Singularity

Merriam-Webster defines singularity as:

noun \,siŋ-gyә-la-rә-tē\ :  the quality of being strange or odd

Hmm.  How very appropriate considering my avatar.  But I’m not writing about being strange or odd.  The definition continues:

1 : something that is SINGULAR: as

a : a separate unit

There’s more, but for the point of this post we don’t need the rest.

Occasionally over the past few weeks I’ve had various notions flit in and out my brain.  They don’t last long and I don’t dwell on them – they’re sort of glimpses, if you will, of what my life might be like if I were single again.

I don’t take that to mean I want to be single; I really don’t and I’ve asked myself that very question.  I’m not sure it means anything really; I’m treating it as a sort of imagination exercise.

The last time I was single I was raising three daughters, two of whom were teenagers in high school.  Between the four of us there wasn’t a good week in the entire month!  Just kidding.  If you didn’t get it then you’re probably not familiar with PMS.  Go look it up.  Or don’t.  As you parents out there know, when you have children your life is not always your own.  You make choices and do things based on your family first, then yourself.  Usually.

But if I were single now with all my kids grown?  So many possibilities await me!  There is always a chance I could be single again down the road – there are no guarantees in life after all – so I thought I should make a list of the ideas that have been floating about.  I don’t want to forget them if I need them someday.

If I suddenly found myself single I would move closer to work.  I loathe commuting.  I could probably afford something closer to town if I lived alone.  First of all, I wouldn’t need such a large place and I’d only be feeding me; and possibly a pet.

I would eat at home more, experimenting with foods I haven’t tried.  Living closer to work I’d get home earlier, and there would be time for kitchen chemistry.  In the evenings I’d take a walk or ride my bicycle (I would get a bicycle).  In the rainy season I would probably hit the Y gym or the pool some evenings.

I’d go to the movies by myself, buy my snacks there – price be damned – and sit in the quiet, dark theater and bask in the anonymity.

Another activity I want to try is a community garden.  I have brown thumbs AND fingers.  Plus I have no idea what I’m doing so I pretty much do nothing.  If I could join a community garden I could get down and dirty under a garden guru’s guidance.  And – BONUS – bring home fresh produce!

Going back to school is another attractive idea.  I don’t want a to earn a degree, I just like the idea of finding an interesting subject and joining in with others who are interested.  I could just as easily find some sort of social group for that I suppose.  Square dancing anyone?

Traveling!  There are so many wonderful places I haven’t been.

One of my very favorite ideas though is visiting bookstores.  New bookstores, old bookstores, junk shops, variety stores – anywhere there are books!  Many moons ago I took a weekend trip with two girlfriends.  One of the days we went for a drive and the only rule was that we had to stop wherever someone wanted.  During the drive any one of us could holler out that they wanted to go THERE and whoever was driving would pull in.  We also talked about what our very favorite thing to do was.  Mine was to browse in a used bookstore all by myself with no timetable.  I would still enjoy that.

I think if I didn’t move closer to work I’d like to live closer to the beach.  I was born in a beach city, maybe that’s why I’ve always felt an affinity for the salty spray and the sea breeze.  I commuted by ferry for many years and I loved parts of that commute while hating how long it took.  If I could live by the shore I’d be such a happy camper!

All this talk about moving reminds me of something else I would do if I were single – minimize!

We have so much STUFF.  Sure, you need furniture, appliances, clothing – I get that.  But we have a room full of things that just sit there taking up space.  We own two full size SUVs and a fifth wheel.  Let me tell you, those would be gone in a heartbeat.  Well, the suburban and the trailer would go; I might keep the pickup.  I like my pickup.

This raises yet another issue I have – upgrading.  If I were single again, I would upgrade nothing, nada, zilch, zippo.  At least until there was no choice.  I was happy with the 37” flat screen television we were using.  It wasn’t that old and the picture was great.  Now it’s one of the things in the back bedroom that sits gathering dust.  JD’s plan is to install it in the 5th wheel (and you know how I feel about the trailer).  I don’t need new and improved or bigger and better.

