I Am Rooted

rootedIts back to school time and for many of us, that means a mini ‘new term’. Whether its new challenges, future plans or simply a fabulous pair of new boots, September signals the end of the summer fug and the chance to start the next chapter.

Looking back, September has always been a time of big decisions and moves in my life. If its September, chances are I’m taping boxes or working out my notice. But not this year.

This year, I am rooted.

Its taken 27 years (I apparently try EVERYTHING once) but I’m finally where I want to be. I live in a state I love, at a job I love, with friends who I adore, and a dog who’s the best. I’m medicated up to the eyeballs but I’m home.

Sounds as annoying as fuck, doesn’t it?

Lemme tell you.. to get to ‘rooted’ (aka, not planning the next escape), a sampler of the random, costly, ill-thought out decisions and events that took up those 27 years.

38 house moves, 6 house purchases (all conveniently sold in the midst of market downturns, at a loss), 5 rear end collisions, one near bankruptcy, one near deportation, marriage and divorce, moves to cities I didn’t really like, for jobs I absolutely hated, career progressions and regressions, hospitalizations, 2 botched surgeries,  at least 100 terrible haircut/ dye combinations and a lot.. more than a enough for one lifetime…of really horrible online dates.

I think I’ve tried every trick in the book, plus several in the Bible, the Ikea Catalog and The Breakfast Club. I’ve failed spectacularly at an extremely wide range of normal things and I’ve got permanent scars on my knees to prove it. The only thing holding up my optimism is Botox and idiocy.

September has always been my month to charge forward… before falling promptly flat on my face. So this year it will be different. I am rooted. I am changing nothing.

Except maybe my footwear.

 

 

Signs summer has left the building

fallSeptember in Colorado is typically a glorious month of blue skies, chilled evenings and crisp, dewy mornings followed by blazing mid day sun. It’s like August but with less wilting and a little more snap. You enjoy the 85 degree heat because you know the evening will be chilled, and every time you pull on a pair of shorts, you laugh at the notion of jeans. The aspens are bright yellow and damn, it just feels good to be alive.

This year however, we seem to be going for more of a Seattle thing. This morning I woke up to the cold,grey drizzle that made Kurt Cobain perpetually depressed and my Pac Northwest friends, permanently over caffeinated and/or drunk.

But it’s not just the weather that signaled summer has packed her bags and buggered off to Arizona… the signs are everywhere.

1. You’ve suddenly thought about footwear for the first time in 3 months. No matter that you’ve been slopping around in flipflops, Chacos, sandals or Teva’s 7 days a week since June.. suddenly you’re thinking about boots. And shoes. Rich dark leather footwear. Socks seem appealing and you’re wondering if your snowboots have another year in them.  Yep, it might only be early September but those slides are suddenly looking tired and dammit, those wool socks are just crying out to be worn.

2. You’re thinking about turning on the oven. For the last 3-4 months you’ve avoided anything that involved turning on any heat source inside your home, with the result that you’ve found imaginative ways to prepare everything on your grill (scrambled egg anyone?), but suddenly you’re thinking about roasting something. Hell maybe you might even break out a recipe. Give it a few weeks and you’ll even be considering making soup.

3. You could really go for a slice of toast right now. Maybe with some tea or a great cup of coffee. Sure, you’ve spent the summer eating everything chilled or grilled, but damn… butter sliding down a slice of hot toast, dripping onto your fingers sounds positively pornographic right now. You know you want some…

4. You’re thinking about joining a gym. Or starting Crossfit. All summer you’ve been running, riding, hiking and generally zooming around, but you know in a few weeks you’ll be stuck inside, icy roads and wind chill of -16. Sure you can boot up for some skiing and boarding at the weekend, but what about Wednesdays? And Monday evenings? Fuuuuuck. Time to pull out that bike trainer or find a gym. Exercising indoors sucks.. but not as much as watching your fitness leak away as you curl up for another hour of ‘must see tv’.

5. Someone just told you how many days until Christmas.  The next time someone tells me how long it is until Christmas, I simply remind them the average age of death in the US is 76. I find it gives them something to think about and hey, share the love. It might be fall but its not fucking Christmas.

 

Trusting the fall

rubberAlong with 99% of the Western populace, fall (autumn to my UK homies), is my favorite season. Warm days, cool nights, blue skies and that smell of decaying leaves. Or maybe that’s the smell of decaying dates who stood me up? Same difference..shit is dying.

Fall always reminds me of back to school. New shoes from Clarks (loud protests), new school uniform (louder protests), and the joy of a buying myself new pencil-case. New beginnings and a new ‘me’ all for $4.99. Yes, my sole opportunity for self-expression during my childhood was my choice pencil-case. What of it?

These days I still yen for new shoes (not from Clarks), and I’m less excited about stationary, but it does always seem to be a season of change for me. Screw spring, fall is where the shit goes down. New jobs, new men, new haircuts, new houses.. all fall events for me.  Fall just seems so inevitable… whether it’s a long drawn out slow decline, or sunburn to snow “wham.bam.thankyou ma’am” couple of weeks. Either way, I know change is heading my way.

