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Sometimes I Have These Random Thoughts and Experiences


Sometimes when I try to remember the spelling of a certain word, I look at it for so long that I'm convinced it's no longer a word.

Sometimes when I arrive at a destination, I don't remember certain parts of the trip, but I hope that I still obeyed traffic laws while getting there.

Sometimes when I eat a sandwich, the bread gets stuck to the roof of my mouth and I momentarily worry that it'll never get unstuck.

Sometimes when I take a shower, it all seems so familiar that I can't recall if I've washed and conditioned my hair, or just thought about washing and conditioning my hair.

Sometimes I suspect the one reason that most of us know the meaning of the word belated is because we live in a society where people periodically forget birthdays.

Sometimes when making very simple side dishes, like macaroni and cheese, I have to take the box out of the trash multiple times so I can re-read the directions.

Sometimes when I'm reading a book at night, I tell my husband that I'll come upstairs in just a minute, and he always wishes me good night because he knows better.

Sometimes when I experience a sudden sharp headache, I wonder if it's about to be a brain aneurysm, but so far, so good.

Sometimes when I see how many crumbs are in the drawer where we keep our silverware, I wonder if a member of my family actively shakes the toaster over it.

Sometimes I not only forget what day it is, but also what month, and for that weightless moment, I feel entirely unhinged, like I'm no longer tethered to time, responsibility, or real calendars.  Then, the sensation passes just as quickly as it arrived, and I'm like, "Oh, it's May. And Thursday."

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Not Cashing In the Coupon Book

Many years ago when I visited my parents' house, I discovered a small coupon book that I must have made for my mother when I was a child.  In printed handwriting I didn't recognize as my own, I had offered my services to fold laundry, do dishes, vacuum the family room, and take out the trash.  From the looks of the booklet, my mom never had cashed in her coupons.

Back then, I didn't understand this.  Surely, she would have appreciated if my seven-year-old self had pitched in with a few extra household chores, right?

In my current stage of life, however, I've now received a few coupon books on Mother's Day like the one I once made, but I doubt that I'll ever cash in my own children's coupons, either.


These books document heartfelt and helpful intentions, even if they're misaligned and stapled crookedly.  They capture a time when my kids can't spell the word table, yet they confidently proclaim that I'm the World's Greatest Mom.

Obviously, this tender phase won't last forever.  (I mean, the World's Greatest Mom title clearly will stick, but at some point these kids are going to have to learn to spell.)

Mom, I get it now.  Years later, I understand not cashing in the coupon book.

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Just Because You Have a Basement...

This is a particularly glorious week.  You see, last week I finished the spring semester, and next week I start the summer semester, which means that I'm off this week.  Officially off.  Like, just barely checking email off, or stopping by the office only once to sign some paperwork off, or not seeing any students, or teaching any classes, or grading any kind of anything off.

Let me say it again: it's glorious.

And, since I'm eternally ambitious, I decided to use the week to paint our basement, which, in retrospect, is a terrible way to spend your one week off when you're weary from the prior 16 weeks that have been entirely on.  It's like going out for a run after you've finished a marathon.

Right as I was putting my sixth grade algebra to good use by calculating the area of our basement ceiling and deciding how many gallons of paint to buy from Lowes, I spoke out loud, as if my heart knew something my mind hadn't grasped yet.

"You know, I don't want to paint the basement." 

My husband looked at me as if I were returning to the land of common sense and reasonable judgment.  "Good," he said.  "Just because we have a basement doesn't mean you have to paint it during your one week off."

Just because you have a basement doesn't mean you have to paint it.

Oh people, I've never been so happy to not paint a basement than I've been during this week of non-basement painting.  These past few days, instead of taping baseboards, I've read books and magazines.  Instead of spreading drop clothes, I've taken walks.  Instead of using my one-and-a-half inch angled brush to cut in edges, I've done little projects -- fun ones -- around the house that I've neglected over the past few months.

Instead of going, going, going, and doing, doing, doing, I've occasionally planted myself on my front porch and just stayed planted.  Because I could.  Because nothing else, not even a basement that's waiting to be painted, was truly vying for my attention.


Just because you have a basement doesn't mean you have to paint it, after all.

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