Binding Greatness

Yesterday at work, I ran into a doctor (who, for the record, is probably my age) in our comms room, who was scratching his head, trying to figure out how to use a binding machine.

A Binding Machine.

He asked me if I knew how to bind a book, and I said yes, because I’m an English major, and part of my degree includes expertise in archaic office procedurals. I can also change the ribbon/correcting ribbion/fluid of a typewriter, use a laminator, work an adding machine, and export mailing labels from Excel to Word. Want me to organise your Rolodex? I’ll get it done in less than 2 mins. I’m a master of Shit That Is No Longer Important.

Every binding machine is different, and the fancy ones nowadays are button operated. But once you’ve worked out one, you can handle all of them. But ours is a special kind of old, like purchased when the Institute was originated in the 70’s. There’s one giant crank handle that controls both the hole punches and opening the binding comb, and you have to adjust the space between the margin of the paper and the hole punches by using a dial. So you have to punch and open the comb by holding the crank handle at varying angles. I’m no doctor, but I ran a couple test drives with a single piece of paper and ended up binding the book excellently within a couple minutes.

So, I felt pretty smug. I thought, I’m pretty happy that I grew up with book binding, projectors, film strips, VHS and chalk boards in the classroom. I’m glad I had a typewriter before I had a computer. I’m glad I had to look up books in the library using the card catalog, and that at some point I did a book report using microfiche as my primary source material. I remember when Oregon Trail was not only a thing, it was THE Thing.

I thought, I’m glad I grew up when I did, between generations, right as technology was growing up. I like that I can step back from smart devices and apps and multiline phones and computers and do some simple shit — like book binding — that saves someone heaps of stress. I thought, hey, there’s a place for everyone to be great in this world. One person can achieve greatness by contributing significant data on sleep apnea to world class research and the other person can… make sure their papers are grouped and organised in a plastic comb so it doesn’t fall out. My Doctorate in Shit That Is No Longer Important helps me achieving greatness.

I am achieving greatness.

And then I thought, “the world needs ditch diggers, too.”

jxupg0o

A temporary moment of triumph, followed by swift deflation.

And then I thought, “eh, fuck it. My work day ends at quitting time. And I don’t have work email on my phone. And I’m more than ok with that.”

So if you need me, I’ll be taking down the minutes of a meeting in short hand.

 

My bed, my choice

Last September — no, it goes farther back than that.

Back in October 2015, I got a slightly better paying job, which meant I finally had the extra scratch to re-do our bed linens: new sheets, new pillows, new mattress pad, new duvet cover, and it was basically the best day of my life. Continue reading “My bed, my choice”

Affirmations

I’ve been dying for a rainy day during my time off. Why? Because there are few things better than waking up to a torrential downpour and feeling that warm, slow, smug realisation of “Hey – I don’t have to go anywhere or do shit today.” Continue reading “Affirmations”

Hodge Podge – Wednesday

1 – After another night of broiling temps waking us up every few hours, and walking into work looking like I’d run a marathon (how does it get so sweaty at 8AM?!) I walked out of the office today and I had to put my cardigan back on. And now I’m wearing sweat pants. AND long sleeves. I am content. Continue reading “Hodge Podge – Wednesday”

Lizard Brain

I got to work a little before 7:30 this morning so I could finish putting together a training manual. I thought it would be an easy day, since the day before was so hectic. But I was swarmed from the moment I stepped through the door. It was shaping up to be one of those maddeningly busy mornings at work, where every time I turn around someone was asking me to do something, or the phone was ringing, or there was another crisis to attend to.

It was one of those days where you blink and 3 hours pass.

I blinked again and 3 more hours had passed. And suddenly I was all “wow I’ve had 2 coffees and if I don’t pee right now I’ll probably die.” So I got up to go to the bathroom. I walked down the hall and through the atrium that separates the bathroom from the rest of the floor without noticing anything, totally on autopilot. It was when I was leaving the bathroom that I saw the little guy on the ground.

