Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Shifting the Sails

Do you ever go through those periods where you don't know whether to shit or go crazy?

Yeah. Me, basically.

And by that I mean it's a REAL fine line every day between "do I get my shit together" or "should I just go check myself into a mental institution for a little 90 day vacation"?

Of course I have to pick the first thing, because who else is going to sign off on the children's homework?

Also, Idaho is SIGNIFICANTLY lacking in mental health beds, and I would feel selfish taking one from someone who really needs it. Really. No joking there even a little. I'm looking at YOU, little Bitch Otter and the rest of the Idasshole Legislature...

No, I'm talking about that thing everybody [I hope] goes through where your skin starts to crawl a little and you want to cry a little and hug everyone a little but also kill them a little too and maybe rearrange the couch or start doing yoga or Pilates, but you're just not sure which.

Luckily, I had my very first chai latte and it magically calmed me right the fuck down. How come nobody ever told me about that before? You guys are all assholes.

I know there is Zen here somewhere, but all I'm getting is a Blair Witch vibe.
photo: Margie Savage

Now that hockey is OVAH and I have had a second to breathe (without inhaling any locker room stench into my lungs), I am regrouping. And I feel like I might be getting it together. And I am NOT really blaming this on hockey, though the timing is suspect....

I got back to the doctor. The one who doesn't treat her patients like cattle, but encourages me to eat a lot of cattle. And to only look at the wheat field across the street but to not ever eat any of the wheat. Because thanks to some messed up genetic gifts, I am screwed. I love wheat and all its carby-deliciousness. And it makes me so tired. And my ass as big as a truck.

I cleaned out my office. My actual work office where I go to do work for American dollars. I purged. In the chronological, legal, we-must-retain-this-for-xx-years way as well as in the how-many-of-these-dried-up-markers-do-I-need way. I slowly lifted cardboard lids to smell the perfume (or lotion, she always swore she didn't wear perfume) of my long-retired coworker. I missed her. Just like I miss her every damn day. I found this, misfiled. It went in the "keep" pile:

I got back to writing more. Differently. This one is tricky to explain but has had the biggest impact on my insides. Strike that, because it may be a solid tie with fish oil, TBH. I heard directly and indirectly about a few people who had either been following me or wanted to follow me but couldn't find me. I had never experienced stalking in a positive way before. I keep a mugshot of my negative stalker in my office just to keep the ever-rotating HR and building staff up to date so I am a professional card-carrying stalker-haver. There are now six people reading this.

I found a new platform - actually revisiting an old app I'd deleted from my phone in a rousing game of "you are out of storage space" brought on by Facebook's dumb functionality where every damn article you read lives on your phone forever so you can access it faster if you ever want to read it again. Unfortunately, I have a handful of incredibly intelligent friends who share some fantastic links and between them and NPR, I either have to clean out periodically or delete other apps. This one got cut at one point and I only recently added it back.

And I suddenly realized how much I needed it. It was like having come up from underwater and breathing air again. It is Pinterest, for readers. Or writers. And I am in love with it. I have written a few pieces under another stretch my legs and exercise writing muscles I knew I had but wasn't quite sure about. And it has been amazing. Mostly I have read and read and read some more. And I have told a couple people that I know are like minded that they have to go to there immediately so that they can breathe, too.

I got very gun shy here in 2012 and walked away completely after realizing how a few people can completely shit on what you have written. How "you're heartless", "this disgusts me", "you are so insecure", and "that was horrible" can hurt you worse than that which you wrote about to begin with. And I gave up. And then I came back.

I think this is the real reason people are nice to me now.

I read a piece that spoke to writing as if you're already dead. As if you have no job to jeopardize, no relationships to dash, nothing to lose. That then you can be authentic in your writing voice. But really, come on. I have come a LONG WAY in not letting some of those things influence me. I do not have advertisers here so there's no corporate sway (or cash!). I realized that those whose loyalties fell solidly in a camp other than mine were never on my side from the start. That the loss loss.

