Nobody’s Perfect!

I think it started at conception because I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t pushed around by a perfectionist bully and it screaming in my ears, “You gotta be perfect to be loved and accepted in this world. Nobody likes a failure!”

Nobody told me that it was okay to make mistakes, that they’re all part of growing up and learning and discovering who I am. Nobody told me that not everyone performs at the same level; that we all enter this world wrapped with our own special talents and skills.

So it was really tough for me in school; especially when it came to Math. How I hated Math! Made no sense to me whatsoever. And how painfully vivid I remember sitting at my desk in the third grade, the sweetest teacher I ever had trying her darndest to help me understand the stupid problem glaring at me from the page. But what she didn’t understand was how hard I was trying and how utterly embarrassed and angry and frustrated I felt until I plopped my head on my desk and cried. Exasperated, she shook her head and walked away leaving me crying and feeling like the dumbest kid in the class.

And to make up for my failure in becoming a mathematician, I dared not ever turn in my homework with eraser marks all over it. No, sir! I kept redoing it, over and over, wasting time, energy, and paper till I got it right; no eraser marks, no wrinkles, tears or smudges. One hundred percent perfection.

I could go on and on about the wreckage perfectionism caused throughout my life, but this short post would become a thousand page novel. Instead, I want to share how I’m gradually accepting the cruel hard fact that I am not and never will be perfect.

It started with my sweet daughter-in-law. No, she hasn’t bribed me and doesn’t even know I’m writing this post. She is the most well-rounded, self-confident person I know with a bubbly, joyous attitude that brightens any room she enters.

And besides being a faithful, dedicated, top-notch nurse, wife, mother and grandmother, she’s not overly bothered with crooked pictures hanging on the wall, dirty laundry, and dishes in the sink; unlike her perfectionist mother-in-law. She spends her time and energy enjoying life instead of agonizing whether or not every hair is in place before sticking her head out the door.

So do positive, non-perfectionist people really have an effect on others? Well, let’s see: I’ve got dirty dishes in the sink, an unmade bed, and dirty laundry. The screen on my back porch is torn, the deck is green from algae, and my carpets are pee-stained in every room. Oh, and the toilets are yelling, “CLEAN ME!”

And I have to say that, although I’m still a perfectionist-junky, I am gradually kicking the habit. That doesn’t mean that I don’t want to jump up, wash those dirty dishes, stick a load of clothes in the washer, and make up the bed. And it surely doesn’t mean that I’m jumping up and down with joy that things are old and falling apart that we can’t afford to fix right now. What I am saying is that I’m learning to live in peace with it.

So what does perfectionism do for you? Well, if you enjoy being tied in knots every day of your life; feeling like a total failure; afraid to do anything for fear of not doing it perfectly; comparing yourself to others; tossing and turning all night because you did or said something wrong; working yourself to death, getting ulcers, and making others miserable, then it goes above and beyond tearing your life apart.

I thank God that He has put all the right people in my life that have taught me to love myself, defects and all, and to stop being so hard on myself. I’m thankful that I no longer feel like I’m being scrutinized under a microscope when I enter a room full of people. And I’m thankful that, although my childhood was miles from being perfect, God gave me the parents He wanted me to have, that one day, in His own perfect timing, He would reveal His perfect love and forgiveness to me.

Okay, I just couldn’t stand it anymore. It’s 11:34 pm and I just got back from tossing the dishes in the dishwasher and wiping the stove, and countertops. But, I didn’t scrub the kitchen sinks till my fingers bled, and all the other chores are still waiting in line, so I’d say I’ve made some progress today. Not bad since I used to scrub and clean every single day and still feel my house wasn’t clean enough. I can honestly say those days are far behind me, except for an occasional relapse. But hey, nobody’s perfect!

 

 

 

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It’s a Pain in the Feet!

It started ten years ago with numbness, mostly in my left foot, and my right foot feeling as though I had a marble in my shoe when I jogged. But, because I stubbornly believed and still believe that moving is good for the body, I continued jogging for seventeen years. No, I’m not a glutton for pain, I just learned to push through it. I’m tenacious that way.

A few years ago, however, my feet, mostly my left foot, have advanced from numbness to swelling, redness, stinging and burning like they’re in a fire pit.

My doctor started me out on 1000 mg. of Vitamin B12. Doesn’t help my foot pain but helps prevent anemia so I have to keep taking it.

Then came the trial and error of anti-seizure medications, one of which was Lyrica. Well, if I needed more meat on my bones, which I don’t, gaining twenty pounds in four weeks would have been a great side effect. And since depression has been a demented tag-a-long most of my life, Lyrica, along with all the other costly so-called-pain relievers with their hateful side-effects no longer line my medicine cabinet.