He was a little lizard, laid out on the tile between the two doors of the atrium. He was almost the same greenish brown colour as the tiles, so I wasn’t surprised that I didn’t see him on my way in. I was surprised that he wasn’t moving at all, in my experience lizards are either skittish, or dead. And this one wasn’t moving when I got near him, or when I opened or closed the doors. So I assumed he was dead. Poor guy.

I walked out of the bathroom and told some of my coworkers that I found a dead lizard in the bathroom. I’m not sure why, maybe they would want to see it? It was pretty weird thing to find in the bathroom, considering how far away our second level bathroom is from the outside world. And it was such a busy day, and I was on such autopilot that seeing a lizard in the bathroom basically stopped my brain in its tracks. They asked if he looked stomped on. Fortunately, he looked like he died of natural causes.

I went back to clean up the lizard and give him a burial. The idea of flushing him crossed my mind, but then I realised a) he might get clogged, and b) flushing an animal is pretty fucked up. I opened the door to the atrium, and he once again didn’t move. I decided to gather him in some paper towels and put him outside – circle of life and all. As I got closer to him, I decided to check for one more sign of life. I stomped my foot near him – and there! His head moved slightly to the right. LIFE, HE IS ALIVE!

I got so excited that I ran out of the atrium looking for something to corral him with. I found a little takeaway container with a lid in our staff kitchen and ran back to the bathroom. He was still lying there, but when I gently shoo’d him into the container, he made almost no objection. It’s like he knew I wanted to help. Or he was just too freaked out to put up a fight. He crawled into the tub and I put the lid on without sealing it so he wouldn’t be able to jump out. I showed him around, named him Blinky, and then took him outside.

I made sure to look him in the eye, and then I wished him well and let him go in the grassy/mulchy landscaped bits in front of our building. He quickly crawled under some mulch, and disappeared.

IMG_9316.jpg

I don’t know why, but finding and freeing that lizard was absolutely the high light of my day. It was exciting and awesome, and I felt like I had done something good for the world. And I couldn’t stop thinking – how the fuck did it get in here?

I imagined him crawling up all the steps and in a moment of perfect timing, making it through both sets of automatic doors. Or what if one of the kids found him on the way in and lost track of him when he saw the toys in the lobby? I thought of him slinking around unnoticed through all the rooms, narrowly avoiding being crushed under foot, hitching a ride on patient’s bags, living off crumbs, and trying with all this might to get back to his world as he became sick and dehydrated and cold. I thought of how something told him to go to the bathroom, like maybe something told him that’s where he would find water. But there, almost on the brink of death, he passed out in the atrium. And then I found him. And I put him back in the outside. And maybe it wasn’t his world? Maybe he still couldn’t find water. Maybe he was eaten by a huntsman.

It was a bit of perspective. Yeah, my day is so busy that I forget to eat lunch or go to the bathroom, but at least I’m not lost in some gigantic, terrifying and frozen world with no food and no water, where 900 ft tall creatures can’t see me and almost stomp me or chase me or otherwise try to kill me, where one of those giant creatures in a big yellow dress traps me in a plastic box and squeals to her coworkers that she “caught a lizard!” before releasing me into a world that’s just as scary and huge and different but equally as terrifying. Like seriously. That lizard has seen some shit. My day was cake compared to that.

But hey…

At least I didn’t step on him.

 

 

If this isn’t nice…

On Thursday night, the weather promised nothing but thunderstorms from Friday to Sunday. Halloween weekend + thunderstorms + desire to sit in and write? It’s like a perfect storm of Fuck Yeah. And as we walked home from dinner on Friday night in the rain, I was pumped for a weekend of making shit happen.

I don’t know why, but I like, need it to rain. As in, I feel like my emotional welfare depends on whether or not it storms all weekend. Probably because we haven’t had a really good rainy weekend in a long time, and I wanted to watch scary movies while curled up with hot chocolate. I miss the rain. As the deserts do. (and I miss you)

But, as it turned out, my perfect storm was short lived. It was blue sky t-shirt and shorts weather from the time we woke up on Saturday until just a few minutes ago. Blue skies and heat is basically my hibernating weather. So I spent Saturday making 1 sweaty trip to the post office, and then either napping, draining the battery on my phone from looking up memes, and writing a single paragraph before getting distracted by Googling whether or not Farrah Abraham has butt implants #important. I made us greasy hamburgers for dinner, ate too much dessert, and fell asleep around 1 AM, crossing my fingers for a stormy day.