As an impatient person my instinct is to try to speed things up. Mentally urging whatever is coming my way to ‘arrive, goddamit’ so I get underway with dealing, enjoying or simply enduring but no matter, it doesn’t make a jot of difference. I just have to trust that fall will, well, ‘fall’ and with it new adventures, new challenges and (lord help me please), new sources of joy.

Meanwhile I guess I’ll make another cup of tea and go sniff my new eraser. Damn, that smell never gets old.

Public Health Warning: Winter Approachitis

frostIt’s early October in Colorado which means the sun is shining, the aspens are golden, Winter has just checked in online and will shortly be boarding the flight to Denver.  Estimated time of arrival for Winter is Friday afternoon unless Snow, Wind That Freezes Your Nipples Off and Fucking Terrible Drivers from Texas get held up in security screening. Damn I hope that flight gets delayed.

Our spring was about 20 hours long, and it looks like autumn is following  similar path. It started 3 weeks ago when the temperatures plummeted from 96 degrees to 54 (that was an interesting day), and I noticed the usual symptoms of ‘Winter Approachitis’.

1. You’re exhausted at the thought of anything and everything.

Its May and you’re bouncing out of bed at 6am, your ‘to do’ list is as big as a Torah scroll and you’ve got so much energy, even your dog is knackered at the sight of you. You’ve planned eleventy million things to do this summer and dammit, you’re finally going to knock out at 14-er or two, go camping, train for a half marathon and hey, maybe even wash your windows. Come September and you’d rather move house than clean a window, you can barely roll out of bed at 7am and the notion of hiking up a mountain is absurd.  Looking at your sneakers makes you yawn and you can’t even stomach the walk from the parking lot into Whole Foods. Congratulations, the first warning signs of Winter Approachitis (WA) is showing its lackluster head.

2. Leaving the house feels like a major decision

The next warning sign of WA is the amount of effort it now requires you to exert if you’re leaving the house in the evening. What seems like a great idea back in July, now suddenly seems like a huge effort that frankly, you’re not sure you can commit to. After all, there’s three new shows on Fox and you just bought new socks. Do you really need to? Will anyone really care if you don’t show up? When you find yourself automatically jumping to worse case scenarios and fantasizing about diseases you could use as an excuse not to go.. your WA is definitely ramping up.

3. You’ve broken out the jazz cds and bought a candles

All summer you’ve been searching the radio for happy songs, pop and R&B tracks that you can sing along to at the top of your voice. But suddenly you’re really annoyed by anything vaguely upbeat or ‘light’ and you start shouting at the radio when yet another Rhianna track comes on. Suddenly you want jazz, blues or ‘deeply depressing nod-a-long music’. Something with soul and substance. Next thing you know you’re in the grocery store  standing in front of a candle display and pondering the latest Sinatra compilation at the checkout. Be warned: Telling people that you want to ‘curl up on a sofa with a glass of red wine’ is only a small step away and Winter Approachitis can generate a generic platitude faster than you’re aware. Stay vigilant people.

4. Your dog seems to have snorted Ritalin

Your dog has spent the last 4 months panting and sweating his way through the summer; ambling slowly at the end of the leash with a tongue that threatens to wash the floor as he drags his hot and tired self around the block. He spends the days trying to find the cool spot in the house or yard, and he appears to have retired from all activities apart from sleeping, eating and pooping. Walking optional.  But suddenly, overnight, you look at your dog and you notice that he looks like someone just gave him hair plugs and he suddenly wants to do shit. Like now. Now. Now. Now. Please. Now? Right as you’re collapsing onto the sofa for a long evening of not moving and staring at nothing, he’s ready for squirrel bating, goose huntin, leash yanking fun times. And boy, is he going to make you aware of it. Balls at your feet, pacing, barking at trucks, neighbors and sirens, scrambling to the door every-time he sees you move or change shoes. Goddam.. its exhausting. And that’s before you’ve even left the house.

5. You decide to cook something

I know there are people out there who do this all year long, but for us singletons, cooking is 100% optional in the summer. Hell, that’s what grills are for and if necessary, you can always drink dinner with a chips and salsa chaser. But as the weather cools, you find yourself pondering what one does with a squash and wondering if your mother was right about the joys of a slow cooker.  You dust off the oven and wonder what actually goes into a ‘stew’. Have no fear though, this feeling will pass as temperatures continue to plummet and you discover the 12 new Asian restaurants that now deliver to your neighborhood. And hell, you can still drink your dinner if necessary- that’s what red wine is for.

6. You bed becomes more alluring than a hot stud muffin in Levis

Sure you really could use a little loving, and boy it would be nice to make out with someone before you forget how, but hey… come winter you know your bed will suffice. You don’t need to shave your legs to get full enjoyment out of it and you know you can’t fuck it up. Damn that bed is an alluring bitch in the winter. You spend your days dreaming about the moment you’re going to climb into it, and every morning, as you’re smoothing the sheets, you’re already cooing ‘I’ll be back soon my love’. Sure it won’t buy you dinner or make you reach for the stars, but damn, its never boring and it always always delivers.

But don’t worry folks, winter here once it taxi’s down the jetway and deplanes. And then we can all start moaning about bad drivers from Texas, the lack of snow plows and why you need to work from home.