Been thinking about you. Hope everything is well.
My friend texted me this week to check-in. I’ve been quiet off and on the internet. She noticed.
I have a handful of similar messages on Instagram, I can see the preview of DMs asking if I’m okay, telling me I’m missed, hoping that I’m well.
I am well. I am tired and maybe a little depressed, but I am well.
Where have I been?
About two months ago I went radio silent in most parts of my life and the short answer is I’ve been putzing. Putzing around the house. Putzing around thrift shops. Putzing around my neighborhood on walks where I stop to inspect flowers and discarded trash on the side of the road.
My oldest daughter, after years of begging for social media, was finally allowed to get BeReal. I’m staunchly anti-social media for teenagers. There’s just too much damning evidence on how it impacts mental health and body image and a million other developing brain parts too precious to influence right now. But also, I understand the feeling of being left out. I understand what it’s like to show up to school when everyone but you has had the same cultural experiences. I grew up without cable TV when it was a thing everyone had. I wasn’t allowed to watch Friends or The Simpsons, and I had my Salt and Peppa CD taken away after my mom walked into my room while I was listening to it.
I survived, even though conservative Christianity tried it darnedest. And by survived, I mean I’ve had lots of therapy, and I left the cult of evangelical Christianity. But still.
Back to BeReal: my daughter got BeReal so I did, too. The gist of BeReal is you can only post at certain times a day, and you have to participate to see your friends’ posts who are also only posting at certain times a day. It’s similar to Instagram but without filters and set up to, hopefully, help you with some boundaries around your time.
I’m horrible at BeReal.
For years, I’ve had all notifications except text messages turned off on my phone. I don’t want the distraction or intrusion most of them bring, so the only time I know I have an email or a mention on Twitter (never calling it X) is to open an app. I like it that way. But BeReal, to work correctly, means you have to have notifications, which I miss constantly. And then when I do see them? I’m doing the same thing I was doing yesterday when I got the notification: driving my kids somewhere, making dinner, sitting in bed reading a book at an extremely early hour.
That’s it. That’s where I’ve been.
A few weeks ago, I was with my dad as he picked up some stuff he bought at an online auction. As I helped him load some shelves into the back of his truck, I had a flashback to my grandpa doing the exact same thing a few decades ago.
I come from a long line of people who love auctions. One of my favorite stories about my grandpa is how one Saturday he was at an auction and fell off a truck while loading something for someone. He got up and continued about his day, just limping slightly. The next day, he went to church—limping—and then after church, he and my grandma went out for dinner. When they pulled up to the restaurant (maybe my aunt was with them?), he casually asked if someone could run inside and see if the restaurant had a wheelchair he could borrow.
Someone said that’s probably not how restaurants work and maybe you should have your leg checked out if it hurts that bad. They ended up at the emergency room where they learned my grandpa had been walking around on a broken hip for the past 30 hours.
He was mostly upset he missed Sunday dinner.
Anyway, my family loves an auction (and food), and we will not be distracted by silly things like broken bones when it comes to a treasure.
I’ve been driving all over eastern Indiana picking up my online auction deals the past few months.
That’s where I’ve been.
In 2019, we had some drywall work done in our house: patching a light switch we’d moved, redoing the ceiling in a room that was wonky, just random things around the house you ignore until there’s enough of them to warrant calling someone to fix them.
One of the patches has sat, unpainted, in our kitchen since then. I would stare at it at least once a week and think about painting it, but I didn’t have any more of the original kitchen paint and to figure out the color and finish and buying more felt like it would kill me, so I left it.
This week I painted the kitchen, finally covering the drywall patch. I decided it was just easier to paint the whole kitchen than figuring out the original color. Then I had to paint the bench because the new wall paint made the bench color look off. Now I’ve started painting the trim because it looks dingy.
Chris recently said, “Can you just leave stuff alone?”
No, no, I cannot.
That’s where I’ve been.
Chris turned 40 a few weeks ago. I had a late-night, very loud dinner with friends last weekend. I’ve been slowly sanding a French door for my office. I took my nervous dog to the groomer, and he shit on the car seat on the way, so I got to clean the car. I’ve made gallons of tomato soup for dinner, for freezing, for sharing. We just shut the pool for the season. I sat on my porch this morning covered in a blanket and sipped hot coffee. I decided we are a family who no longer uses paper plates or napkins because it’s a waste of money and bad for the environment. I’m trying to find a pair of loose-fitting jeans that everyone is wearing right now, but it’s not going well.
I’ve watched tennis, helped my mom move, and done one million loads of laundry. I’ve been reading a lot, putting myself to bed early, and planning our next road trip. Noah Kahan has been playing non-stop in my car, and Fleetwood Mac provides the background music for anything I’m doing in the kitchen. It’s not chilly enough to turn the fireplace on yet, but I’m counting down the days until I can.
I need to order groceries, and last night I fed my family Zaxby’s because making food sounded like the hardest thing I’ve ever been asked to do. Chris is meeting with his sponsor this morning, just like he does every Saturday morning. I’ll take a walk this afternoon. Tonight, I’ll drive some kids to the homecoming dance.
That’s where I’ve been.