked.  I drove the tractor fifty yards one direction, changed gears and drove fifty yards in the other direction.  Number one lesson learned: don’t drive over rough terrain in third gear with the throttle full out.  Until I could get my foot on the clutch long enough to downshift, I bounced around on the seat like a piece of popcorn in a hot pan.

After that harrowing (hey, maybe that’s what a harrow is for?) experience, I coasted up to the owner who was trying very hard not to laugh. I paid him and with a shaky hand I waved goodbye and he drove away.  I turned off the tractor and…it never started again.  I left it where it landed and drove the sixty miles home, composing a story in which I could tell Husband about the tractor without actually mentioning that I’d probably just purchased a very expensive lawn ornament.

The new plan was to meet my brother, Rick, the next day to see what we could do to get  the !@#$#@! thing running. But the next day it rained and then it rained…and rained…and rained.  It was over six weeks later before Rick and I could get out to the farm and see what repairs we could make.  This is the condition of the fuel filter when we arrived.Fuel Filter

It appears to have been eaten by some rats cute little field mice.

With the help of Rick and his wife, Shelly, we took a trip to the Tractor Supply store, where (as every woman has experienced) the salesclerk would only talk with my brother.  He informed Rick that my vehicle was so small that bona fide tractor parts don’t fit.  He sent us to the lawnmower department which I found quite insulting, but less expensive.

Once we installed the fuel filter — right side up — the tractor roared to life.  Hurray!

However, it is just a moving lawn ornament until I can buy the brush hog to do the mowing.

Stay tuned as I find myself in Billy Bob’s Death Compound.

Pwall-Ticka-Abe

I decided to take a break from clearing cedar trees around The Ugly Duckling and spend a day at home, sewing curtains for her naked windows.

I’d purchased the fabric on-line two years ago at the very apex of my mid-life crisis, but had never paused long enough to turn it into something. Also, there’d been the problem of not owning a sewing machine.

IMG_1146But, smart me, the only thing I chose from my aunt’s estate was her ancient Sears Kenmore Model 1755.

IMG_1145

 

And, even though I haven’t sewn anything more than a button in twenty-five years, it would be like riding a bike. The first step would be figuring out how to make curtains.

I sat in front of the computer and pulled up a blog on how to sew lined curtains, (which was surprisingly helpful.) I carefully measured the fabric – twice, folded down and ironed the hem and then sat down at the prehistoric machine. I plugged in the Sears Kenmore Model 1755 and no sparks erupted so I pushed on the pedal. The needle jumped up and down at breakneck speed while visions of professional-grade draperies danced in my head.

I positioned one of the two spools of thread I’ve used over the past twenty plus years to sew on buttons, wrapped it around the bobbin and pressed the pedal. No bobbin winding.  I pressed again and again until a little puff of smoke appeared and the pungent smell of burned rubber filled the room. I removed the bobbin gear and took it to my garage workstation.

IMG_1142I oiled and cranked and oiled and cursed, but it would not budge. After an hour I threw the part on the floor gently released the problem to the Universe.

By now, it was getting to be afternoon and if I was going to finish the curtains by the end of the day, things were going to have to go perfectly. So, the Universe told me to stop screwing around and go get a new sewing machine. I hopped in the car, rushed to Sears and bought their cheapest machine.IMG_1143I raced home, opened it up, put the spool of thread on the machine and ran the thread over to the bobbin winder. Nothing. No spinning, no whirring. Nothing. I ripped open paused and read the stupid directions, unthreaded what I’d done and tried it the right way.  Success! Bobbin spinning like a top.

Then it stopped. I stared at the bobbin for a full minute trying to wrap my head around what the freaking problem was now.

Evidently, in only a short twenty-plus years of button sewing, a person can use up one hundred yards of thread.  IMG_1144

 

Cursing a blue streak (just the way my friends Bob and Kerry taught me), I stomped back to the car. I pulled my smart phone from my purse and asked Siri to tell me the closest fabric store.

“I found one place close to you,” she said.  “Would you like to go there?”

“YES!” I shouted.

“I’m sorry, I can’t understand that. Please try again.”

“YES! YES! TAKE ME THERE!”

“Where would you like to go?” she asked.

Screeching out of my driveway, I headed to a hobby store a few miles away. I turned into an empty parking lot.  Closed.

I jumped the curb on my way back to the street.  Then feeling it was my last resort, drove to Hell on Earth, Super Target.  Not wanting to waste a minute wandering around the massive warehouse, I hiked over to customer service (the opposite side of the building where I parked) and demanded to know where the thread would be.

