Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The Giving Tree

I would say we've had an interesting year thus far, and somewhat hectic. But that would be a completely useless statement. Life is just going to be interesting (read: stressful, unexpected, expensive) and hectic (read: I'm not a good organizer) for me in general. I might have less of the 'interesting' if I would just act my age, have a food planner, learn how to fold fitted sheets, and finally decorate my house.

So I'm trying to work on it.

But all that being said, it has indeed been an interesting and hectic year. We've been to Phoenix, Ireland, Paris (for a few lovely, interesting, hectic hours) and California. We've been to the Emergency Room three times in as many months. Sabra and I have had more medical tests than I want to admit, and definitely more than I want to pay for. We are supposed to be having another baby, but I'm going to wait a few more months before believing it. Our financial situation was up, then way down, then slightly up, then down into the Zone of Depression, then way way up again so that I can't decide if I should sell my kidney or go for a spa day. Our house has seen an invasion of the Wicked Ant Beasties, a plumbing issue from the depths of Toilet Hell, and more fix-it problems than I can recall.

I'm just now starting to feel like I'm ready to face the year, and as you know, we are halfway through 2009. I'm usually worried on New Year's Day because I don't like imagining all of the bad things that are going to happen in the forthcoming 356.895446 days. I should be more optimistic, but I find that I like to be surprised by good things rather than disappointed when they don't show up. I've been pretty mopey this year, except while on vacation, and in light of my new vow to be a somewhat responsible person with a sparkling clean home, homemade bread and Masters in Literature, I'm trying to not be so mopey.

I know, I know. Everything usually works out in the end, life looks better after a good night's rest, and all those other annoying proverbs that your friends throw at you when they are trying to hint that they are tired of your complaining. So, uncharacteristically, I'm attempting to hold some of my thoughts from jumping onto my tongue and falling into the ears of unsuspecting lovely people I try to surround myself with.

I've been falling in love with Elizabeth Gaskell's works, which I'm so sorry to say had hitherto been unbeknownst to me. I recently finished her story about a town called Cranford, and the strict Victorian rules of etiquette were humorous and fascinating. She pokes fun at the unspoken rules, but then also has her characters worship and abide by them. I'm sorry to say that I would have been a lowly peasant in the eyes of the ladies of Cranford. Even amongst old friends, they forbade any talk of finances, personal fears, and mixed gender relationships.

Oh, what shame is mine. I'm Victorian Tacky.

Sure, those ladies represent a whole era of repressed feelings, thoughts, and ideas. But they also showed me that perhaps I would be wise to hold my tongue long enough to deduce the impact of my thoughts. I have a tendency to voice all my fears, regardless of their bizarre flavors. I've always been under the impression that I'll feel better if I immediately voice my ideas of new ways to torture spies. I figure that I can't be as scared of toilets if I just talk about it, laugh about it, get it out of my head. And why should it be a problem to tell my dearest friends that I think about running away and living under an assumed name and becoming a Yeoman of the Guard at Tower London?

I don't like to keep secrets about my own life, though I can keep them about yours (not to worry...not to worry). Many of the unfortunate situations in my young years have stemmed from a 'don't ask, don't tell' policy that I find to frustrating at best, and hypocritical at worst. Add that to the tendencies of my parents and spouse to be naturally private people, and I'm just one big mess of shout-it-from-the-rooftops.

Well, I fear that in my desire to tell you everything about how I'm vowing to be less garrulous, I've just been boring. That will never do.

We have a tree. A really, really big tree. It is probably around one hundred years in age, and is so big it should be one of those fancy schmancy red wood sequoia things that old hippies live in.

Said tree has been depositing limbs onto our yard, and the yards of two neighbors. If these limbs were the kind that you sat on while reading a book, it would be a cause for eyebrow knitting concern. As they are the type of 'limbs' that you cut down and turn into a deluxe canoe, it is more than alarming.

I looked out the window on Saturday and saw a small cabin (limb) lying on our fence, crushing the flower beds (don't feel too bad as I can't keep plastic flowers fresh) and the ENTIRE portion of our yard. This monstrosity was over twenty feet long and the branches extended their diseased fingers into our neighbors tree-disease-free foliage.

So, we complained loud enough (darn it! not how Cranford ladies would act!) until some friends came with chain saws and hacked at the former Ent. (Middle-Earth humor)

The friends called around for us to discover that to completely fell the tree (which we have to do before it kills us all) would cost upwards of four thousand dollars. OI. There I go again, talking about money as the Cranford ladies warn against. But as it isn't really money I have or anything...is that indecent? I'm not really clear on the rules yet. I know I'm not supposed to say the word 'suck', even in its proper context. So much to learn...

Austin spoke with another Tree Man who drove right out to give a free estimate. His was thankfully much lower, but still not within the 'I'll cut your tree down if you make me some homemade cookies' range. Either way, I'd still be screwed. I always burn cookies.

I was looking at the Tree Man's car, noting that he had neglected to turn off his headlights. I was walking to the door to alert him of this situation when I saw that the car was a Corvette. The man wearing a football jersey who hacks at trees drives A FREAKING CORVETTE!!!

Breathe in, Victorian lady, don't show your shock. Don't tell your husband to buy an ax and start killing trees. Walk politely to mailbox and retrieve calling cards for tea on the 'morrow.


Open bill from IRS who claim we owe them more money. DIE INSIDE.
Open bill from Vanderbilt, politely asking us for thousands of dollars. SINK LOWER BUT APPRECIATE KITCHY STICKPEOPLE DRAWINGS ON BILL.
Open bill from Stone Crest ER, asking for the immediate remittance of thousands more dollars for their expert administration of intravenous fluids. REMEMBER THAT NIGHT AND WANT TO THROW UP.

So we went inside, my pretty spouse and I. We raised our eyebrows (collectively we have 9) at the thousands of dollars that sat before us and hanging in our backyard.

We watched the pretty red Corvette zoom out of the Smyrna ghetto, back to his no doubt pimped out pad without ants or plumbing problems.

And I said a bad word.

But then I laughed and moved on with life.

'Tis an improvement, no?

Tomorrow I'll go shopping for lacey hand gloves.


Beth McDermott said...

awe, HORSEsh*t. if Tiffany is becoming a right, proper, refined, sophisticated woman of class and dignity... the rest of us will be expected to follow suit. and LORD KNOWS im not biting MY tongue. better out than in... thats what i always say. and EVERY woman knows cookies are not to be baked or burned... the dough must be consumed before baking anyhow.

Steph said...

clearly you need to pimp out the pretty husband. that will help all your financial problems.

good luck, xoxox

PS, post an add on craigslist that you have a beautiful tree, free to whoever removes it hahahaha

Lori Buck said...

From one "oversharer" (that can't possibly be a real word) to another, I feel your pain. My mother is constantly telling me, "Honey, you don't have to tell EVERYTHING you know." To which I lament, "But I just can't help it! I need to share." (Hence why I just started my blog.)

I certainly would not be welcome in Cranford, either, although didn't the protagonist begin selling tea out of her home because she was broke? (I read that before I had children, so obviously I can't be expected to remember one iota of the plot.)

As a dedicated Anglophile, that's what you should do. Start an internet tea and scone mix business! Or give tea lessons or something else equally English and fabulous.

BTW, I like Steph's Craigslist idea.