May 2016 archive

Clogged

I would like to know how plumbing at the soul’s journey are connected. I’m not talking about internal plumbing. I’m talking about home plumbing. Since we moved into our new home, we had a plumber to our house no fewer than 6 times. We’ve lived here 6 months. (I offered them a cot on the back porch last time they were here so I didn’t have to put in anymore service calls…) Now, there’s nothing wrong with our house other than it being old, recently remodeled, and that it sat empty for 6 months prior to us purchasing it; things are bound to back up. But one day recently…I got fed up with calling plumbers and plunking down a check everytime they pulled out of the driveway.

Our new kitchen didn’t have a disposal when we moved in. Now, I’ve lived with and without disposals and let me tell you, I prefer “with.” So we purchased one from our local hardware store and installed it shortly after moving in. But one night when I had the house to myself (which meant I could clean it without it becoming IMMEDIATELY messy again), I did the dishes and suddenly, the water wasn’t draining in the kitchen sink. No. No no no no, I thought. This is not happening. I tried the old stanbys: hot water, vinegar and baking soda, plunger…nothing was working. I stared at the dirty water just standing in my sink, chuckling at me. “Plumb again, eh Salem?”
Shut up, water.
I went to Google. I learned that it could be anything from food stuck in the disposal to a clog deep in the ground that would require digging up half the house. I had a mild pity party and went to bed leaving a big, red sign on the sink. SINK IS CLOGGED. DO NOT USE SINK. I live with boys, you know, and they probably wouldn’t have thought twice about continuing to run the water despite the obvious signs of a clog…
The next morning I woke up and said to myself, “Not today, Satan. Not today.” I Googled a video about how to take the elbow pipe off the disposal. I cleared out all the cleaning products from under the sink, got a bucket, some kind of a grippy tool that looked similar to the one in the video, and went to work. The water immediately all drained out of the sink and into the bucket.
AH HA! The clog in further down the pipe! I’m like a Plumber Einstein!
Shit. The clog is further down the pipe. That means I have to dig up half my house…
“Not today, Satan.”
I Googled more. Try a Zip-It. Have you ever seen one of these?
Zip-it-tool-to-unclog-drainThey’re $2 and you shove this long piece of serrated plastic into your pipe and it grabs anything in its way. Seeing as how we’ve had 900 clogs before this one, we had one so I grabbed it. I shoved. It went into the pipe in the wall under the sink for about 6 inches. I tried pushing harder and then I imagined it breaking off inside the pipe and decided this would be worse…
I Googled more.
Pipe snake. Seeing as how we’ve had 900 clogs before this one, we had one so I grabbed it. I started trying to fish it into the pipe and I still only made it about 9 inches. Obviously snaking this pipe was not going to work. I sat quiet on the kitchen floor amidst the mess and continued Googling.
Finally, I found a suggestion: use a shop vac. Hmmm. A shop vac. We have one of those. I rolled it in from the garage and wrapped a towel around it and the pipe to get good suction. Then, I prayed.
Dear God, please let whatever is in this pipe come out so that my sink drains properly so that I don’t have to begin dipping into my retirement account (just kidding, you know I don’t have one of those) just to do the dishes. Thanks. Erin.
I clicked the shop vac on. I heard a quick whoosh and then a POP.
Shit. A pop seems bad.
I turned it off and stared at the shop vac and the pipe. Did something come out? Did I just ruin the pipe? AM I GOING TO HAVE TO CALL OFF THE WEDDING AND MARRY A PLUMBER?!
I opened the shop vac and…there it was. A piece of saran wrap. A bunch of food and a piece of saran wrap. That could have been it, right? That could have been blocking the pipe, right?!
Only one way to find out…
I put the elbow pipe back in it’s place and tightened it using my grippy tool. I took a deep breath, and turned on the water.
Swoosh. Straight down the sink it flowed. I watched it for probably 8 minutes flow into the sink, continuously, with no back up…

I AM VICTORIOUS. I raised my arms and paraded the kitchen. I AM VICTORIOUS. I HAVE BEATEN THE CLOG. I NEED NO PLUMBER. I AM VICTORIOUS.
“What does victorious mean, Mommy?” Abe asked.
“It means I win. I win at life today, Abe.”
“Oh, ok.”

