The wonderfully random world and the Huron River…

I have not been in a good place to write lately. I am not the type to be stressed. I’m usually calm and have coping strategies. But I have had to stop and breathe now and again. 2021 has thrown me a little. I am not going to discuss it with you, because I’m afraid the bitterness will spill out of me and that’s not fair to dump on you. That’s like vomiting; it doesn’t make anyone happy and you have to clean it up yourself while I go vomit elsewhere.  It reminds me of this picture:

A lot of people have been vomiting words. In my favorite movie “Amadeus” the Emperor praises Mozart but adds a comment. He says, “Too many notes.” Yep, we have had waay too many verbal notes and I have mentally suffered from the incessant voices and drama. But just when I think all is not right with the world, something comes along to knock me back into a better place. This week it was, of all things, an oil change.

I went to the Subaru dealer for an oil change after nine months of being overdue. This has been weighing on me since I squinted at the sticker and realized that not only the date was long past, but the miles were too. How did that happen? I haven’t exactly been driving. But although I really wanted to get an oil change (NOT) I waited until I thought the pandemic would be over. Still waiting. Finally feeling guilty every time I drove to Redi Go for a lottery ticket and having my car stare at me, resigned, made me want to change my bad car ownership habit. So I shuffled off to the Subaru dealer.

The Subaru dealer has two waiting rooms–count them– two totally separate rooms. Nobody was in either one. I sat down in the one with the air purifier (confession time; I thought it was a heater then figured I already contaminated the chair so I had to stay there). After about 10 minutes of playing Gummy Drop on my phone, an elderly (even older than me) lady entered the room. There were four seats, and a whole nother waiting room but she had to sit down next to me. Sigh. I pulled my mask around my face and shifted my weight to the other side. That’s when she started hacking up a lung. I swear I thought she was going to keel over right there. I was tharn, like a rabbit in the headlights, unable to move. I pulled my mask so tight that I think I cut off circulation to my brain which is probably why I stayed sitting there.

Next, she made a phone call. On speaker phone of course. She had to leave a message wanting to meet her friend/relative/I’m an investigator but feel like a failure because I couldn’t figure it out/person for lunch at Yours Truly. The last time I was at Yours Truly it was about 100 degrees inside. Kind of like a Denny’s but a little better and hotter. I mentally questioned her choice but apparently it was the friend’s birthday and she had a gift to give. She left a nice loud message then hung up. She had piqued my curiosity but what happened next…well some things…

She hung up, and a loud blast came from the phone. She pushed some buttons and the blast changed.  Blaring from the phone at rock and roll head-banging volume  was “A Horse With No Name.” She glanced over and asked “Do you mind?” I shook my head weakly. We sat and listened to “A Horse With No Name” at full blast in the waiting room of the Subaru dealer. Finally they called her name, and she stood up, said “I like your coat,” I said “thank you, my son picked it out” and that was that.

In that instant I remembered why I chose a people profession. People can be hateful. They can also be random, the kind of random that makes me shrug my shoulders and smile. Who was she? Who was the friend? What on God’s green earth made her need to hear “A Horse with No Name?” Some things are unknowable. But I needed that kick of randomness to knock me back into my reality. Kind of like a string quartet playing “A Horse with No Name” on the Titanic. That would be awesome.  We are OK, friends. Go ahead and breathe…

Now lest you think I forgot about Chester, we had a superb walk in Huron. We had the family Christmas, and had arranged a meeting point between Cleveland and Toledo to swap gifts. We chose a park that sounded great, so planned to take a walk. It was a bird sanctuary. Some of you in the know are nodding wisely…you guessed it, we arrived to see a big old “No Pets Allowed” sign. Really? I get it, the birds would be scared of Chester. I did wonder what other pets they are referring to…goats? Maybe horses, or alpacas? Anyway, we arranged to meet at the Shell station on Rye Beach Road and see if Google knew of another park. My husband’s British accent lady voice took us through what probably used to be a vacation cottage town and found a very nice park. A very nice PRIVATE park as the sign said. Remember the song “Signs”? The best part of that song was the “ugh” which I totally get now. I too am done with signs!

