Life as a Boomerang Child

I’m one of those kids. I’m the kid who graduated college and moved back in with her folks. I’m currently living in my parent’s basement, clearing the stuffed animals off my bed each night, and scrounging through the refrigerator to see what my mom bought at the grocery store. Winter 2013 054While I swore that I would give myself a year at home after college and then move out, eighteen months has passed and I’m still here. Some days I completely hate it, but in many ways, I think there are some definite advantages to moving home after college.

1. Paying off debts. College is expensive, and even by graduating in three years, the debt piled up. The types of job I walked into out of college were in no way enough to make a dent in my college loans. By living at home, working a semi-professional job, and having a little help from my grandparents, I was able to get that student loan taken care of.

2. Learning about “real life” in a sheltered way. Driving away from my university for the last time, I had such high hopes. My mind was busy sorting through my views of pacifism, social justice, and how to change the world. I anticipated walking into a high paying writing job, transferring to a big southern city, and getting my own apartment within six months. I was in for a huge wake up call when I discovered college hadn’t prepared me for the “real world.” As a high schooler, I didn’t care much about balancing a budget, choosing the right cut of meat, figuring out tax information, or doing car repairs. Suddenly, those were the types of issues I had flying at me from all directions. Being able to take my dad with me to the mechanic’s or having my parents teach me how to use a fuse box saved me from quite a few mishaps.

3. Developing a deeper respect for my parents and elders. Coming back home after being away for a few years allowed me to see my parents with an adult pair of eyes. Sure, I see their flaws more clearly now, but I have also developed a deeper respect for them. I am able to appreciate the sacrifices they made for me and my sisters and see the reasoning behind their choices. I’m able to glean wisdom about marriage, child rearing, work situations, and religion that I never thought about before.

I’m living in the situation I swore I would never stay long in, but I’ve come to peace with it. While I’d still love to get my own place before too long, for now I’m enjoying getting to know my family from a “grown up” perspective and preparing for life on my own.

The Most Perfect Egg in the World

Everyone knows how hard it is to remove the shell from a hard boiled egg. Usually, the shell sticks to the egg, and the unfortunate peeler has to lose chunk after chunk of protein to the garbage.

My sister had done it though; she had crafted the most perfect hard boiled egg in all the world. The egg was smooth, creamy, and unmarred. No shell pieces clung to the white underbelly of this egg.

“Look everyone!” she proudly proclaimed displaying the perfect specimen between her pointer finger and thumb.

As she stood with her back to the rest of the kitchen, she did not know that someone else had heard her announcement.

Suddenly, in a feat of speed, accuracy, and flexibility almost impossible to believe, our collie jumped through the air and caught the egg right from between my sister’s fingers. Like a tiger jumping through a hoop, the dog neatly snatched the morsel from the hand of her astonished master.Melanie

Sadly, my sister never got to enjoy her victory. The most perfect egg in the world was sitting in the stomach of a very contented canine.

Surviving the Power Outage Apocalypse

My family does not listen to weather reports.

When we heard about the epic ice storm that was about to descend on the northeast toward the end of December, we chose to ignore the weathermen. It was the week of Christmas, after all, and Mother Nature wouldn’t be cruel enough to wipe us on that week. Sure, power crews were being brought in from other states and other people were filling their bathtubs with extra water, but it was all exaggerated. People rushed to the stores like it was another Y2K. We were above such things.

About 6:02 AM on Sunday morning, December 21st, we lost power.

Now some of you will not understand the enormity of this occurrence. Not only did we loose phone connections, internet, and cable (which is bad enough the week of Christmas!), we lost heat, lights, and water. While losing lights would be a hardship, coupling that with the loss of heat and water, we were in a pickle.

The week started out on the right foot. But as each degree on the temperature gauge disappeared, a gloom began to settle. Christmas without cookies, old movies, or music didn’t seem like a Christmas well spent. The few lights powered by our generator were all that kept our spirits from deflating.

Four days later, it was 39 degrees. That is the temperature we woke up to on Christmas day. One knows it is cold when the refrigerator is warmer than the house, and you can see your breath inside. 