I don’t know if perhaps plumbing is a metaphor for life. I Googled that phrase and nothing of significance came up, so maybe it’s just that we got super unlucky with the old pipes. But whether it does or doesn’t mean I’ve got some sort of deep-rooted issue with things flowing or with the direction of life being clear, I know one thing: I won that battle, and I will win the war.

Retrograde

11050166_852182244849576_2100505602168749641_nMercury is ending it’s 3-week long retrograde. What does that mean? It means that Mercury, closest to the sun, sometimes looks like it’s going backwards in the sky because of that way it “laps” Earth. It means that the parts of astrology governed by Mercury (communication) go backwards, too.
Life becomes a mess.
And let me tell you something. The past three weeks of my life have been…a mess.
A big. Old. Mess.
My work began to slow down.
A job I really wanted and was FULLY prepared to interview for suddenly became unavailable.
Miscommunications between myself and Bear, myself and friends, myself and Abraham…everywhere. Miscommunications causing discomfort or pain all over the place.
And then…sabotage.
Did you know that your best intentions are commonly sabotaged during Mercury retrograde?
Without sharing too much drama, Bear’s new job was quite swiftly and with mass confusion…sabotaged. All at once as he began a giant project for his new job, he was let go.
(Did I mention we’re getting married next week?)
“What are we going to do?” I asked him without tears because, frankly, I didn’t even feel like I could cry anymore. I’d lost such hope that I couldn’t imagine the point in crying anymore.
“We’re going to take things back into our own hands again.”
Without an investor, without a loan, without a guarantee, Bear stepped out in HUGE strength, faith, courage, and vulnerability, and he opened his own business.
A day after he was let go.
And that same day, the one where he invested our savings in the beginnings of a brand new business, that other job called me back and told me they’d reopened the position. Could I come in for an interview on Tuesday? Yes. Yes, I could.
I showed up for my interview early and proceeded to participate in 3 private interviews, 2 group interviews, and a short group session taught by yours truly. Five hours. It was an amazing day. I was overwhelmed and wowed and honored to have so many people’s eyes on me, believing in me, asking me questions. I felt so lucky.
I’ll find out if I got the job around the time I get married.
Next week.
Bear has already begun submitting bids, hoping to make enough money to pay at least the part of our mortgage that I can’t yet cover. He’s determined. He’s incredible and so focused. If he was even for a moment discouraged by the injustice or outright malice, he hasn’t once shown it. And he’s the only person in the world I trust to pound the pavement until success starts seeping out.
I spent today finalizing seating arrangements and ordering desserts. I talked out the schedule with the wedding coordinator and remembered I need to buy a microphone. In a middle-finger-to-the-universe moment, I even spent $12 to get my car washed. Money I probably should have used for dinner.
Mercury is in retrograde until May 22. My life has been twisted all up, flipped around all over again. And nobody likes that. But like I said to Bear, “I’d rather be happy and homeless than rich and miserable.” (But I’d MUCH rather be happy and rich. Let’s be honest.) He is my guiding light, my true north, and I am so lucky to be down in the muck with him.