So what do I do for my poor, pitiful feet? I freeze them to death in cold water, sleep with my feet sticking out from the covers, and walk barefoot around the house. In the winter, I walk outside on the deck barefoot and stand there till they quit burning.

The weird thing with neuropathy is that my feet don’t burn and sting twenty-four-seven, which is a blessing. During the day, like right now, they feel like normal feet; you know, feet that aren’t screaming their toes off. But let evening come when I want to lay down and cuddle with my dogs and watch Forensic Files on Netflix (I hate stupid commercials), my feet begin screaming like two spoiled brats demanding my full attention.

And they won’t shut up till I drag myself out of bed, fill a basin with cold water and sit and soak my feet till they’re numb. Then they’re good to go . . . till they thaw out.

So this is my three to four times daily routine when I’m at home. When I’m out shopping all day, my feet throbbing and burning, even in my high-dollar shoes, that’s another song and dance. What keeps me from going insane are visions of icebergs floating in my little white basin and plunging my naked feet into the freezing water when I get home.

Sometimes the pain is so unbearable that I feel like cutting off my feet. Then I’d probably suffer phantom pain the rest of my life with no relief at all since I’d have no more feet to soak. It’s a lose-lose battle.

And I have to tell you, neuropathy is no respecter of persons either. It doesn’t just pounce on diabetics; I’m living proof of that. Hubby’s diabetic but doesn’t have neuropathy and I’m glad he doesn’t; I just wish I didn’t!

So that’s my sob story for today. I guess my last words would be that I’d rather suffer pain I can tolerate and control than getting hooked on painkillers with worse side-effects than the pain itself.

Maybe one day there will be a cure for neuropathy, until then, I’ll just keep soaking my feet in ice-cold water in my little white basin till I can’t feel them anymore.

One Week Down

My Four-Legged Babies

It’s 2:10 pm and hubby and both dogs are still sound asleep. I thought of waking them, but it’s so peaceful and quiet that I changed my mind.

Bella and Pepper have been driving me nuts! For three years, Bella was the only child; potty trained, and over her chewing the furniture and pillows stage. But, after rescuing Pepper a year ago, our house hasn’t been the same. Oh, the couple loves each other, that’s for sure. But, even as sweet and gentle and dainty and loving as Pepper is, she brings out the worst in Bella; our hyperactive-tough-as-pig iron problem child. She’s more hyper, more mouthy, and has reverted back to peeing and pooping on the floor as if to say, “Pepper does it, so I can too!” Oh, and Bella’s a digger. She’s dug holes she can stick her big head into all over the backyard! And she thinks she’s a lap dog, now. A lap dog that takes up three and a half laps to sprawl on. I feel like I’m raising two kids instead of two dogs.

Well, Pepper and Bella are separated for now. Pepper was spayed Tuesday and hubby brought her home yesterday saying she has to be kept quiet for two weeks. That means two weeks of no jumping up and down like a kangaroo, and wrestling Bella to the floor and taking off with her chew toy. Two weeks of no racing Bella to their food bowl, and dancing around like a ballerina. She’s either in her crate or Bella’s in hers.

And I have to say, It’s the calmest and least frustrated I have felt in months. Hubby has a ton of tolerance, I have NONE! So yeah. I’m letting them all sleep as long as they want to today . . . and maybe tomorrow and the next day as well!

A Child’s Tea Party

 

Sitting in the large Victorian parlor with its high ceilings and antique furniture, was my grandmother and four of her dearest friends. Being a part of such classy women with their braided buns and hair nets and ankle-length dresses was the highlight of my growing up years. Sometimes I would sit at my table and color, listening to their hushed tones echoing through the room. Other times I would sit quietly, my eyes bouncing from one face to the other wondering why old people get so wrinkled.

But this day, I didn’t want to color or just sit and observe. This day I wanted to be as sophisticated as the Queen herself. Not that I didn’t enjoy having tea with my dolls. They were always willing participants. But this day I wanted real live people at my tea party.

Cup after cup made its way around the circle of women, each one swallowing the cool, clear liquid and smacking their lips with delight.

I felt so proud.

Suddenly, wondering where I was getting the water since I couldn’t reach the kitchen sink, my grandmother followed me and watched in horror as I dipped my dainty little teacup into the commode!

I think that was the last tea party I ever had at my grandmother’s house. Come to think of it, I think that was the last tea party ever!

For the Love of a Canine

Passing cage after smelly cage, dog after sad-eyed dog,

My hopes, like fat droplets of rain splattering to the dingy floor,

I thought we’d never find the one. I wanted to leave. Then we spotted her

Curled in a ball like a lonely forsaken fawn on a thin ragged blanket

In the middle of the large, cold and desolate cage.