What I want is enough.  Just give me enough to get by, along with a teeny bit more for an occasional splurge.

Phew!  I had no idea this would go on and on.  I guess it’s a good thing I wrote it down, right?

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Is it Miller time yet?

Why am I suddenly so emotional?  I was sitting on the train on the way to work this morning, gazing out the window, which I almost never do, when it occurred to me I’ve been doing this commute for a little over 3 years.  The next thing I knew my eyes were filling.  WTF?

I blinked back the potential for embarrassment or awkwardness in front of the other commuters, and ramped up the volume on my music.  I’m cool.  I did not just almost burst into tears on public transit.

But since then I’ve been wondering what might have caused that surprising reaction to a somewhat ordinary thought.

One possibility is that remembering how long I’ve been commuting via train tends to also bring up the fact that we lost our property and house about 3 years ago.  But I’m pretty sure I’ve dealt with that loss.  I still miss my soaking tub, but otherwise – I’m good.

Alternatively, when going beyond the last 3 years to see the Big Picture, I’ve been commuting in one form or another more than half my lifetime – ack!  That’s enough to make anyone want to cry.

Or perhaps my subconscious was facing the hard reality that I will likely be commuting right up until I drop dead.  At 57 you’d think I could be looking forward to retirement, if not soon, then at least eventually.  Just between us Dear Reader, retirement is merely a dream.  I’ll be sitting at my keyboard, proofreading legal memoranda and entering attorneys’ time for the foreseeable future.  Or until secretaries become obsolete, whichever comes first.

Is it Miller time yet?

You can’t make this shit up

Wow do I feel stupid.  While posting my Writing 101 exercise earlier I saw Part 2 of this post but it just occurred to me I didn’t see this post – the one that should have introduced the situation.  So, if you don’t mind reading in reverse, below is the post which should have gone up FIRST.  (By the way, “yesterday” was last Wednesday.)  Sigh.

Well, sure you can if you’re a writer I guess. But this is my real life and this really happened.

Yesterday I woke up with a pain in the neck. No, not my husband. A literal pain in the right side of my neck. It was so bad I considered staying home, but I had a previously scheduled chiropractor appointment immediately after work and I thought I would tough it out. I stood a long time under the hot stream in our child-size front shower (more on that later); put on my big-girl panties and other assorted attire and headed for the train station. Even though I was running a bit late there was a good parking spot available and I maneuvered the truck into it with plenty of time to get to my train. Because of the above-mentioned pain in my neck, I’d opted to leave behind my backpack, hauling only my cross-body purse and bottle of water. It wasn’t until I stepped down from the truck that it dawned on me my transit pass and office access cards were with my backpack on the dining room table.

Practically in tears between the pain and frustration, I climbed back into the Dodge, wove my way out of the garage – it is amazing how idiotic commuters can be in a garage isn’t it? Most everyone entering the garage had to drive smack in the middle of the two lanes of traffic so I had to wait a few times to avoid driving too close to the parked cars on my way out.

At home I woke my husband to take me back to the train. I’m perfectly capable of driving myself, however, parking in a completely FULL garage is beyond me and by the time I could get back there it was most definitely going to be full. Don’t doubt me on this; I’ve been there and done that. While the sleepy guy I live with was trying to become coherent I took the dogs outside for a quick pee and we headed out.

Thankfully I wasn’t late to work, but I had to hit the cafeteria immediately after dropping off my stuff and then eat breakfast at my desk. I wish I could say more about work (not really)  but we’re not supposed to talk out of school – and no, I don’t work for a school. I GET to work with lawyers! You can’t see me but I was doing a happy dance as I typed that. No, no I wasn’t. Not even. Though I must say I do have the absolute best desk in the office principal-wise. I LOVE the folks I work for, but the work load for four attorneys can be wearisome at times. And with an already sore neck? ‘Nuf said I think.  Or perhaps I go on too much.  Let’s move on.

