The Vapors

The fireplace and hallway. See the peaceful Buddha

Sometimes I feel like it’s not just the house that is coming under fix-it.

On Friday, the contract proposal was announced by a flicker of blue on the right side of my screen. At that moment, I was reading about category management–because that’s actually a thing–and the quick slide in and out at the corner of my laptop almost escaped me.

Except not really. It was after 5 pm. To be fair, it was just barely. Like 5:04:21 pm or so. I was expecting the email. They said I’d get it by the end of the week. This firm is all about making commitments. I really like that about them.

The email was here and wasn’t going anywhere, so I followed a link to an HBR article about new-fangled procurement models. This is a joke in that I don’t know anything about old-fangled procurement models. I was studying.

The Spouse was on his ongoing work-about, in which he works for daze on end sans respite. But he does have running water. And coffee. It’s not the Outback. It’s The Mall.

My brain was twitching just behind my right eye. It wanted to open the email. It saw that glimpse of aqua and processed the letters to see that they were in the right place–like a partially completed crossword puzzle–to expose the name of our Project Manager.

Open. Open. Open.

The reptilian part of my brain was shutting down that idea. There would be nothing good exposed via that email. My internal crocodile knew that we had blown significanltly past our original scope. The number would be huge. To survive we should slither-swim by. With half-closed eyes. Our tails waving goodbye.

Open. Open. Open.

Enough croc-brain! I have the smelling salts in hand. I opened the email. And I sucked air. But I was still breathing.

The next few days I walked around with a new hallway, a new kitchen, a new bathroom, a new deck, a new den, a new office, a new staircase swirling around in my head. I really liked it.

I also turned the finances around and around and around. It seemed fair for the work. It’s still huge. Like a big rock wall in the desert. How to get to the other side? I couldn’t sleep.

I never can’t sleep.

Big decisions are so hard. What we can do can be different than what we should do. Capacity is as much about pushing limits as being within limits. I turned to Dad.

My dad hated debt. He didn’t want to have obligations hanging over him. He was adamant about keeping things in good repair. He’d replace a roof at year 14 of a 15 year lifespan. He mowed his lawn and shoveled his walk. He was responsible and sober.

As I walked to the subway, I wondered what my father would say about this big investment.  I began the budget analysis, and I heard his words. They were coming from behind my right ear, from the back of my head. It was about those shoes. He was speaking clearly.

In middle-school, I wanted a pair of shoes. They were white and had teardrop cutouts next to the buckles. They would be my first pair of high heels. Many girls at school were wearing these very shoes. At my behest, Dad drove me to Bakers Shoes. I tried on the desired pump. I walked up to him and asked him if he liked them. He said, “If you like them, buy them.”

If you like them, buy them.

Dang. I was feeling like Ray Kinsella from Field of Dreams hearing his daddy’s voice in the cornfield.

If you like them, buy them.

That was it. He was telling me to follow my heart. Not the money.

I wasn’t expecting that. Not at all.

I’m not saying that my dad actually gave me advice. I know that he’s been dead for nine years. I know that. That said, I think that he was telling me something.

I told you. This is not just about the house.

Shoe In

A pair of worn out sandals. They were good while they lasted.

It’s summer today. Actually it became summer day before yesterday, but I was in the office that day. This is important because I don’t wear the same apparel during my off time.

I am not a fussy dresser. My working wardrobe palette consists of black, white, blue, red, green and a little khaki. These don’t represent a wide array of colors because there is a single shade of blue (sapphire), a single shade of green (emerald) and a single shade of red (ruby). Makes mixing and matching pretty much redundant. My working wardrobe style is classic. No frills. No lace. No prints. No stripes. I do have two items with polka dots, one black with white and one white with black.

I’m pretty simple on the shoe front, too. My shoes are black. My boots are black. I wear black shoes.

I’m no more fussy with my casual wardrobe, except I really don’t care much about what I wear. There may be a few more colors since there are t-shirts from shows and sweaters from the discount racks. I have a few pairs of jeans for fall and winter and some cropped pants and shorts for spring and summer. Cowboy boots for cold weather and sandals for warm.

This being my first day off of summer I rummaged around for hot weather wear. I had a coffee date at the farmer’s market and the temp was already in the red zone. I dug to the bottom of the other dresser to find a pair of shorts. I rifled through the back of the other drawer to find a tank. I was happy to skip the socks.

That’s when I realized that there were no longer any old summer shoes. You see, I wore them all out.

It’s a little odd that I have no well-worn shoes to start off the summer. I usually have an old pair of sandals and an older pair of sandals and some type of dilapidated slip on sneaker. Any given beginning of summer, I would have at least one of those at my feet.

Not this year, though. I remembered that the older pair of sandals got pitched last summer because I kept turning my ankle when I wore them. The Big Guy made a good case for my safety. This made the old pair of sandals the older pair. Turns out they were a wreck, too, as I discovered when I cleaned out the closet. I put them in the trash to extinguish any impulse to wear them this year. The sneakers had holes in the toes and no treads left. Also deep-sixed.

There were, however, a new pair of sandals. I bought them at the end of last year. I don’t really like them, to be honest. They aren’t very attractive, and they aren’t out of the box comfortable. I didn’t send them back in time so I was stuck with them. I put them in the back of the closet. There were also some new sneakers, purchased three weeks ago. They are attractive, and, I believe in my heart of hearts, they will be well worn and very comfy later this summer. Today, though, they are a bit stiff and rub on the joint of my big toe.

So, here I am, the beginning of summer with only shoes to break in. No old worn shoes to start my season. Poop.

I grabbed my big straw hat with the black ribbon that trails almost to my shoulder and started the work of transforming the new sandals into old sandals. They will be that way for two years before they become the older sandals. I’ll get a new pair to become the old sandals and then I’ll be back on schedule.

Disco Inferno

Oh Kanye!

Dude, I so love your music but mostly your vulnerability. You have such passion and such angst, it makes your art. And you know that a good row makes for good sales. I remember when you and 50cent went at it. That day you both dropped your records in the background of a shitstorm bet. Likely you both sold way better because of the noise. Actually we know you both sold better.

So today there was a cacophony about your new joint. Looks like you’re dissing Taylor Swift–hate to say this, but–again. The lyric in question

“I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex. / Why? I made that bitch famous.”

Then you go through some B.S. rigamarole about calling a woman a bitch is okay, even “endearing” in hip hop.  It’s a term affection just like you call folks “Ns”.

Did you see what I just did there, Kanye? I didn’t call anyone an “N”, because I am white. So, you get to do that and I don’t. And I’m fine with that.

But one other thing, you don’t get to call me, or Taylor, a bitch, either. You can call 50 a bitch. And you can call Luda a bitch. I don’t care. But don’t you call a woman a bitch, because it’s not the same. At all.

Bad friggin’ blood.

Another thing I know. More folks are listening to this song. This is likely what you’re going for. And your art.

Oh Taylor!

Tay Tay has her people out on this.  You’ve been one of my guilty pleasures. You have that manufactured vulnerability, too. And I am a sucker for it. And your catchy pop tunes.

But where did your little bro come from? I didn’t know he spoke on your behalf until today. I didn’t know he existed until today. I guess he was so mad at Kanye that he threw out a pair of his Kanye West branded sneakers. We know this because he did this via a post on Instagram.

I hope someone did a dumpster dive and grabbed those $200 kicks and resold them on eBay. I hear they’re going for $800-900 on the resale market. Hmmmm. I wonder if Kanye gave them to the Swift family.

Speaking of resale, all this noise continues to make Taylor Swift famous. #justsayin

Curtis knew. So did I. So do I.