I’m Not Crazy For Wanting My Nuts In Order

“Just because you are a little squirrelly, doesn’t mean you are nuts.”

The day has gotten away from me. Most days I keep this blog in mind, trying to plan for what I will write since I promised myself I would write something every day for a year. Most days I have an idea long before 10 p.m. Today, I was so busy I forgot about it completely until 10:40 p.m. I was up at 7:30, fed the new fur baby, did a training and play session with him to wear him out. Once he was secured in his pen, I threw some clothes on and drove Thing Two to school before shopping at Costco and then rushing home to let the fur baby out once again. Then I did some cleaning to welcome my mother-in-law back for her four-month stay in her home downstairs. Immediately following that, I ran to Walgreens (which ended up having too long of a line at the pharmacy for me to get through in time) and then drove back in the opposite direction to pick up Thing 2 from school. I escorted him home, dropped off one car that needed gas, got in another one and drove an hour to the airport to pick up Thing 1 who is visiting for the weekend to meet the new puppy and see his grandmother. After circling the airport a couple times waiting for him, he hopped in and we made the hour-long trip home for a quick dinner. Then we ran back out to Walgreens, which was still too busy, so we went grocery shopping and got gas for his car. When we got home, we exercised the fur baby again, and I finished up some holiday decorating. Now it is 11:08, and with puppy finally worn out, I am writing so that I might actually get to bed before midnight so I can wake up at 6:30 and face another busy day.

Fall is a good time for accomplishing tasks with winter on the horizon and quieter days at home ahead. Our fall is even busier this year because we are in transition, welcoming house guests and helping a high school senior get through his final year, cross-country season, and the college application process. Add a brand new puppy to the mix and you have the foundation for Crazy Town. This is what motherhood is. Still, I would rather be busy than bored when the weather is still warm. It’s a good time to be out and about, taking in the beauty this season of change both in the weather and in my life. I know someday the days will pass more slowly and life will become more routine. So, I am all about reveling in the busy-ness, while looking forward to the day when I can collapse on a sofa, watch the cold weather blow in while I leisurely sip my coffee in front of the fire, and enjoy all I have worked so hard to secure.

I really am a squirrel. I am just trying to get my nuts in order before winter arrives.

The One Where You Realize Your Mom Is Darth Sidious

My son texted me from college today and told me he had gotten a couple oddly specific text messages from numbers he didn’t recognize. The messages both made reference to his location at college, as well as his first and last name. He was a little weirded out by them, which is understandable because this had never happened to him before. I told him they were likely from someone he knows who is messing with him. He doubted my assessment. I asked for both numbers and told him I would do some sleuthing.

I didn’t fall off the turnip truck yesterday. My plan after I earned my bachelor’s degree was to become a research librarian. And I might have gotten away with it too, if it hadn’t been for those meddling kids. Okay. Okay. You’re right, Scooby Doo. It wasn’t meddling kids that kept me from my research dream; it was the exorbitant cost of graduate school for a young woman who was already in debt after putting herself through college. But while my husband was in graduate school a few years later, I got a job at his school putting together information packets about the companies recruiting on campus. I knew my way around a library and around the burgeoning Internet. I love gathering information. I have all the necessary skills. With a BA in English Literature and an MS in Writing, I have spent an overabundance of time doing research for academic papers. Beyond that, I am deeply curious about all manner of subjects. And I am determined and undaunted like a border collie going after sheep. Just get out of my way and let me go to work.

So, I did. With the numbers he gave me, my first stop was a reverse phone look up on beenverified.com. The first number came right up. I took a screen shot and sent it to my son. It was someone he had traveled with in high school. The second number did not have immediate results, so it was likely unlisted. Knowing the result of the first search, however, I consulted the directory for his high school to see if there were any numbers listed from that area code. There weren’t. So, I did what I had to. I blocked my number and called the second number. A kid answered my blocked call, said “Hey, baby,” and then promptly hung up. Nothing to see here. Case closed. I told my son he should reply to the first message with the kid’s name and his home address (which I had gotten from the directory). He said I was evil. I sent him a GIF of Darth Sidious from Star Wars because, well, Sidious and I have some things in common beyond our wrinkles. He mentioned again that I’m terrifying and that he really doesn’t trust the Internet. I told him he shouldn’t, but the thing is it works both ways. Someone can dig around and find information about you, and you can often do the same about them. Everyone leaves a trail, some are just easier to follow.