When she saw us standing there, she sprang to life and came running,

Her tail wagging furiously. Oblivious to the deafening barking

And howling echoing throughout the heart-sickening kennel, she jumped

Up and down like a bouncing kangaroo as if auditioning for the role of a lifetime.

Unable to resist her persistent charm, we cracked the cage door, and barely

Clasping the leash to her collar, she pulled my seemingly drunken husband

Through a crowd of bystanders straight to the doggie playground outside.

Squinting against the bright sunshine, we unfastened her leash and like a flash,

She raced around the playground, sniffed a few tattered toys scattered around,

Then like a playful cheetah came charging full speed towards me.

Unable to stop, she slid completely under my chair, backed out,

Snuggled close beside me and plopped her head on my lap.

That’s when I decided that having a Greyhound mix won’t be so bad.

However, since adopting her that day, I’ve questioned my sanity,

Wondering if I would survive this long-legged, faster than lightning,

Over-active, sassy, jittery, destructive chewing, hard-to-potty-train canine.

Now, nearly a year later, Bella has become the absolute funniest, most adorable,

Loveable, playful, snuggling, heart-melting, four-legged joy of our lives!

Click on a picture to start slide show

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Opposites Attract

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

He sees his man cave as orderly as a doctor’s office

I see the aftermath of a hurricane

He wants it done tomorrow

I want it done yesterday

He sees the bucket half full

I see it half empty

He’s cool calm and collect

I’m as nervous as a jack-rabbit

He thinks before he speaks

I spew it out and think about it later

He loves a crowd

I’d rather have a tooth pulled

He likes being on center stage

I hide behind the curtain

He likes sleeping late

I like seeing the sun rise

He likes to cook

I’d rather clean the toilet

He thinks country music is soothing to the soul

I think it’s like fingernails raking across a chalkboard

On and on I could go

But there’s no point

Because with all our differences

Like a crazy quilt of many colors and patterns

Our hearts have intertwined as one

Creating a beautiful

Sometimes crazy marriage

That has not frayed or faded in forty-five years

So I guess opposites really do attract!

 

 

 

 

 

Never Give Up!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lord

I’m just going to be honest with you

I don’t like myself today

My leg feels like a gang of Ninja Turtles

Is stabbing it with knives

My house is draped with cobwebs

The laundry is piled to the ceiling

My flower beds are crawling with weeds

The dog needs a bath

The car needs washing

And I’m too tired and depressed to care!

Could I please have a new body

And a new brain

Because I’m not feeling the joy right now

Maybe I will tomorrow

Or the next day

Or next week . . .

What’s that you say?

Get off the pity pot?

Not what I wanted to hear

But you’ll have to help me up

Because of my leg and all

And you’ll have to help me to keep

Trusting you because you know

How easily distracted I get

Like when I walk into a room

And start doing something

And walk into another room

And start doing something else

Till the whole house is torn up

Driving my husband nuts

And keeping the dog confused

So help me to stay focused

And to remember the countless times

You have helped me in the past

Through harder times than these

And give me strength to endure the pain

Because mine is all used up

Give me a heart of thanksgiving

Because sometimes the darkness overshadows

The beautiful blessings that surround me

But most of all when clinging to the edge

Of the jagged treacherous cliff

And my fingers are cut and bleeding

And my hopes plunge to my toes

And help seems miles away

Help me to trust and believe in who you are

And the things you have done

And the promises you have kept

And help me above all else

To never ever give up!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Real Love