“Ummm, do we sell thread?” Becca, the customer service representative asked me.

“That,” I said through clenched teeth, “is what I’m asking you.”

“Oh.”  She picked up her walkie talkie and asked the black box if they sold thread.

“Pssht. Fssht,” it replied.

Becca looked up at me and said, “All the way to the back wall, Aisle D33.”

I arrived at Aisle D33 to find it filled to overflowing with all the colors of the rainbow – for towels.

Trekking back to the customer service desk, I scowled smiled politely and said “Hi. I’m the woman looking for the thread. You said Aisle D33, but that has bathroom towels on it.”

“Really?” She caught the gaze of another employee and asked, “Where do we keep the thread?”

“Next to the irons, I think?”

Becca looked at me and smiled.

“But,” I spluttered, hands waving in the air. “Where are the irons?”

She repeated my question to the little black box.

“Pwall.  Ticka Abe,” it replied.

Becca translated. “Aisle E38.”

Aisle 39 - Irons

Aisle 39 – Irons

I found the irons on Aisle 39, but no thread.

I found the sewing items on Aisle 38

Who sews with thread anymore anyway?

Who sews with thread anymore anyway?

 

But, still no thread.

As of today, the Ugly Duckling’s curtain fabric sits in a pile, to be completed along with the replacement glass for the broken wasp-den window and, the three cabinet doors that are missing and, the exterior paint job and…

The good news is, according to Wikipedia (which is always correct) I’m doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing for a Midlife Crisis.

  • acquisition of unusual or expensive items such as motorbikes, boats, clothing, sports cars, jewelry, gadgets, tattoos, piercings, etc. – Hmmm, no mention of large ugly vintage campers. Wikipedia made a mistake.

 

FLYING – Part Two – STREAM OF CONSCIOUSNESS

Click here for FLYING – Part One – HANG ON DUDE

What could go wrong?

What could go wrong?

Oh! Here we go! A little bumpy and this freaking hang gliding hammock is swaying around like a tea towel in a tornado, but still, exciting!

Holy Cow! We are going up fast. This wind is really fierce. I hope I don’t loose my glasses. What if a bug hits my teeth?

Ugh. Why is my stomach turning somersaults?

Wow, this is amazing. I wish it lasted more than ten minutes. Ten minutes is nothing. It’s going to be over before it starts.

Urg, my tummy doesn’t feel so good.

NO!  I am not going to hurl on this poor guy’s helmet. I am going to breathe and my gurgling stomach will settle down.

I wonder if I’m sick because we’re being towed by the plane. I’ll bet once Airplane Dude lets us go I’ll be fine.  I wonder how much longer before Airplane Dude lets us go.

What’s that? Hang Gliding Dude is making some sort of signal. Airplane Dude is not paying attention to him. Is that a problem? Are we in trouble?

Man, we are really, really high. Look at that, I can see the bay and the ocean side. That’s a lot of water. Water. Oh boy, I wish I had a drink of water right now.

Oh my god! The plane unhooked us! Ack!

Wait. This is marvelous. I’m soaring like a bird. It’s exactly what I thought it would be. No, it’s one hundred times better than I thought it would be.

Uh oh. Hang Gliding Dude is leaning to the left. I don’t like that so I’m going to lean to the right. Why are we dipping and diving?  Hang Gliding Dude is shouting at me to let him steer the hang glider. Oh.

Hang Gliding Dude says we are going to “hang out” in the clouds for a bit. He’s turning too fast. Too fast! Blech. My stomach doesn’t like clouds.

I hope we head for home soon. Ten minutes is way to long. Breathe, dammit, breathe!

Finally. Out of the clouds and now I see the landing strip. Land Ho! Gosh, I hope I make it down before I throw up. Breathe, you idiot. I can’t! I’m lying face down in a hammock plunging to my death! May Day! MayDay!!

The ground is coming up fast. It’s going to be a hard landing, so I’ll prepare by closing my eyes. That always helps.  What’s happening now?  I could find out if I opened my eyes, but I think the fear of not knowing is slightly less than the fear of knowing. Yep. Shut is better.

Oh. Wow. That wasn’t bad at all.  We landed like a whisper.  Oh, crap.  Now we’re bouncing along the ground.  Bouncing is not good.  In fact, bouncing is the worst.  Don’t throw up, you nerd!

Okay, okay.  We’ve stopped.

Dude. That was awesome.

I wonder if I could do it again and not get sick.

 

I'm Official

I’m Official