My son has referred to me as a “stalker” because of my gift for unearthing information. He came to this conclusion earlier this summer. He had stayed with a friend outside of Seattle and wanted to send her a gift as a thank you, but didn’t know her address. She does not have the same last name as her mother or step father, so he couldn’t just look it up in a phone book. He also didn’t want to ask her for it because he was hoping to surprise her. I told him I could help him out if he told me what info he was starting with. He knew the street her mother lived on but not the house number. After a quick Facebook search, a Google Map view of the street for reference, and then an online phone book search later, I handed him the address. It put the fear of god into him. He knows he has no secret I could not unearth if I felt so compelled. Luckily for him, I respect his privacy. And, while I am a good detective, as a die-hard introvert, I am not nosey. I don’t care about most people enough for that.

Still, it’s important your children know your powers. You don’t want to mess with your mother when you know she and Darth Sidious share an evil genius and a penchant for getting what they want.

The Curse Of Everything Being On The Internet

Tonight I had to fill out of a form online for an upcoming dermatology appointment. It’s my first time using this particular medical portal, so I first had to create a username and password to add to the literal gazillion user names and passwords currently in existence for me. I couldn’t even hazard a guess how many online accounts I have like this one. I can tell you, however, that if my stored logins and passwords ever disappear, I suspect I too will disappear from existence. I don’t know a single one of my myriad logins and passwords by heart. Not a one. So, I imagine that should my laptop every decide it is sick of storing whole my damn life, I will simply cease to exist. Isn’t that how it works these days? Anyhoo, after that first screen, there were nine others covering a range of information, from my medical history to my family’s medical history to surgeries I’ve had to medications I take to my next of kin and on and on. As I sat there laboriously working through this online document, I thought about how much time and money this must save doctor’s offices and how they probably have been able to reduce staff by at least a person or two because no one has to complete data entry from paper forms. It’s a more streamlined system.

I left my laptop momentarily to verify the dosage on a medication I take, and when I returned I noticed the screen had reset to the login page. No. No. No. No. No. No. No. Goddammit. NO! I logged in again, praying the information had saved. Alas, it had not. Forty minutes of my life gone in an instant with zero to show for my efforts. I cursed Al Gore for his role in paving the way for the Internet. In the olden days, I would have had a hand cramp that lasted for days after filling out those printed pages with ballpoint pen, but those pages would still be in existence on my counter when I returned and not lost to the ether because of some random software glitch.

I love me some Internet. I really do. I love that the Internet allows me to keep in touch with people without necessarily having to see them in person all the time. I love that the Internet enables me to research a topic in real time while I am having a discussion with someone. I love that I hardly ever have to go into a bank anymore. I love that if I am feeling super unmotivated, I can have the exact groceries I want delivered to my door through it. I love that I can shop for clothes without having to go into a store and pick them out and then stand semi-nude in front of a full length mirror in horrific lighting wanting to gouge my eyes out for my trouble. I love that I can use it to download a book or read a newspaper or watch a film. I am grateful I am able to use the Internet to complete tasks from home in my pajamas. All of this is good. If we can figure out a way for the Internet to make wine appear at my house instantaneously, it will be nearly perfect and I can go back to praising Al Gore for his foresight.

But until we can get a system whereby my medical history doesn’t suddenly go missing after a disturbance in the force resets an almost finished online form because some programmer somewhere forgot to put in an automatic save function, I would like some paper back in my life. Just a little. Not a lot. Don’t get me wrong. I am all for saving trees and the planet and all that jazz. I just like knowing that there is a paper trail once in a while. If you give me my paper medical forms back, I promise I will stop complaining about the hand cramps.

When “I’ve Fallen And I Can’t Get Up” Meets the 21st Century

TikTok. Two tiny words (or is it one medium word?) that represent the biggest time waster in my life right now. When I don’t want to clean the house or cook the food? TikTok. When I am waiting at school pick up? TikTok. When I can’t sleep? TikTok. TikTok is there for me 24/7. When I am down, TikTok always makes me laugh,. Sometimes I think TikTok is the best friend I’ve ever had.