Instead I chose another name. A coward's way out. Not even original, Ben Franklin had Silence Dogood and a whole slew of her friends at his disposal.

And now I have been invited, because someone noticed those writings, to join another publication. I have no idea what it will entail. I have no idea what I will write. That's the rub. I am not an assignment writer, which is why writing will never make a mortgage payment for me. So help me if someone held a gun to my head and told me to crank out a poem, a short story, another blog post tomorrow...I couldn't do it. Hats off to those who can. For now, I'm just rolling up my sleeves and recognizing that it's okay that I don't just have one "style". That ToddlerBandit has his breakdowns, that DayLee Fix has her ramblings, and maybe there's just more styles. Maybe I don't have a brand. Maybe I have multiple personalities and I really do need that 90 day vacation.

I may still rearrange the couch. Which The Hubs will absolutely hate. But what he doesn't hate is that I put off his overdue haircut until my rage was contained and I found a bit of zen again. To those who encourage others to write, thank you. Please know that sometimes it is only your push that gets us back to it, even if you never see our words.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

One Hundred!

This is the ONE HUNDRETH post at the DayLee Fix!

I know, I know...for "bloggers" that's nothing. But I keep saying I'm not really a legit blogger so I'm gonna maintain that it's a big deal for me. Like, if you've ever noticed, there's no annoying ads and whatnot littering up my page here. I'm not getting paid. There are three of you reading this right now. Let me have my little moment. I don't have a lot of accomplishments in life, so I have to celebrate where I can.

I have accomplished things. Like, I have pushed three humans out my vagina. The same vagina. And I still have that vagina. And those humans. Somewhere.

I have done other things, passing a grueling certification exam that I'd rather not talk about because it's for my super boring actual real life job that I do for a real life paycheck.

That's why I say I'm "not a writer" I guess. Because I have a job.



So last week The Hubs reminded me like forty eleven times to get the oil changed in the hockey wagon before our last weekend tournament journey and I was all, "shuuut uuuuup" because he is so OCD and it's super annoying. Like I need to be reminded. Duh. The sticker is RIGHT THERE on the windshield.

And then all of a sudden it was Friday and I was like, "SHIIIIIIT." But luckily the dealer has a quick lube so I just ran over there real quick in the morning and then...because of course they did...they closed it and now all they have is their regular service area. And it was going to be a TWO HOUR WAIT. And of course I had to submit to their game because otherwise I'd never hear the goddamn end of it from you-know-who.

As I sat in the waiting area I cleaned out my purse, updated my calendar, and realized I had...time. Time to...write.

All of a sudden the unused Starbucks napkin in my purse that was destined for the trash became a valuable vessel for words. I could commune, in public yet alone, with this tiny rectangular space that suddenly became precious and sacred. I scribbled feverishly until that brown crumpled cloth was covered in ink, then I tucked it inside my Anne Taintor calendar, satisfied and less chafed over my extended wait for a simple oil change.

Over the weekend in the car, I would pull that napkin out, the only thing in my purse suitable to blot my lipstick. Seeing the black scrawling, my husband recoiled like he just caught a glimpse of a serial killer's manifesto.

"What the hell is that?"

"What? This? Nothing."

"What does that say?"

We argued incessantly over why I wouldn't let him see it. I explained that he just didn't understand and needed to respect the process of a writer, that sometimes there were things that I didn't want him to see, that it wasn't done, that it was...private. That it was difficult to explain.

He looked at me like I had three heads.

And I wondered, does this make me weird? Or does this make me...a writer?

Probably not. But on that note, and to celebrate the big One-Zero-Zero, I'm sharing my favorite writer quote of all time and deconstructing what it means to me:

"Write drunk, edit sober." Whether or not Hemingway said it, I return to it time and again to simplistically peel back what it means to pour out your authentic self on the page. To open your floodgates and let the words flow when your inhibitions are lowered, when you're tired, when you're buzzed on love or seething with hatred, when your fire is burning hottest. Then pulling back in the morning light to edit. To view your words anew with a level head, stark and raw and in need of a shave.

