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Challenged

I was lunching with a friend, having extended it luxuriously as we sat on a comfortable couch and took in a Saturday, but it was starting to be that time we both knew meant we had to get back to it, she dreading doing laundry because it was in her unfinished basement. It reminded me of when I moved back to my current home, and had to return to a coin op machine, which felt like an evolutionarily gargantuan step backwards. Would the laundromat be next? It took weeks and a depleted underwear drawer for me to finally get a roll of quarters and take action. Logistically for both my friend and me, these hurdles are small, yet somehow take on a life of their own. While it would be easy to put the procrastination label on them, and certainly it is that, there's more.



One of the many benefits of being a paddle player is access to a multitude of water bottles. Some just show up, others are tournament party favors and the nicer ones generous contributions by a fellow player who has access to them. Back when I used to play hard (tennis) singles in the hot sun at the public courts, the water fountain, if working, was shared with dogs and tasted of rusted metal. I knew I needed something bigger than the common litre size so bought a quart sized Nalgene, packed it with ice and was good to go. Challenged at keeping track of things, it became my bottle for the gym, with the zapper tag on there, and then of course migrated to the paddle courts in winter.


It's always been the wrong bottle for the gym, too big. And with a wide mouth, hard to drink out of without water spilling down my neck and shirt (happened today). Since pre-COVID, I've thought about switching the gym zapper tag to that nice Hydrate or Die smaller bottle I have. But it's still in the planning phase.


Why? I wonder why?




When I moved into my newly purchased condo in 1995, it was well-cleaned and empty except for a toy dinosaur in the bathtub that I found welcoming and charming. If you've been to my house since Nat was born, you've likely seen him being ridden by Baby, Nat's first doll, who was naked for some years before having her propriety defended with a colorful lei-based dress.


The water in the shower wasn't regulated, the temperature fluctuating greatly. I learned how to anticipate the surge of scalding water, but never quite the ice bath. When I became pregnant and moved in with Philip, I knew the water variance would be valid grounds for a tenant's personal injury lawsuit, so shot the padlock off my wallet and got a plumber. In an hour and for $125, the problem was alleviated, leaving me questioning why, why, why I hadn't fixed it sooner so that I could also have benefitted. Sigh.



The first light I purchased for my dining room excited me, the way I imagined it looking against white walls, hanging over the dark table. New to working with trades people, I told the guy what I wanted and made myself scarce. When I returned, he was gone and all he'd left was the smell of stale cigarette smoke and last night's bar crawl. He'd cut the pendant wire to less than 12 inches and hung it with the fixture close enough to the ceiling that all you could see was the lightbulb, not the actual top or side of the light. Adding insult to injury, he had drilled a square hole in the ceiling for a round socket and not even centered it. I was frustrated by his beyond sloppy work, but realized the light was too big anyway and that two smaller ones would work better. I fell in love with the next ones I bought, appreciating the stark modern against the oldy fashiony moulding.


I found a better electrician, had the lights installed with dimmers and from my couch perch, immensely enjoyed how they looked for many a day, before I decided on the yellow chairs and then the Dutch blue wall behind. Ready for a dinner party, I hit the dimmer but nothing happened. When I reached out to the electrician, he told me I had chosen lights that weren't dimmable. Crikey. Immediate solution for that night? Lots of candles and a standing lamp, pendant lights off. Long-term, I thought, well, I can at least put lower wattage bulbs in. Once, while on a work call, I unsuccessfully fiddled with one of them for about 5 seconds and since then, have moved changing the bulbs back to my to do list.


Undimmable lights


Remember when Hilary Clinton as FLOTUS was quoted as saying you should never touch a piece of paper twice? I remember taking it to heart back when we had in-boxes at work. And truly, there were pieces of paper that I'd ignore with the goal of not touching them again, and not infrequently, they'd become irrelevant. I suppose there's some part of me that has the same attitude about these things I haven't yet done, that the problem will either disappear or become a priority, in which case I'll fix them.


At one of my jobs, I worked with a woman who had undergraduate and graduate degrees from different Ivy League universities. She was incredibly well-spoken, a much loved manager, and one of the most well respected people in her field, nationally. She confessed that she had trouble with procrastination, which I found shocking, asking her if she knew why. Her theory was that she led such a disciplined life and was such a staunch rule follower that a little voice inside would tell her to rebel, putting things off being her version of it.


Well, I certainly can't claim that scenario. And how interesting that I can take a few hours to write about these challenges, but not a few minutes to address them.


PS, Update


Thank you to those of you who have had Rob in your thoughts. He is slowly improving, day by day, we are hopeful. As excruciatingly difficult as it has been for his family (there has been too much painful waiting for outcomes, always taking longer than predicted), they have been nothing short of inspiring over the last week, closing the circle and hunkering down together, looking after each other, showing kindness, consideration, love. I'd be so grateful if you continued to keep him (and them) in your thoughts.

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