I fall down an endless TikTok hole at least once a week. My sister told me that there were people who will pop into your TikTok feed and tell you that you have been on the app too long and it is time to find something else to do. I thought she was joking. Until it happened to me. Because I have PTSD-level anxiety from my childhood about behaving and staying in line, I try to get off TikTok before I get scolded by one of those random people. I can’t handle being caught. It brings up too much shame and remnants of Catholic guilt.

Recently, though. I’ve started a new game with myself. I’m becoming a TikTok risk taker. I’ll be on for like an hour, watching funny dogs running around while a sound clip from The Office is playing a bit about parkour, and in the back of my mind I start wondering if I am about to be called out. But then I decide to push my luck. This is how I live on the edge these days. I flip up one more time. Certainly the next video won’t be the one. Maybe I’ll watch another four, five, or even six videos, tempting fate. Sometimes I see how long I can go before one of those videos comes on to tell me to get a life. Most times I get tired of videos before that person appears, but it’s fun to see what will happen first: will my stamina give out or will I get chastised?

So, yeah. This is my life now. This is what a year and a half in relative social isolation has done to me. I hope we put Covid-19 to bed soon. Otherwise, I don’t know what stage of mental decline I will be in next year at this time. For now, I will try to believe that maybe my TikTok time isn’t anything to worry about. We all need an escape from the insanity we are currently living through. I’m trying not to drink too much or to rely on THC to check out, and at least TikTok can’t nip at my liver or destroy brain cells. At least, I don’t think it does. Maybe it is a fair, if childish, pointless, and mindless, escape. But, if I ever send you a video of me performing one of those TikTok dances, please take my phone. I have to draw the line somewhere.

Puppies And Toddlers…Basically The Same Experience

It’s been a while since I cared for a young child. Tonight, though, I was reminded of that long since past experience courtesy of our newest family member.

We decided to try the puppy on a short walk not long after dark. He has made it most of the way around our block on leash once already, so we figured it would be good to try again. I should have known our endeavor would not go as well this time because, as I was working to put his harness on, he wrestled and squirmed like a toddler recognizing that his pajamas mean bedtime is imminent. Once we had him outfitted for the walk, we went out the front door and he sat down, bit the leash, and refused to move. Undeterred, I picked him up and walked him down to our yard, where he walked into the grass, and threw himself down in a pouty, dramatic sploot, belly down with feet splayed out behind him, chin on the ground. Still, I thought since Ruby was walking ahead of him, he might perk up so I picked him up and walked on. Along the way, I several times tried again to see if he would follow Ruby’s lead and walk. Each time, he dramatically flung himself onto the grass in a petulant, defiant show of stubbornness. I gave up and carried him the rest of the way so at least Ruby would enjoy the walk.

One of Loki’s corgi toddler tantrums

When we got close to home, Ruby and Steve went ahead. Loki started whimpering. I know that sound might mean he needed to use the grassy facilities, so I set him down in our neighbor’s yard. He walked a couple steps forward and, sure enough, started doing his business. I praised him for his effort, pulled out my iPhone so I could train the flashlight on his deposit, and waited for Steve to come back out. I was afraid if I didn’t mark the spot, we would forget where it was, and I didn’t want to leave our new neighbors (whom we just met last night) an unwelcome puppy prize. While I was waiting for Steve to return with a poop bag, I set our mail on the ground. There was a bag from J Crew. Loki amused himself by gnawing on it. He was dragging it around and as the bag got closer to his mess, I panicked. I tried to grab the bag from him and he resisted, backing up onto his fresh pile, squishing it between his little white feet. Dammit. I’d saved the bag, but now the dog would need a bath.

Oh…the indignity

Steve put the dog in the utility sink while I dug around for the mildest soap I could find. I knew we didn’t have any puppy soap, so I settled for a mild castille soap since we would targeting his feet. It was only his second bath and we quickly discovered bathing is not his favorite. We got his feet washed, both of us working to get the wriggling ball of fur through the ordeal as quickly as possible. We wrapped him in a towel, and tried to dry him as best as we could. He flipped and flopped and gnawed at the towel, little puppy growls of annoyance coming from underneath as if he was cursing us, which he probably was.