Office Yoga was on the agenda but I was afraid I’d do more damage to an already painful neck so I played hooky and ate lunch at my desk with a few crossword puzzles. Then in the afternoon there was a surprise fire drill – lovely. I know, I know – the whole idea of a drill is that it’s a surprise right? They want to ingrain in everyone how to react when it’s the real deal. But let’s be honest here okay? Raise your hand out there if you believe that people in a skyscraper are going to calmly descend multiple flights of stairs in a real emergency. Hey, will someone count the hands please and get back to me? Great, thanks.

So…fire drill completed we all went back to work and a bit after 4 PM I headed to the chiropractor’s office a couple of blocks away.

To hear how our story ends, tune in tomorrow! Or maybe the next day; we’ll see.

You Still Can’t Make This Up

And now back to the shower from earlier in our story:  We live in a manufactured home built almost 30 years ago.  You know how a stick-built home is supposed to increase in value over time?  Not so much with a manufactured home.

Anyway, the shower head in the master bath was leaking so JD* fixed it.  It continued leaking.  JD fixed it again.  Hey, it wasn’t his fault; he knows what he’s doing in a stick-built house.  Unfortunately, manufactured housing doesn’t use the same standard for their materials, at least they didn’t when ours was built.  The shower head didn’t exactly leak again, but it did blow off the pipe that comes out of the wall.  It was just too old and too stripped to be usable.  Story of my life.  And boy do I wish I had video of that — it happened while JD was using the shower!

So JD took off the fixtures, a chore in itself, and prepared to pull the vinyl (or whatever they used umpteen years ago) away from the wall so he could replace the pipe.  Unfortunately the vinyl or whatever cracked (did I mention it’s old?).  He was able to see behind though and discovered strange looking plumbing used mainly in manufactured homes and possibly in ancient RVs.  His tool collection doesn’t stretch to the appropriate gadgets for working on that.  It appeared we’d need help on this project so we set up an appointment with BathFitters for an estimate.  We knew at a minimum the wall would have to be replaced and we weren’t sure the plumber we’d had out last month did that sort of work.

Yes, two months running with plumbing problems.  Last month it was the water heater for which we shelled out 1200 clams – get it?  Shelled out?  Clams?

Sigh.

Moving on…I left my chiropractic appointment and while walking to a bus stop JD and I chatted about how I was going to get home from the train station.  He had parked our truck back in the station garage and since the taxi stand there was empty he was trying to figure out which bus would take him closest to our house.  With the BathFitter guy due at our place by six we were going to be cutting it close.  Two different bus drivers identified a bus that should get him where he wanted to go.  Did he ask his wife, the Super-Commuter?  Nooooo.  He ended up having to walk a lot further but he made it home before the rep got there.  I wasn’t so fortunate.

Super-Commuter that I am, I made the single worst mistake a commuter can.  I neglected to ask the bus driver if he stopped at my stop.  Hell, I’d been catching buses at that corner twice a week since I started going to the chiropractor in April.  I had asked every single driver that very question because I was unfamiliar with most of the bus routes I saw there.  Till now.  I was so glad there was one waiting at the stop!  It meant I’d get to the train station in time for my usual train and I’d get home in plenty of time!  I’d be able to take off my shoes, change out of my work clothes and be comfortable before the sales guy showed up.

Sadly, it was not meant to be.  I looked up seconds after taking a seat to find that the driver had made an immediate right turn.  Surprised, I signaled for the next stop, figuring I could still retreat back up the hill and catch a different bus.  The woman across the aisle from me advised that I had gotten on at the last stop; we were now headed for somewhere far, far away from where I wanted to be, damn it.  Okay, not that far, but I would not be making my usual bus.

I exited the bus at the first stop, crossed the street and waited at the sign there for a bus returning downtown.  Thankfully one stopped only a few minutes later.  Even more thankfully, the driver explained that the stop I was at was defunct – the new stop was a block west – but he had stopped anyway!  Bless him!  Unfortunately, his first stop was even further from the train station than the stop where I’d boarded the wrong bus.  And it was well into rush hour so what buses I saw were either SRO or barely creeping along.  Keeping an eye on my phone to monitor the time, I began to worry I would miss even the last train out.

 To be continued . . .

*JDis John Doe – who else would Janey Doe be married to?