I hope that those three readers have felt that with me. I am genuine. I can't say that 99 posts have made people happy, made me any friends, made me famous, or made me any money, but they have showed my soul and told the truth. Thank you to those who have stuck it out with me from the beginning, including and especially my partner in crime, The Hubs...who supports everything I do and say and rolls with the punches like a sport.

I love you.

But you still can't look at my napkin.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

ToddlerBandit: Unofficial Reporter

ToddlerBandit ended up with a small following this year, thanks in part to his accidental sports reporting and his status as the unofficial (and sometimes unauthorized) mascot to his brothers' hockey teams.

He dutifully followed them like a groupie, always trying (but mostly failing) to keep a good attitude about being dragged around three states like an unwilling sack of sugar. He went where he pleased, scoping out the perimeter of any given rink and having his way like he owned the place. He loitered in locker rooms, was mesmerized by the Zamboni all alone in the cold and unsupervised, and lay like a starfish in the middle of high-traffic lobbies, unapologetically making spectators and players step over him. Much of his attitude and actions depended heavily on how close it was to, or whether he had missed: NAPTIME.

I decided to have a little fun by documenting his point of view for the games so that people who were missing the action wouldn't feel left out. And by "people", I mostly mean "Grandma" and maybe like one or two aunties. I expected that very few folks would have any interest in a recap written by a second year hockey mom who barely knows the rules, writing from the view of a kid who got his nickname from being little, looking cute, and stealing your heart (and all your shit).

The first breakdown? Not even called a breakdown.
It's was ToddlerBandit's analysis of LC Squirts' two losses to Tri-Cities.
*They would only have one more for the entire season.*

When we called it a breakdown. He was obsessed with Red's
shoes and completely over his own snowpants.

He didn't report on every game. There were times that he couldn't be there. I relied heavily on the official scoresheet to get the facts straight, though if anyone has ever really looked at one, it's apparent when they attribute a goal to a jersey number your team doesn't have, it may not be the most reliable information source. I also depended on the scoresheet because, thanks to TB, I would miss half the action myself with his constant demands for snacks and electronics and general wiggle issues.

He's a shitty bleachermate. For real.

I did my best to spread the love around, giving kudos to everyone on the team. This isn't because I have an "everyone deserves a trophy" mentality, but rather because the coaches in this chilly sport shoved the new kids out on the ice like baby birds out of the nest, the same thing they did to my kids last year when we didn't know a shin guard from an elbow pad. Everyone had a part to play, and those who showed up and did their best, well, it showed in the game. And on the report. But for any shining stars, the teams as a whole were the focus, and I hope that nobody took the writing to either glorify or embarrass anyone. Especially with the nicknames I assigned them in any given game.

I know that "Hell No Silflow" stuck a little too hard, and for anyone who was offended by that or by the subsequent screaming of it by FOGHORN parents in the stands, I apologize.

Not really. Jack is a bad-ass goalie. He earned that name.

But now the season is coming to an end. The Squirts finished out their last game last weekend (until the parent/kid game which promises to be...injurious) and the PeeWees will battle it out in a Coeur d'Alene tournament this coming weekend.

And then the ToddlerBandit Breakdowns are going to retire. And it's bittersweet. The love from this extended weird family, those who Harrison knows are his "people" when we're in strange places, the kids that he has grown to love chasing and wrestling with and watching for hours and hours and hours...we will miss this.

I hope that one day he looks back on this and appreciates my marking his participation in what was really his big brothers' thing. And I hope that those who weren't able to be there in person had a little more feeling of inclusion in what was a fun, frozen, and sometimes frustrating and long sport season.

*To revisit any of the ToddlerBandit Breakdowns, look through the scrolling photos in the banner at the top of this page and click on the picture of the breakdown you want to read. The link will take you to that post on my Instagram account -  @DayLeeFix.

Which ToddlerBandit Breakdown was your favorite?