When we’d decided he was dry enough, we set him loose. Clean, invigorated, and freed from his unpleasant experience, he started running around the laundry room with increased fervor. He’d gotten his second wind. He went straight for the door stopper, bit at it several times, and barked at it for mocking him. Then he turned around and started chewing on my shirt. It seemed like it might be witching hour and I was out of energy for this, so off to puppy jail he went. Once inside his pen, he crawled up onto his new bed, collapsed, dropped his chin onto the edge, and began to close his eyes. He was done. And so were we. All three off us exhausted and ready for sleep.

Then Ruby pushed her stuffed candy corn toy at me. The rest of us might be out of energy, but this one isn’t. I can’t remember how I survived these nights when our sons were 2 and 4. Earlier today, those days would have seemed like a million years ago. After tonight, they feel like yesterday.

The Power of Storytelling Without Fear

“Trauma creates change you don’t choose. Healing is about creating change you DO choose.” ~Michelle Rosenthall

Everything changes when you finally decide to divest yourself from a toxic relationship.

Some people judge you for your choice, especially if the relationship you leave behind is one involving a parent, spouse, or sibling. Those people tell you to reconsider because “life is short and you might be sorry when they are gone.” Those people used to get to me. They would reacquaint me with the gaslighting I have experienced my entire life. I would feel guilty and small and cruel for choosing myself. With time and practice, though, I’ve learned to listen to those voices less because those people don’t and can’t understand the emotional damage I have worked so hard to grieve, dismantle, reassess, and then release. They don’t know that every day is a battle to trust others, to feel safe in my skin and like myself, and to move forward carrying less baggage. They can’t understand how much it hurts a child to have a parent tell you multiple times, “You have a face only a mother could love,” only to realize she doesn’t love you or she would never say things like that. Birthdays, holidays, and family events are not joyful, but instead produce physical symptoms of anxiety. Walking away is not what you want. It’s not what you ever wanted, which is why it is so difficult. But, in the face of acknowledging there is not now nor will there ever be true acceptance and appreciation from the people who made you question everything about yourself, the best thing to do is move on and do better for yourself.

I still feel guilty sometimes about putting myself first, about choosing to skip out on that toxic person’s birthday party or holiday gathering. I never want to feel I am acting intentionally to hurt another because I was constantly told that I was selfish and thoughtless. Looking out for myself only proves that hypothesis. But what if I test that hypothesis against the reality of what happened rather than the illusion of what I was told happened? Then, magical things begin to occur. I have learned to have empathy for my abusers, to feel sorry they were incapable of doing better, to be grateful they taught me what not to do with my own children, to feel sad they will never know the truth about love, and at the same time to understand I do not owe them a relationship at the expense of my own mental and emotional well being.

For decades, my brain protected me by blocking awareness of the abuse. It had me believe that I was treated the same way everyone else was by their parents. It wasn’t until I started talking about my youth and seeing the shock and horror on other’s faces when I told them stories about my childhood that I understood what I knew as “normal” was actually neither normal nor healthy. It was a shocking revelation. My brain had for so long worked to legitimize the abuse to protect me that I was unable to comprehend that what I experienced was abuse. When I finally could not unsee the reality any longer, I began to grow. I have fought since then to tell my story more often, to give voice to what I was conditioned to believe was only my imagination, my “over-sensitive” nature.

“You own everything that ever happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.” ~Anne Lamott

Six years ago, I composed a blog post around the above quote, asking other writers for permission to tell my stories even if doing so would potentially hurt someone else and cause rifts in long-standing relationships. Six years ago, I wasn’t yet brave enough to speak my truth. But, six years of weekly therapy and hard work have at last brought me to the place where I am able to choose myself and let others deal with their emotions about that their own way. I’ve learned that if telling my truth is problem for them, maybe they should address that in their own heart, that I don’t owe them protection when they didn’t protect me, that I don’t have to put them first when they didn’t put me first. It’s a powerful place to live when you finally decide that you are not responsible, despite what you have been told, for other people’s reactions to your choices. It’s not vindictive to tell your story. It’s life changing to give yourself permission to protect yourself from the people who have hurt you and to tell your stories because if they wanted to be remembered warmly, they should have behaved better.