Today, though, was one of those mornings that make you believe you’re a morning person. The sunlight was glorious, there was no humidity, and it was quiet and lovely and inspiring. I sprang out of bed early and made coffee, read in bed for an hour, made breakfast, Skyped with my family, reorganised the closet, did some shopping, made chicken and rice soup for Joel the Unwell, finished the laundry, put together some notes/plans for my stories, and I even vacuumed.  I’m telling you, I was inspired.

 

img_9278
This morning – so damn gorgeous
dscf5321
I’m *this* close to having a fully functional wardrobe. More on that later.
img_9290
$5 phone cover!
dscf5322
Christmas ornaments are out! I’m getting pumped for our tree this year, so yeah, I had to buy one. This guy’s legs dance when you pull the string #yes
14875944_10103110181528237_65908431_o
Just like ma used to make.
dscf5319
This evening – blurry but still damn gorgeous. 

It’s slow and steady, but I’m crawling out of the hole I’ve dug myself in. And it feels good, man. I’m working my way out of bad, depressive habits, which is huge, and makes me feel really optimistic. There’s a lot to look forward coming up, like Friends-giving, getting my Australian driver’s license, beach weekends, good books, outings and adventures, and The Crown on Netflix and Teen Mom UK, which should satisfy all my trash TV needs (for the time being), and far off into the future, almost 2.5 weeks off for Christmas.

I stood in our bedroom this morning, and the same thought kept running through my head:

If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.

I love our place. I love our life. And it feels like everything is getting better.

Happy Sunday, everyone!

 

 

Your 9 Year Old Self

I saw this on Instagram today –

Screen Shot 2016-10-13 at 10.00.42 PM.png
side note – I want one of these boards. And I ain’t even mad at myself for it.

 

And instantly, my first thought was, “man, 9 year old Audrey would think 32 year old Audrey is pretty lame.”

And then I thought, wait – 9 year old Audrey’s day during the school week consisted of

  • taking an hour to wake up in the morning
  • fiercely debating cutting her own bangs every morning
  • sneaking her mom’s coffee
  • taking too long to pick out clothes because she was too busy fantasising about clothes she didn’t have
  • going to school where she was equal parts I CAN DO THIS and help me I’m so overwhelmed
  • walking home through the woods so she could act out little stories running through her head
  • typing out said stories on her typewriter while listening to music; or making elaborate plans to do or build or create something; or drawing killer whales, researching killer whales, becoming a killer whale, basically engaging whatever I was obsessed with at the time
  • staying in the bath (never a shower – thanks Psycho) until the water turned cold
  • falling asleep while watching a movie
  • waking up to go to bed and reading books or comic strip collections until she passed out with the lights on

And I was all “that’s basically my same routine now.” So I’m basically living like my 9 year old self was watching. And my 9 year old self thinks I’m pretty rad – I mean, I can take showers without the fear of a cross dressing schizophrenic with PTSD stabbing me to death. I mean, I’m sure she’s disappointed that I’m not a marine biologist/killer whale trainer by day, novelist by night, actress and movie director on the weekends, married to Brad Pitt and living in a log cabin with a herd of dogs, but hey. You can only do so much in 23 years. Plus, now I can stay up late watching movies whenever I feel like it. Fuck yeah.

Hey inner-child, high 5!

img_9155.jpg
So early 90’s it hurts. Not pictured: Brad Pitt Legend of the Fall poster directly to the right of those sick Aladdin wall decals.

How would your 9 year old self judge you?

xo

to do, to do, to do

To-do lists? Fuck yeah. I love making a to-do list and scratching off items. It’s fantastic because I get to be all YES I AM THE MOST PRODUCTIVE PERSON EVER and it makes me feel like I’ve made the most of my day and consequently, my life.

But when I haven’t finished everything on my to-do list because I got distracted Googling Jenelle Evan’s latest pregnancy (confirmed via police report!) or by something else equally important I feel twice as worse, 1) because I didn’t finish the list and 2) because I didn’t make the most out of my rapidly slipping time.

