Loose Screws

I recently purchased a treadmill and it was delivered to my house. I know I understood I had to put it together, but I don’t think I fully wrapped my brain around this concept. I also think I was just a bit grandiose in my ability to manage this project.  To construct means: to combine parts, systematically arranging, to build. I do all these things rather poorly. I don’t even cook or throw dinner parties due to these weaknesses. I just can’t. My time management is poor and my organizational skills are worse. Actually, cooking for a holiday dinner gives me almost as much anxiety as being pulled out to sea in a riptide while hearing the tsunami warning horns blaring off in the distance.  Just the thought of this exhausts me. I believe building a treadmill might be the same thing as throwing a dinner party, minus handling the screws.

When the delivery truck pulled up I was excited and anxious at the same time. Let’s not confuse the two. These are totally different states of energy. I know this as an obsessive kind of person who treads through a healthy amount of apprehension on the daily.  After the delivery men left, I still remained magically optimistic and hopeful that maybe when I opened the box the machine would already be put together and it was just in its folded upright position. Of course my childish optimism faded with the cutting of the cardboard and I was left feeling a bit impotent.  Very similarly, I feel the same when I’m handed a new Apple device and am told about its capabilities and of its storage capacity. Terabyte? Wait, isn’t that a type of dinosaur?

In spite if myself, I opened the instruction manuel and laid the parts out, mainly in an attempt to fool myself. Perhaps, if my body acts like it knows what it’s doing, my brain will just go along with it. I followed the steps, each one. Until I get to step 14. I was supposed to have a stabilization bar, in which the console is theoretically to rest upon, but no. I read if you don’t have all the parts I am to STOP. Well, I think I was already three hours committed, which is too far my dear instruction manuel to just quit. And I have put enough Target  furniture together in the past two years to have some realization that sometimes there are variations between what is in the manuel and what is in the actual box. However, I did have a few moments of…well, I guess this is how it all ends, with the urge to just pack my bags and light a match and just be done with it. As the case may be, I might be the only person who has fantasies of just burning my house to the ground when it’s too dirty or when I take on a project that spirals into disaster much like this one .

With parts scattered all over the garage, I retraced all my steps thinking I might have carried off this stabilization bar to some other part of my house. I looked for it along with my stability for a period of time that seemed appropriate. I mean, just last week I found a lost coffee mug in my garden, so my ability to carry things off is part of my daily struggle. The commercials about early stage dementia often catch my attention for obvious reasons.

I looked everywhere and deep down knew this stabilization bar did not exist, yet I believed in it like I did in Santa. I knew this machine could be put together without it and it was meant to be put together without it, but the mere mention of it filled my already low mechanical self esteem with even more self doubt, which led me to curse the manufactures and my doubting self. And to have so many extra screws was worrisome. I continued to put the entire machine together and got to step 24 and then realized I forget to tighten some necessary screws at step 16 and had to take everything apart until then. Rest assured, those forgotten screws at step 16 are tight, cause they were tightened with a calm, quiet rage.

I worked for more hours than I like to admit putting that machine together that day. I did curse some, but mainly I did in a low mumbling tone. I’m not sure if that makes it better or worse, actually. I almost finished up that night, but just could not get the last two screws in. I’m not sure if it was because I lost the good light of the day or if it was because my hands just failed to hold the screw driver properly after all those hours. I did try several times and I just could not get the screws to go where they were suppose to go, so instead of dropping a match to it and walking away in slow motion, I just put the screw driver down and grabbed a glass of wine and some Tylenol. Those two loose screws were not a problem when I finally screwed them in the following morning. And it’s not all the unused and loose screws left astray on the floor that bother me.  I think it’s the loose ones running on it that troubles me the most.

Weed Interferes With My Running

The repetition of my feet hitting the pavement during my almost daily run often puts my mind in a semi-meditative state. I am able to ponder many things. Somedays I ponder my poor choice of underwear. On other days while running, I ruminate over the fact I used the pronoun “he” when actually referring to a “she” during a discussion earlier in the day. In my defense, she was super handsome. And I must admit on some runs, I think about absolutely nothing, not even a glimmer of any intelligent thought. I guess my point is, I can turn off my mind and not think as much as I want or think as much as I need to, but the choice is mine.

During the last few weeks, my meditation has been interrupted by greenery. Most would consider this a good thing, but I don’t. During my runs I have been fixated on the state of other people’s yards. I have had these obsessive urges to pull out random weeds I see along my way. I want to trim hedges and clip low hanging branches. I just want to prune. I have actually interrupted a run and bent down to pull a weed, but stopped myself. Last night I had a dream I did stop mid jog in some random yard and just went crazy weeding. I was frantically shoving all the weeds in my pockets, as if I didn’t want the homeowner to see any evidence I had been there.