I am not afraid of my past anymore. I’m not afraid of people being angry with me for telling my stories about it. I’m only afraid of living another day bound by tales about myself that were passed down to me by others that don’t define me and never did. Tell your stories, especially when they are controversial and difficult. Eventually, they will set you free.

I had been deceived. The only thing that was ever wrong with me was my belief that there was something wrong with me.” ~Glennon Doyle

The Weekly Descent Into Zero F***s Given

It’s been a looooong week

I drive my son to and from school, thirty-five minutes one way. Yes. He is 18. He has had his learner’s permit for three years now, but hasn’t shown much interest in acquiring his driver’s license. I suspect this is mainly because the drivers in Denver are terrifying. We saw three near collisions this morning. People here speed and weave in and out of highway traffic like they’re Lightning McQueen. If you struggled with anxiety and saw multiple traffic accidents a day, you might prefer a chauffeur as well.

At any rate, I have noticed recently that as the week progresses, my preparedness for our morning commute diminishes. Allow me to elucidate:

Monday: After a weekend of rest and minimal driving, I am up and at ’em at 6:30. I will be dressed in actual clothes, have make up on, have prepared my own coffee and a smoothie, unloaded the dishwasher, and be ready to depart five minutes before our scheduled exit at 7:10. I rock!

Tuesday: I might have switched to casual jogger pants, rather than denim or decent shorts, but otherwise I am still fairly prepared for the day and presentable as a human being. We’ve got this.

Wednesday: I am moving a little more slowly. I am likely wearing sweatpants, a sweatshirt, and little, if any, make up. I will just put sunglasses over the bags under my eyes and use them to disguise the obvious lack of mascara on my sparse, blonde eyelashes. Hubby, noticing that the struggle is real, hands me a latte to which I have just enough time to add some creamer. I will get through today.

Thursday: I am so dog tired. My attention to self-care has eroded to meh at best. I maybe put a bra on under my pajama top, throw on some leggings, pull my dirty hair into a disheveled ponytail, and call it good. I drag my sorry butt out to my car three minutes later than usual, but at least I have the latte hubby made me. I just have to make it home.

Friday: I am still in bed whining about having to get up twenty minutes after the alarm I set for ten minutes later than the day before has gone off. My audible Friday lament rings through the house: “I’m not getting up. You can’t make me.” I eventually drag myself out of bed with five minutes to go. I have just enough time for the bare minimum. I am wearing my pajama top with flannel pants on my bottom half, hard-soled slippers on my feet, and a baseball hat on my head. As I brush my teeth, I’ve got black silicone pads under my eyes working to reduce the 50-pound baggage there. I rip those off at 7:10, grab the coffee my husband long-since left on the counter for me before heading to his downstairs (no longer downtown) office. I stagger out to the car, back out of the garage, and then realize I’ve left my phone somewhere inside. I trudge back inside and look around until I find it under the covers on the bed, and we depart after 7:15 and pray there will not be much traffic. On the way there, I realize with chagrin I forgot to sweeten my coffee. Jesus help us all.

My prayer each week is that if one of the Richard Petty wannabes in Denver hits me on I-25, they will do so on Monday or Tuesday. If it’s on Wednesday, that will be okay too. But, I pity the fool who hits me on Thursday or Friday and has to deal with the exhausted, only semi-functioning swamp thing into which I have devolved.

This morning, however, as I slogged through traffic yawning the whole way, I had a glorious thought. This is my last year as chauffeur. Next year at this time, both sons will be off at college, and I will be free to start my day whenever it suits me. Preferably after a long shower and a leisurely, perfectly sweetened latte.

