The day before yesterday was a pleasant February surprise. The temperature was an all time high and he wind was whistling. Wanting to enjoy as much of this as possible I opened all the windows and shades to let in the sun and fresh air. It felt great!
Then, I sat down to browse lazily through a magazine and noticed that the wind had blown the dust bunnies out from under the furniture and they were scampering across the floor. Looking a little closer around the room it was not possible to ignore the sun highlighting the dust on the coffee table and the windows themselves had little luster. As long as I remained closed in behind drawn curtains and closed windows and doors the light from a few lamps revealed little that needed the attention of a dust cloth or vacuum cleaner, but with the sun lighting up every corner the mess accumulated there can’t be ignored.
So, it seems a little housekeeping just had to be done. I am not, however, a really big dummy so I first closed the windows and drew the curtains. The place was looking better already. A quick flick over all furniture tops with a Swiffer and a session with the vacuum cleaner made a big difference. Just for good measure I damp moped the floors and scrubbed the bathrooms. I think this will last until spring really gets here when those damn windows will have to be dealt with.
This is not how I was raised to clean house. Both my mom and mother-in-law would not have approved at what they would call half measures. Dusting for instance involved removing every item on each piece of furniture followed by liberal amounts of lemon oil on a cloth rubbed over the entire surface, legs and sides included, then each item carefully wiped with a clean cloth and replaced EXACTLY where they were to begin with. The floors would be vacuumed, then mopped and finally wiped dry. Windows would never get really dirty since they would be cleaned early in the spring, several times through out the summer and again late in the autumn. I recall being told that only common trash pulled the curtains over a dirty window. Personally, I am happy to sit my butt down among a little dust to play with the dog or just relax.
Today I got my camera out of the closet and charged up the battery. Then I installed the accompanying software onto the computer and spent time studying the manual for the camera and online instructions for uploading pictures and printing them. So what? Well this camera was a gift from my family that Teri choose. She and I intended for me to learn about photography with her. Her death last November canceled those plans. I tried to take a few pictures during the holidays but I couldn’t. I couldn’t focus through tears. So I put the camera away for a while.
There have been only small changes in the grief her father and I are living through. The wound is still raw, but bleeding less. We are very gradually able to be in the company of friends and enjoy that. We are taking care of legal matters that we were unable to even think about at first. Just last week we traveled south for a visit with my brother and his family that gave us both a few much needed relaxed days. For the most part we deal with one day at a time now. At first five minutes without breaking apart was a challenge.
Personally I have found setting short term goals one at a time and only moving on to the next when each is met. One of the first Thanksgiving dinner. Check. Next was to host a reveal party for my pregnant granddaughter. Check. Then Christmas. Check.
When we left the hospital after Teri’s death I brought with me among her things a tote bag of knitting projects she always had with her. It sat in the corner of the spare bedroom until the end of January because I could not even look at it any sooner. The last day of January I dumped it all out, rolled up the balls of yarn and took the unfinished items to a knitting shop to get someone to complete them. Those are ready to be picked up and I will give them to the grandkids. Check.
Today it was start taking pictures. Check. Next I want to get back to going to meetings of the Paducah Free Thinkers. I miss those guys.
On Tuesday I get to go to Brittany’s doctor appointment with her and on Sunday I will provide refreshments for her baby shower.
In this journey I feel like a baby crawling along and just beginning to pull up with something to hold on to, but not really ready to take that first step and then walk. But I am crawling faster and standing longer so walking can’t be that far away. Baby steps advance down the road slowly at best, but they will get me there — eventually.
Here’s the thing about tough old broads. They are down right mushy on the inside. These hard shelled old gals are as soft and sweet as a marsh mellow under that crusty exterior. Tough old broads didn’t get tough or old by taking crap. Lots of people tried giving them crap and for a while when they were very young they put up with some, but not much. And the longer they live and the more they learn the less they tolerate crap. They stand up for themselves, and they stand up for those they care for.
A tough old broad may not be able to kick your ass, but if you mistreat someone they care for they can make you wish they would just go ahead and punch you out. And there is always the possibility you’ll have to prove that you can take that old gal, and how big and bad are you really going to feel if you beat up an old lady? Better to just shut up and go away. Trust me, much better.
Once upon a time a tough old broad I know was waiting in a check out line behind a younger woman with a small child in tow. The child was unhappy and crying and the woman jerked the baby around and growled at her to “shut the fuck up”. The old broad began tapping her fingers on the shopping cart and took a deep breath. The child was crying and sat down on the floor. The woman jerked the baby by the arm and smacked her butt, telling her again to “shut the fuck up”. The old broad stepped up close to the woman and in a soft voice told her not to jerk the child around again. Yep, you guessed it. The woman told the old broad to mind her own damn business and jerked the baby up by the arm. So, the old broad asked the cashier to please call security and moved between the woman and the child and told her that she was not going to let her mistreat the child anymore. As the old broad was dialing 911 on her cell phone and reporting child abuse and requesting an officer the woman was yelling about you old bitch needs to shut up and going to be an ass kicking and how dare you, blah, blah, blah. The old broad stood calmly looking the woman in the eye for the few minutes it took security to arrive and try to calm the woman down. Soon the police came and guess what? The woman became more humble and apologetic and didn’t want any trouble and she would never hurt her baby, she just was trying to teach her how to act, blah, blah, blah. The police assured the old broad that they were contacting social services. The old broad stayed around long enough to be sure they got the name and address of the woman, then paid for her purchases. This, youngsters, is how it’s done. This is how tough old broads managed to get old and tough.
Tough old broads understand bullies. They have been bullied and figured out that bullies are generally cowards. If you pay attention you will notice that bullies prefer to pick on someone who won’t or can’t fight back. A bully might still kick your butt if you stand up to them but they will most certainly kick your butt if you don’t. So, tough old broads make a point of not taking crap and when folks figure out that they don’t take any crap, well they don’t get any.
Doesn’t sound all that soft does it? The soft part comes when a tough old broad sees someone else getting crap that they don’t deserve. Their big hearts break at abuse and injustice. These old gals love with their whole souls and defend loved ones with the courage won from a lifetime. Tough old broads are who you want watching your back.