I find myself thinking a lot about weeds. I notice the ones that grow through the cracks of the pavement when I’m downtown. Recently, I was having a conversation with a co-worker and I did not hear a word once I noticed the wayward weed growing through the cement. The urge to pull it from the crack in the concrete was strong! I guess I am a little troubled to be fixated on weeds, but not too upset that I’m noticing the urban ones. However, the fact I am consumed with weed control while on my daily run is the more bothersome aspect. My once mellow meditative running is no longer and this begs the question. Do I have a weeding problem? Is it interfering with my social life? Can I stop weeding cold turkey? Or can I still do it socially and still function?

I have made the Home Depot garden section one of my routine stops. I often slowly stroll the isles looking for others desperate souls. I listen for the conversations they strike up with staff and spy on what they put in their carts to gauge just how far gone they might be in their battle. They might not even have to say one word, at least to me. I might know just enough by how much weed killer or gardening tools that roll through on the checkout belt. And I silently judge them and think “they” are much worse than I am, I am nothing like “them”. They have a much bigger weeding problem than I do.

Looking back, I believe the gateway to my weed dependence and addiction was/is my yard. At first I really hated the act of weeding. It started out innocently enough. I was just trying to fit in and be a good neighbor. The other neighbors were doing it, so it must be okay. Over time one hour turned into two and before I knew it, I would be in a full weed binge. Five hours of the day would go by before I could bring myself to stop plucking those noxious plants from the earth. Now, I just can’t do it enough during the weekend, and I rush home from work to continue to weed throughout the week. Until I find a W.A. group I will fight the good fight. Till then I will white knuckle and resist the urge to go for a run with my gardening gloves on & clippers in hand, and I will let the rap music I listen to while I run sing about hoes instead of me jogging with one….for now.

I Love Your Shoes

Day one of last week started off with me feeling as if I was being physically assaulted by the clicking of this lady’s heels as they hammered the concrete, like tiny deadly jackhammers penetrating the base of my scull with each step. I thought to myself, this is totally me and has nothing to do with this poor woman innocently walking behind me.  Most likely she was thinking she was being fashionable and not criminal. The clicking could have been a form of military torture to break those who are feeling peevish. It was a form of Chinese water torture for my ears.

Day one continued with me losing a report.  My computer promptly freaked out as I was attempting to save it and the document just disappeared, much like my sanity. I unplugged my laptop and carried it like an injured child to my car and sped to work, with it still on. I drove fast. I tried to stay calm. I talked to my laptop. I said, “Please stay with me, come on, do not go to sleep! I need to get you help! Don’t die on me, man!” I ran upstairs and rushed into the only room I could doc my laptop and get it the necessary help. I dialed IT. They asked many unnecessary questions, like “do you have the laptop with you? What is the age of your laptop? Is the little light still flashing?” The IT person finally took command of my laptop and he was able to save it, but he was not able to save my little document. My drive back home with my laptop was sad and quiet that afternoon.

Day two I decided to let my traumatized laptop rest and sneak off to the office early to get some work done. I had a super productive morning and was able to send a large report to my supervisor for review. My supervisor was able to review it quickly and get it back to me, and then it just disappeared. POOF! The document was gone. I called my friends at IT, and still the document was gone. We sent out several search parties. They all came back exhausted and empty. I threw a mental tantrum at my desk, quietly. It was barely noticeable, except for the eye twitch. If I would have encountered the lady in heels around this time, we would have rumbled. She was still on my mind.

Day three my treadmill broke. Some people have a thing they must do everyday in order to feel normal. For me it is running. Running is like air and food for me. It is the third essential. Running is the thread that delicately holds the pieces of my life together. It makes me normal, mostly. It makes me mostly, normal. MY TREADMILL BROKE!

Day four I stopped to buy a new treadmill. The salesperson refused to sell me the moderately priced treadmill I saw on their website, because he did not feel comfortable selling me this particular treadmill. He felt I would not be happy with it. Even with cash in hand and the motivation to BUY A TREADMILL. The “salesperson” REFUSED to sell me the treadmill. This really isn’t how it’s supposed to work, I get it. But I imagine it was the universe speaking to me in some effed up sort of way. He was selling treadmills not puppies. I’m an awesome parent to both, mind you!

Day five, six and seven completed with a week full of some Pretty Messy Stuff and I am certain the reason the short temper and irritability had a PMS somewhere in it too. And I do know my energy is wacky and this happened even before the thread holding things in place broke with my treadmill. As I sit here on the eve before another day one rolls around, I can only hope that things have or did shift back to a mostly normal way of life.  And if tomorrow I hear the click and clack of those heels behind me, I hope I will be inclined to compliment those lovely shoes instead of wrestle that little lady to the ground.