Groundlessness: The Path To Emotional Freedom

This quote embodies the concept of groundlessness

“Let go or be dragged.” ~Zen proverb

Last night at the Midlife Mindfulness group I attend we discussed the concept of groundlessness, which is the notion that life is in constant flux and we can never be fully grounded. As beings, we want to be on solid footing and constantly seek security, when in reality the firm foundation we crave and occasionally feel we have achieved is an illusion. Our resistance to the fluid nature of our existence causes personal suffering because when a change occurs that rips the rug out from under us we feel as if our life is falling apart. Even the term “falling apart” implies that at one point everything was together. But every day our lives are upended by changes. Something as simple as a driving detour can send us spiraling. We become frustrated, worried we will be late, annoyed at the inconvenience. Our discomfort is not caused by the detour, however, but by our resistance to the change placed in front of us. If we choose to regard the detour as nothing more than an unexpected hiccup, we accept that these things happen and our anguish subsides.

I have been considering the suffering I have felt because of the stage I am in with my sons. Joe is off at college, and Luke will graduate in June. As a woman who has devoted two decades solely to the care of my children, I have been experiencing groundlessness. The entire day-to-day reality of my life is changing. They are moving into their lives without me, which is how it is meant to be and what I have always wanted for them. It was only when I began to embrace the pain of letting them go without resisting the accompanying sadness that I was able to move through the grief and towards the point where I can now be at peace with this next phase in all our lives. Do I miss spending time with them? Absolutely. Does my acceptance mean I no longer shed tears about it? Nope. I still do that. But I am able to view this flux in my life now with gratitude for what has been and interest in how this next phase of life will unfold. I don’t have a clue what it will look like, but I don’t need to know that. I simply need to welcome the groundlessness. After all, everything I am now is a result of the changes and adaptations I have had to make in my life thus far. Who knows what personal growth this latest upheaval will bring us?

When I think about groundlessness, I remember one of my favorite scenes from the Ron Howard film Parenthood. The family is attending a school play in which their daughter has a part. In a scene in the play, her character is being pushed to do something she doesn’t want to do. When her little brother witnesses her struggle from the audience, he is compelled to run on stage to save her and chaos ensues. While many people find this interruption an amusing disruption, one woman yells with agitation towards his parents, “He’s ruining the play! He’s ruining the whole play!” The mother tries to stop her son but then decides to let the scene unfold, while the father remains visibly uncomfortable. The camera then films the scene as if the parents are side-by-side on a rollercoaster, the mother relaxing into the innocent pandemonium with smiles and laughter while the father looks frightened, tense and concerned about what others think, anxious about the ride he doesn’t want to be on. Eventually, he notices that most people are laughing as kids on stage have gone rogue and the set is falling over and what was probably a mildly amusing production has turned into an event they will never forget. He releases his desire to control the narrative and begins to enjoy the ride too.

I try to think of life as that rollercoaster ride. We can either choose to focus on the exhilaration of the inevitable peaks and valleys of being alive or we can tense up and feel queasy about them. The ride stays the same, only our attitude about it changes our experience of it. Choosing to live in acceptance of groundlessness can become our new solid ground and free us from the illusion of security along our journey. With some practice, I am improving my muscle memory around being secure within the insecurity of life. Let go or be dragged. Am I right?

Louis DeJoy Is The Grinch That Will Steal Christmas

Photo by Alex Perz on Unsplash

Maybe it’s just me, but I miss the post office that existed before Trump appointed Louis DeJoy to take over as Postmaster General in May 2020. I really do. I know many people don’t mail things, what with online bill pay and Facebook posts in place of Hallmark greetings, but I used to regularly send cards to friends for their birthdays. I don’t do it much anymore because I have no idea when my greetings will arrive so I don’t know if I should be sending regular birthday greetings or sorry-I-had-to-send-this-belated-card-even-though-I-mailed-it-in-what-should-have-been-plenty-of-time-but-the-damn-post-office-is-deadly-slow-these-days-and-I-have-no-idea-when-or-if-this-will-even-get-to-you-but-my-fingers-are-crossed ones. Since DeJoy took over and started dismantling automated sorting machines and removing thousands of easy access mailboxes from convenient locations across the country, the postal service has become a joke. Cards that used to take three days to travel across the country now often arrive well after a week later. Last Christmas, many of our holiday cards arrived two weeks after I dropped them off inside an actual post office around December 10th, while some didn’t arrive at all. A package I mailed took two weeks to arrive at its destination, which is a little ridiculous considering that I could have driven the stupid box to my sister in Connecticut, handed it to her in person, and made in home in less than one week. And the package I sent that same day from Denver to Billings, Montana, made it in three weeks. It is a NINE HOUR DRIVE from Denver to Billings. Are you kidding me?