“You let time pass. That’s the cure. You survive the days. You float like a rabid ghost through the weeks. You cry and wallow and lament and scratch your way back up through the months. And then one day you find yourself alone on a bench in the sun and you close your eyes and lean your head back and you realize…you’re okay.”
-Cheryl Strayed

T-8 days until I do.
#mercuryretrogradecansuckit

 

 

The Other Bus

urlI once heard a writer say that she sometimes mourned The Other Bus.
We’re all on a bus, and it’s heading in a certain direction. Yours might be a career bus, a family bus, a bus with both parents still on it, or maybe a bus with tons of travel. And as you roll along in your own bus, you will see other busses pass. You’ll wonder, even wish, “What would it be like on that bus?” There are days you’ll think you’re going to make a transfer from one bus to another, but you either miss it or find out it wasn’t heading where you wanted to go. It is my belief, though, that if you pay attention, you’ll be on the bus taking you exactly where you’re supposed to be. That doesn’t mean you won’t be sad, even depressed, when The Other Bus passes you by…the one you thought you’d be on.

Last month, I felt divinely guided to re-enter the workforce. The one outside my home. I mentioned in another blog the AGONY of beginning to send out cover letters and resumes when you haven’t done it in 5 years, how feeling like 34 years old is too late to get back in the game. I sent out so many letters and resumes that I actually got good at it. I hit every school that I could think of, google could think of, or that was recommended to me by someone else.
And suddenly…I got a reply.
I got a reply from an amazing woman who I’d worked with a tiny bit when I first moved to this city 7 years ago. She was offering me an interview.

A real life, gosh darned, INTERVIEW. For a JOB.

I was stunned. I actually gasped out loud like they do in cartoons when she confirmed the time. It felt like I moved, and God held up a sign: Keep Moving.
I was about to transfer to a bus I’d watched pass by so many times…

So what did I do? I started preparing for the interview. (Five days before it was supposed to happen.) I printed out plenty of resumes (subsequently running out of printer ink and running out to buy more), and also printed the email exchange we had and paper-clipped it neatly in a file folder. I picked out an outfit and played with my hair until I found a comfortable but proper hairstyle. I bought bells. Why? Because I told her I’d “be there with bells on”, and I do what I say I’m going to do. I paced my house practicing my responses to common interview questions. I researched the school to learn how I could align my skills with their missions. I researched the job and became clear about which parts I’d already experienced and which parts would be new to me so I could give them an honest scope of what I could offer right off the bat. I got up at 6:15am this morning, 5 hours early, and practiced my interview again so that when I was asked anything, I would have something in my mind to pull from.
I truly wanted them to see that I’d taken this seriously. I’ve been on enough theatre auditions to know that the outcome wouldn’t be correlated to my ability, but rather what it was they were looking for in a person. I could handle rejection. I just wanted to give it my best shot; a chance to get on that bus.

At 8:30am, that same amazing woman emailed me to say that the school decided they no longer wished to fill the vacant position.

And that was that.
Zoom.
The bus didn’t even stop.

I spent the rest of the day, seated at the proverbial bus stop, waiting for someone to come pick me up, crying. I cried most of the day, in between day-dreaming about the way my day could have gone. Day-dreaming about different busses I could be riding. A career bus. A bus full of kids. A bus that doesn’t have any kids and can fly anywhere in the world…

Let me make one thing clear: I know I’m lucky. I work from home. Most people would die to do that. I have healthy kids. I myself am healthy. My bus isn’t a terrible bus to be on. But I think it’s ok that, every once in a while, we acknowledge The Other Bus, a life we didn’t choose (or one that didn’t stop for us), and we just get to be sad about it. I’m on this bus and I have all these skills, all this education, and I don’t really ever get use any of it. I get to PAY for it once a month in the form of a student loan check. But I very rarely get to use it. So yes…today I mourn the passing career bus with all the women who have kids and careers.. (And I’ll bet they’re mourning my bus as it passes, too.) I’ll probably give myself one more day to feel sorry for myself, and then I’ll get back on my bus to see where it goes.

Some people become obsessed with The Other Bus. They spend their entire lives switching busses, trying to find the right one. They never just sit down on a bus to see where it takes them. I’m trying not to do that. I’m trying to let God lead me to the next stop without pulling on that little string that hangs over the windows. I’ve literally never seen one of those little strings in real life. Did they ever really exist?