Monthly Archives: January 2013

Salvation at Lowe’s

As I mentioned earlier, my daughter and her husband are rehabbing a house around the corner. Through my own aesthetic visions or their lack of time to pursue their vision, I have become their project manager. I love doing things like this. And it is so much easier to do a house thirty years after you have done one yourself.  I did my first house piece-meal, a room at a time, a dollar at a time. With the housing market as it is, they got a great deal and are able to do all the messy stuff before move in day. And I love the challenge.

But, if I start talking Burlap vs. Ostrich walls and Ancestral vs. White Dove trim, their eyes glaze over and they say they hear a baby crying, even if it is the neighbor’s.  I, on the other hand, see the project as a giant puzzle just waiting for me to fit the pieces together.  I envision a beautiful little cottage like the one that I can see on the puzzle box cover.

When I told my daughter it was time for lighting decisions, I saw the sheer panic in her eyes. But when I said we could find most of them at Lowe’s, I saw the grip on her wallet relax and she agreed to go only if her good friend Selvin, visiting for Christmas from California, could come. Selvin shares my interests in the aesthetic.  He also had a camera to take pictures of our options so we didn’t have to lug 10 boxes home and return five fixtures that didn’t fit because of color or size.

I’ll share with you a little trick about Lowe’s house fixtures and hardware. You can get great stuff there for half the price of a place like Restoration Hardware.   But you have to be careful of two things–weight and material. Some of their lighting looks great from the ceiling display and is feather weight plastic when you open the box at home. Same with kitchen knobs.  Pretty on the wall but you must hold them in your hand to see if they are at least heavier than a marble.  And I mean the super size ones, not the little guys that come with a Chinese checker board.

My only stipulation for this outing was that because of my foot cast, I would have to ride the “Call me please, Jenny Craig” cart. My daughter rolled her eyes but when she saw I was dead serious, she said, “I’ll believe it when I see it.’

Before you judge my name for said cart, I will explain that every time I see someone in one of those contraptions, rarely, I mean very rarely, are they infirmed or carrying a big green oxygen tank.  No, in my experience, they are usually about 200 pounds overweight and cannot walk on their over-burdened knees or hips far enough to buy a light bulb. My judgment might also have to do with the fact that I own a house in West Virginia, the third most obese state in the country,  and the Walmart there has more riding carts than grocery carts.

As our party of three arrived at Lowe’s, my daughter and Selvin walked ahead to start scouting fixtures and I lagged a bit behind hobbling over to the riding cart section.  When I finally caught up to their aisle in my mean machine, I turned the corner with a “Look , Ma, no hands!” pose and didn’t realize until Selvin texted this picture yesterday, he was playing paparazzi rather then snapping images of floor lamps.

Some say a picture can say it all, and this one does.  The last few posts, I have talked about “needing a little help” and I didn’t even notice the sign on the cart until this photo arrived.

We had a great time. We found a few fixtures. I went aisle to aisle in my cart.  It even had a horn for close calls, which most often happened when I was tailgating my daughter’s behind.  For a few hours, I was thinking about everything and everyone but myself.

And oh, it was such a relief.

Open only if you watch Downton…

It was brought to my attention that the web address for my LOL Downton spoof would not open so I am posting it here. Also love the irony that the site is called the  Who needs Abilify when you can just go there in one click?


Abilify and Downton Abbey

After my last post, I have been touched by empathic responses to my depression and winter” blues.” Some readers reached out to pull me out of my doldrums and I heard from others sinking in my proverbial boat. All of this reinforced my intentions. I was trying to articulate the darker side of all of us and let you know I am not all pumpkin pie and eye shadow tips. Not that anyone who really knows me thinks that for a second. I always say my house is like me, everything perfectly tidy and in its place but if you open a closet, all the real stuff is shoved out of sight in a jumbled mess.  I’ve been working a bit on my personal “closets” since that post and I can at least shut the doors now without using my hip. So things are looking up.

I was watching a commercial about depression tonight and noticed Abilify is a drug to add to your present anti- depression medication.  I was  musing about what drug I might choose to add it to when I saw that Abilify is accompanied by an over involved eye-balled umbrella handle that follows you through your newly uplifted life.  I decided to stick with the “pull myself up by the bootstraps” technique first rather than rush into drugs that come with talking rain gear.

Not that I am against them.  I’m actually a fan.  Serotonin, that chemical that keeps your brain synapses hopping and maintains your happiness quotient, can run low on charge like your car battery. And no matter how many times you try to start the car, sometimes you just need a jump to get it up and humming smoothly again.  (That is psycho-babble for serotonin doesn’t always go up to good levels and stay there every time you think happy thoughts and drugs are often the perfect solution.  Miracle workers really.)