Now, none of this has to be an issue for me because I can afford to ship packages via Fed Ex or UPS and will undoubtedly be doing so this holiday season. But most people are not in my fortunate financial position. Some people still wait for their social security checks to arrive via snail mail (which is now even more snailish). Some seniors still send birthday cards to their grandchildren with cash enclosed, and I bet they have no idea that if they don’t mail them at least a week early their grandkids will be wondering if they were forgotten on their special day. And some people absolutely do not have access to or cannot afford to send packages via other carriers, so they will be stuck with this shitty situation.

Today, I read in an NPR article that “beginning on Oct. 3 and ending on Dec. 26, the postal service will temporarily increase prices on all commercial and retail domestic packages due to the holiday season.” So, if you want to send a gift to your sister in Connecticut for the holidays, I hope you have it picked out, holiday wrapped, and mailed by this Saturday or have already told your sister that she will get her Christmas gift maybe in time to open it at some point in 2022. Some people might have you believe that DeJoy’s changes to the postal service have made the service more cost effective, but they would be wrong. NPR also reported that “the postal service reported a loss of $3 billion for the quarter ending June 30, compared to the $2.2 billion in the previous year.”

As a kid who grew up sending handwritten letters to pen pals in Australia, Italy, Scotland, and Bahrain, in the early 1980s when sending a letter Air Mail to Australia took one business week, the idea of sending a birthday card across town and having it arrive 5-6 days later infuriates me. So, Louis DeJoy, if you’re listening, this is my Christmas postal service wish*: I would like to put you in a small box (can’t afford to mail a larger one with the new postal increase starting on Saturday) with a few air holes and send you first class mail across the country during the upcoming holiday season. Maybe a week or two or three, or who knows how long it could take in there, would make you rethink what you have done to this beloved and necessary institution. You may be gleeful you are slowly driving the USPS towards its demise because apparently you think it is a socialist program that doesn’t deserve to be supported by the government, but you, sir, are just the Grinch stealing Christmas from people who deserved better than you. May Santa leave coal in your stocking this year.

And that is the nicest thing I can say about that.

*I am not actually advocating putting this man in a box and mailing him across the country because that would be wreckless, dangerous, and wrong. Just consider this a thought experiment.

I Don’t Want A Stuffed Tiger Cub Or Another Stupid Canvas Bag*

Tuskless elephant

Dear ASPCA and World Wildlife Fund,

Stop. Just stop. My worldview is dismal enough without your ads about starving puppies and elephants hunted for ivory and motherless tiger cubs haunting my television set, the place I go to escape. I get that it is difficult to get a share of people’s donation cash when Covid has decimated household incomes and some people are sending whatever spare money they have to Donald Trump so he can attempt to prove he unfairly lost an election he fairly lost. But, damn. The whole heartstring thing on top of a global pandemic, a country on the precipice of democratic collapse, and the non-stop drum beat of climate catastrophes? It’s too much. You’re killing me, Smalls. We’re all fighting to keep ourselves afloat right now. Alcohol consumption, drug use, and gun deaths are already trending up. I don’t mean to imply that you are driving people to alcoholism or drug abuse or murder, but you probably aren’t helping. What if we all promise to send you $10 a month in perpetuity? If we do that, will you promise not to run even one more misery-inducing ad? Please. I’m begging you. Getting to the remote in time to change channels is becoming increasingly difficult. I’m old and not as fast as I used to be, but apparently my distance eyesight is still good.

Sincerely,

Just kidding

*This piece is tongue-in-cheek and meant to be over-the-top and satirical in nature so before you attack me, please suck some helium and lighten up**

**I don’t literally mean you should suck helium because that is not good for you. It kills brain cells when you lose oxygen, like when you put a bag over your head***

***Speaking of bags, I will take another canvas bag…as long as it doesn’t have starving puppies, tuskless elephants, or orphaned tiger cubs on it