Making the most of my time. Time. You bitch goddess. When I’m sitting at my desk trying to make it through a day so painfully bad that I’d skin puppies alive just to go home, the clock almost moves backwards. When I’m at home and it’s raining and we’re just lounging and having a good time, it’s goes from 11 AM to 8 PM in the blink of an eye. The relativity kills me, because I’m obsessed with the idea of making the most of my time, trying to live each day to its fullest, trying to live each day in a way I would be proud to look back on.

Notice how I said “obsessed with the idea of” because I definitely don’t practice it. Well, I mean, I don’t practice it in the way that would typically mean “living life to its fullest.” I’m not out sky diving or skinny dipping in shark nets or travelling the world or exploring every knook and cranny of my new country. I’m sitting on the couch with Joel eating an amazing dinner and watching a great movie. I’m hitting publish on a blog I’m particularly proud of. I’m thinking of projects I would love to do one day. I’m making crafts or plotting re-decorating strategies. I’m meeting friends for dinner and then coming home at 11 PM to sweat pants and bad TV. I’m obsessively cleaning or re-arranging. I’m looking up animal videos and comics on the internet. It’s not sexy and it’s not glamorous, and most of the time doesn’t even add up to good blog material, but it makes me happy.

But it’s this constant battle of “I’m totally happy – but since I’m not doing more, I don’t feel like I should be happy.” Because regardless of how you define living life to its fullest, happiness is the end goal. Yep, I’m a pretty lame home body who enjoys an occasional adventure or weekend night of too many glasses of wine. I want to do that stuff and I want to write. That’s basically all I want to do, what makes me happy. If, at the end of the day, I can say I accomplished something, I feel like I’ve made good use of my time. And when I can look back and I don’t hate myself, I feel like I’m making good use of my time, and living life to its fullest. Double whammy.

That being said, I’m on the fence of how efficiently I’ve spent my time off. I made the mistake of falling off the deep end with my goals and decided I would read 3 books and write 2 stories and 14 blogs and attend 5 meet up events, keep the damned table cleaned off every single day, completely rid myself of every bad habit ever and get myself on a schedule that includes daily writing, posting, and washing my face 2x a day, deep clean every square inch of our apartment, make a quilt, and catch up on seasons 5 and 6 of Downtown Abbey.

While I didn’t completely rid myself of every bad habit ever, I did wake up at 7 AM almost every day. And I didn’t get myself on a schedule, but I found work, read most of a book, started free writing again, stayed on top of the laundry and dishes, found a writing group and a book chat club, had two hair appointments, re-organised my closet and our desk, had phone chats and skypes with my nearest and dearest, made an earrings board, did lots of grocery shopping, made lots of meals, deconstructed a dress for it’s fabric, and I’ve taken like 5 bubble baths.

But because those few boxes are left unchecked, I feel like this has been a wasted opportunity. Forget that I actually decompressed and had a lot of “ah-ha!” moments and some hard talks with myself and some good journaling time and got lots of inspiration and the re-charge that I desperately needed, because I didn’t come out of this holiday a well-read, published author with 100 adventures documented and a finished quilt and a completely clean house, I feel like a failure.

You know what though, fuck it. I started writing this entry yesterday, and today, I don’t feel like a failure. I take it all back. This has been a great, much needed resting period. I’ve gotten a lot of my shit together. I may not have accomplished as much as I expected, I did accomplish. And I don’t hate myself over it. Just because I didn’t do everything doesn’t mean I won’t ever have the chance to do it another time. The hardest part of getting out of this depressive stint is not beating the shit out of myself when I don’t perform as well as I want to, as well as I expect myself to. I really wish there was a way to pause my notion of “expectations” until I feel like I’m capable of meeting them, but them’s the bricks. And in the mean time, I’ll just have to try and manage those expectations as well as I can.

And we get to have burgers and ribs for dinner last night because Joel is awesome.

 

And as of this morning, I finished that book I thought I would have finished last week. Sheeeeit. Time well spent.