Anyway,I just wanted to check in and say that some non-drug related jump starts I have tried, and one that had amazing results for my foot recovery as well as my mood, was having a Downton Abbey marathon. As I mentioned before, I have never watched the most watched television show in recorded history and rarely even watch PBS. I know your respect for my intelligence just dropped from near genius to that of a river rock, but I am into admissions these days and actually finding them liberating. I mean until I looked for the first two seasons on Netflix, I thought it was “Down-town” Abbey which is probably why I could never find the show in the first place when cruising the alphabetical TV listings.

So when I finally found it and watched the first show, I was hooked.  The filming, the costumes, the countryside by themselves are mesmerizing, even if you leave the show on mute.  But the plot is simple and real and human, just like all of the characters.  I started at 10:00 AM on a Saturday morning and finished the first season by 3:00 AM.  (That included getting up three times after midnight to watch the last three episodes.) By Tuesday, I was all caught up on season two and had given my foot, and mind, a well-earned rest from reality and the daily grind.

For now, escapism is my solution to the blues and if you are one of the other dinosaurs who has missed Downton Abbey, get on board. You will not regret it.  And for those of you who have been watching for the past two years, this site will slay you.  I laughed out loud.  (Not LOL.  The real thing is louder and much healthier.)

Poor Edith!  And I thought I was in a sad place…


The Blues


Since I wrote last, I tried my best to keep my Blueberry Christmas vow.  I let my grandson trim the tree with me and didn’t move the ornaments he placed. Not even secretly after he was in bed.  Huge advancement in fighting my OCD perfectionism.  I started Christmas shopping the week before Christmas and with the help of my best friend Amazon, everyone had a present wrapped and under the tree by the 23rd.  A land speed record for me.

I had my annual Christmas Eve gathering and didn’t panic when it started at five and all  the food was not on the table and extra hands in the kitchen had not arrived. Overall, I hung in there, foot in cast and all, and we had a great holiday.

But in the midst of the holiday festivities, I had a nagging, uncomfortable aching behind my smiles and laughter.  It started when my mother told me a childhood friend’s twenty-five-year-old son had been killed in a motorcycle accident in LA, the day before Thanksgiving.  The vision of their perfect child sliding under a city bus replayed in my mind, especially late at night. With my son’s battle with cancer, the reality of someone experiencing what I fear most pushes my worst nightmare to the forefront of my mind rather than staying neatly tucked in the back behind my obsession with death by tornado where I like to keep it hidden.

The news of the December 14 shooting in Connecticut was the icing on my sad sack cake. Watching the press coverage of all those faces of anguish and horror and shock sent me back to, May 20, 1988, when a babysitter named Laurie Dann entered my daughter’s second grade classroom and shot five children, leaving one dead. For one of the longest hours in my life,  I didn’t know if my little girl was dead or alive. Her school shooting, too, was a Friday.  Her school was also entered around 9:30 AM. I couldn’t look at those innocent faces. The parents’ twisted expressions of unthinkable grief.  I am haunted by their unopened presents under the tree and the hopes they had for their babies. A town forever changed. Lives that will have a gaping hole in every family portrait. Every uncelebrated birthday.

Yearning for a quiet place to take a deep breath, sit with a cup of morning tea, I found I had no place to do it.  I stopped seeing my house as a happy, joy-filled place full of giggles and wonder.  Instead it felt like a wild, jumbled jungle of two-year-old toys, two-year-old pitter patter, two-year-old constant chatter, six-month-old smiles and spit up and “cry it out” at bedtime.  Booster seats and potty seats left me looking for my seat.

Yes, being in the midst of the young parent days I have already lived through is at times exhausting. But more, it’s a constant reminder of the passage of time. In a blink, my days of dry Cheerios on a high chair tray, haul and drag it all to Grammy’s and back, Aunt Ruth’s for the State Fair,  August beach vacations, diapers, big wheels– they are all gone.  And I am face to face with the reality of fewer years to live than I have lived.
In my blue funk of looking back with some regrets and feeling unsettled in my present, I even forgot to pull out our 60-year-old copy of The Night Before Christmas this year. And we have a child in the house to be awed by it.
So as you can probably tell, I’ve been in a low place.   A combo  dose of my mom’s side of the family’s over-sentimentality gene and some heavier winter blues. Perhaps I am headed for some Prozac. Or “reboot” therapy.
Or both.
But more likely, I will pull myself up by the bootstraps, as my mother used to say.
That is if I can find them.  Whatever bootstraps are.