Back to the British accent lady voice. The third and final park was the jackpot. Huron River Park was just lovely, with a nice walking path and ice in a pond. I guess it may have been the Huron River actually since it’s called the Huron River Park. That just came to me…The ice kept cracking loudly. We freaked out at first thinking it was a Squatch in them there woods. But no, just ice… I think…I hope. That’s what my sister said, and she would know. We walked a couple miles, exchanged the gifts and I am now the proud owner of a cat eating a bunch of gnomes figurine.

Chester was so exhausted he slept in the car and all that night. He was so tired! I am including a couple pictures of him enjoying the day. It was great to get out. Between that and the oil change lady I’m feeling right with the world. It’s a beautiful place!

Chester looking for Bigfoot

Chester and reality…

Last summer there was a dead rabbit in our yard and Chester was carrying it around. I told myself that it had died of natural causes and he just found it. I guess I have to rethink that theory because unfortunately, he killed another. It’s the downside of dog ownership; I know these things happen. But it’s sad. I love the bunnies. The truth is,  bunnies have been Chester’s arch-nemeses since we brought him home. He is halfhearted now about squirrels, but something about a bunny sets him off. How could he not love little furry cute bunnies? Because the Reality is, Chester is a dog.

He had no regret for his misdeed. He was pretty proud of himself and looked mighty happy. He went out the next morning and revisited the scene of the crime, sniffing around at who knows what (I know what, just don’t want to think about what) The cats have killed mice, voles, and taken the tail off of a chipmunk. The chipmunk was perfectly fine, just tail-less. I found the tail in the basement. Chester is bigger, but it’s still the food chain. He had to survive the mean streets of Cleveland somehow. It’s not warm and fuzzy, but it’s the reality of being a dog.

At work we have to do some mental exercises that may help in alleviating stress. Each day we are to apply certain strategies to manage a stressful situation. The task this week was to take a negative situation and try to reframe it to make it positive. Like making lemonade out of lemons. It irritates me to no end because I think it focuses on the wrong thing. The cause of the stress isn’t the situation. The real problem is in expectations. We use the word “should” like it’s the norm. I think that word should (😊) be banned. Why do we think we are so special that we should be happy and that it’s all about us? It’s not about should, it’s about is. It is what it is. If we always think people are only good, and we deserve only good, and people should be good to us, then we aren’t looking at reality.

Reality is facing the world head on with clear vision. We are all animals, good and bad, we pick on each other, we fly off the handle, kill each other, make mistakes and hurt each other just because we are not perfect. We are part of the food chain too. But, and this is a big but (I like big buts and I cannot lie…but I digress), if we accept this, it’s less stressful because there is no expectation or entitlement. Instead of “why me” it’s “why not me”. Not to say it isn’t difficult, but asking with these words is not as personal, it’s more about the inevitability of the situation due to being human. I don’t want to make the situation positive– It’s not. That fails to acknowledge that it happened. I want to say it is what it is. It may never be better but it happened because we are all perfectly imperfect. We have ups and downs. I’m not going to reframe the negative situation to try to make it positive–that’s not honest.

Back to Chester…is it weird that I don’t want him to lick me? Ew. I’m considering a loose muzzle for the springtime morning and evening backyard excursions. Enough is enough. I want to be able to feed the birds and enjoy the bunnies and squirrels. If he wants to chase them, he can go for it, but no more of this food chain stuff in my backyard. We spend way too much on dog food for that. So, I’ll be braving the pet store with the grandsons, which pretty much doubles my purchases. They like to get treats for Chester and the cats, decorations for the aquarium and an occasional tennis ball for themselves. We have a delightful outing and I enjoy their enthusiasm and questions. This is reality too. Knowing both realities make the sweet ones so much better.  

Chester monitoring the perimeter for bunnies.