By Thursday, our poor generator was having the hiccups. Then convulsions. Our lights beganto do a strobe light routine. Something was wrong. As stories from neighbors about blown furnaces, busted wells, and fried electronics reached us, we decided having a few amenities wasn’t worth the long-range consequences.

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As the cold crept back into my extremities, I cracked. No longer could I endure the indignities of days     without cleanliness. The inability to be warm. The lack of entertainment. The staring at my dirty, long-   faced, bored family members. I began to pace. Then twitch. Then rant.

“Quick,” my sister, Michelle, said to me, seeing the signs of my looming nervous breakdown. “To my room.”

The pile of clothes on the floor and dresser, unmade bed, and remnants of wrapping paper did little to cheer my mood. I could feel the explosion boiling on the inside.

Michelle closed her bedroom door and stepped back. “Throw stuff,” she said. “And yell.”

I eyed her. What strange orders were these?

“It will make you feel better.”

And with that command, I picked up a pair of jeans. With a fiendish howl, I hurled them at her closet door. Five days of pent up frustration and angst erupted as I wrestled with sheets, beat up on the sweaters, and threw socks in all directions. Shouts and screams issued forth as I told the power outage exactly what I thought of it.

Two minutes later, Michelle’s room looked pretty much like it had previously, and I felt calm, cool, and collected once again.

Suddenly, the power clicked on.

I had survived the 2013 Power Outage Apocalypse.

 

Taking Pity on a Good Samaritan

Have you ever paused to do a good deed and suddenly found yourself in an embarrassing predicament? I had that experience this summer. I wonder if you can relate….

As I swerved around the toppled tree the first time, I thought, “This is dangerous!”

Trip #2 merited a: “Someone should do something!”

By the third trip, I knew. If this tree was getting moved, I’d have to do it.

Last night’s storm is what did the little fellow in. The tree had fallen out of the swampy no-man’s-land that birthed it to block a particularly well-travelled portion of our dirt road. Cars continually swerved to avoid it, but only one distracted motorists was needed to create a catastrophe.

On this summer evening, I pulled my ’97 Lumina to a stop and surveyed the situation. It looked easy enough: snap off a few twigs, give a quick shove, and the obstacle would tumble into the weeds. I wondered why no other Good Samaritan had stopped.

As I got out of my vehicle and drew closer, I realized that this wasn’t just a twiggy branch that had broken from the trunk; this was an entire young tree snapped off at the root. Resolutely, I grabbed the trunk and heaved. Nothing.

With a gulp and a quick glance around to make sure I had no audience, I tried again. This time a small branch broke off in my hand. I looked back at my Lumina. It would be so easy to climb back inside, swerve around the obstruction for the fourth time, and maintain a semblance of dignity. But somebody had to move this obstacle. One-by-one, piece-by-piece, I began tearing limbs off and tossing them aside.

Suddenly, a white pickup crested the hill. With renewed vigor, I threw myself into my work. I wasn’t about to show any sign of weakness.

As the seconds passed, the crumbly crunch of gravel grew louder. Then it stopped.

“You’re going to need a chainsaw, sweetie,” a man called.

I tossed a smile over my shoulder as I glanced at the two middle-aged male occupants of the vehicle.

“Probably so,” I said as I broke off another twig. “But I’ll slim it down.” I hurled the branch into the swamp.

Crunk. Thud.

I scuttled back as the two construction worker types swaggered up to the obstruction. Exchanging a glance and a nod, the men shoved. In ten seconds, the tree slid into the weeds. Without commenting on my many words of appreciation, the two sauntered back to their truck and drove off.

My face grew warm as I scurried back to my own car and began the half mile trek home. I imagined the picture I made—the skinny, twenty-something trying to force a tree off the road. Tearing off twigs and tossing them aside like a dog flinging mud while hole-digging.

At the same time, a slow smile climbed down my throat and bubbled into a giggle. Whether these men were truly chivalrous gentlemen or simply taking pity on a dumb blonde, I’ll never know. Regardless, I had inspired them to do a good deed. My unintentional performance had provoked enough sympathy to get the job done.

What about you? Have you ever found yourself in a situation where your apparent stupidity accomplished something ? I’d love to hear your story!