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was the worst argument ever!
My husband, sitting in his big black
Fake leather recliner, suddenly
Metamorphosed into the Incredible Hulk.
Not to be outdone, I parked my broom,
Plopped on the couch
And began shaking my long,
Crooked finger from across the den.
The battle of the wills was vicious.
Like being in a house of horrors,
Angry words went flying around and
Screeching like a bunch of demented bats.
Even the dog ran and hid.
I couldn’t take it anymore.
I grabbed my broom and flew out the door.
I almost went back, afraid of driving
Without a license, but I didn’t.
Stupid wasn’t out of my system yet.
I needed to run away. Be by myself.
Just like I did as a kid when the screaming
And shouting began at home.
Run and keep running till I collapsed
Under a tree and cried a puddle of tears,
Wishing I never had to go back home again.
Since it was too hot and I’m too old to run,
I hesitantly took the car.
There was no place in mind I wanted to go,
just away. I wasn’t liking my husband
Very much right then, and I even wanted
To crawl out of my own skin.
I pulled into a vacant lot surrounded by trees,
Under the shade, far away from people
And cars and cops. And there I finished
Spilling my guts to the glaring windshield,
The dusty dashboard, the trees dancing in the wind,
And the birds flying by. I think God was there too,
Reminding me that life is too short
And we’ve been married so long
And the argument was completely fruitless
And that I push too hard, expect too much,
And my husband can’t take it anymore!
“But I need more help with the yard,” I bawled.
“Pulling weeds and trimming trees and bushes
Are too much for me now. And besides,
He’s the one who wanted that gigantic yard!”
Three hours and a million tears
And unanswered questions later,
I turned on the ignition and slowly
Drove back home. The long way.
Through the winding country roads
Where cops seldom tread.
I pulled into the long, tree-lined driveway,
Parked the car, and grabbing my broom,
I flew back into the house.
“Do you know what a chance you took?”
Mr. Hulk flared.
And jutting my long pointy chin toward
The popcorn ceiling I screeched,
“Jep! But right now I don’t care!”
Before the sun went down like we always do,
We talked things out, going through the I’m sorry
Scenarios and how much we hate arguing,
The shame and regret that we felt,
The hugs and kisses, reassuring one another
That we will get through these hard times of
Running short of money before the end of
Every month; that God is and will continue
Taking care of us; that the VA is going to help him
With his PTSD and the horrific nightmares,
And that I will try to be more understanding . . .
And talking and working things out
Is why we’ve been married forty-five years,
Why we haven’t left each other,
Why we haven’t killed each other,
Why we understand each other . . .
So life is short and it’s tough and unfair,
Married or single, rich or poor, young or old.
But real love always wins out in the end!

Emergency Room Horrors

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Because I could barely move and felt as if someone
Was bludgeoning my back with a baseball bat
My husband called for an ambulance
No sirens
No breaking the speed barrier
Just an ambulance
Didn’t want to alarm the neighbors
During the bumpy twenty-minute ride to the hospital
Visions of angelic faces and a big happy
Giant painkiller danced through my mind
I could just see the nurses and doctors rolling out the red carpet
Rushing to my side
Covering my writhing body with layers of warm fuzzy blankets
I could almost feel the pain ebbing away as I floated off to la la land
Finally
We arrived
But worse than the persistent pain radiating from my hip down to my toes
Was the ear-ringing slap of reality across my face!
As if plagued with leprosy
Or something even worse
I was whisked away into a cold
Isolated room with flimsy curtains for walls
Rolled onto a rock-hard bed
Covered up with a skimpy heated blanket
And left there
For hours
No angelic faces
No painkillers
No hope that I would get out of this alive
Just me
And my husband
And my pain
Finally
Three hours later
And upon my husband’s threats to gouge out someone’s eyes
An x-ray technician rushed to my side
Nearly jerked me out of bed and rushed down the hall
With me limping a mile behind him to the x-ray room
Suddenly
He turned around and asked
Do you want a wheelchair?
I nearly bit off my tongue to keep from screaming
Do you want a punch in the face?
And as if he hadn’t tortured me enough with his first set of pictures
Making me stand on a cold floor
Half naked
Writhing in pain
Posing in positions my body couldn’t remember ever doing
He rushed back into my room
Told me to lift my rear and shoved a board under my back
And in spite of all my groaning and crying and pleading
He shot a million more pictures
Well
Maybe it was two
Then he left and it was just me
And my husband
And my pain
And my tears
And my wanting someone to cut off my head!
Another hour and a few more bloody threats from my husband
And a nurse charged beside my bed
Stuck a plastic cup under my nose containing one little lonely pain pill
And whispered, “Chew it up, It’ll work faster.”
The minutes dragged by
Like a one-legged old man running a three-day marathon as I lay on my side
Waiting for the stupid slothful pill to do something
Anything
Just do it!
From another curtained room I heard a man’s pitiful cries for help
Louder and louder he cried
Then came a nurse’s flippant retort,
Tell him to take a deep breath!
Now things are starting to roll
The x-ray technician came bouncing back into my room
And with a big fat smile on his face, he beamed
No broken bones!
And I wanted to pull out my long sharp pointy horns and say,
I could have told you that, Einstein!
Then came the nurse with a long needle dripping with steroid
A few crippled apologies that needed a wheelchair worse than I did
And sent me home with a chewed up pain pill that got lost somewhere
Between my mouth and my brain
And a few prescriptions that I swear were laughing at me!
Limping beside my husband down the long dark depressing hallway
He helped me into a pathetic looking chair beside a paper-cluttered desk
And hustled out the door to get the car
But Hell’s fury wasn’t done with me yet!
In front of me towered a heavyset woman wearing a brazen-faced glare
And with a resonate whip-cracking voice
She demanded that I move
Because someone else needed to sit there!