(not so) Happy

I have unlocked the secret to happiness.

Now hold on a minute.  Don’t just roll your eyes and walk off. Come back here! I’m serious.  I know the secret to happiness.

Are you ready to know the secret? Okay, wherever you are, go to a mirror. Close your eyes.  Stand in front of the mirror.  Take a deep breath.

Now, open your eyes.

See it?

You are looking at the secret of happiness.

For those of you who cheated and did not go to a mirror, I will give you the answer.

It’s you.

You are the secret to happiness.

Now, before you feel an overwhelming sense of responsibility, don’t misunderstand.  You are not the secret to everyone’s happiness.  Just your own.  Do you follow? I’ll say it plainly, with bold font, so you can get it.

You are the secret to your own happiness.

In my never-ending observation of people, I see everyone constantly searching for happiness.  They look for it in people and places and things.  They want happy lives and happy relationships and happy jobs, but they are let down over and over.

I spent more years than I am willing to count trying to find my own happiness in other people.  I was continually disappointed.  I was chronically disappointed.  Why? Because I thought someone else had the key to my happiness..  I placed impossible expectations on the people around me, and then held it against them when they couldn’t deliver.

I’m not sure what finally clued me in.  I can’t pinpoint one big “ah-ha” moment when I realized I had it wrong.  I think I just got tired of being such a drag.

Every morning I get up, and I don’t have what  people would  consider  a “fun” schedule.  I have to get my people out of bed and feed them and medicate them.  The daughter can be down right uncooperative.  Sometimes I have to hold her arms down with my leg so I can get her medicine in her.  That is not fun.  But I make jokes about it and laugh and accuse her of trying to kill me.  I sing songs and make faces to try to keep her from getting too mad.  When it’s finished, I make a big show of wiping my brow and then that’s that.  When she has a seizure, we sit together and bitch about it for a while.  It makes us feel better.  Then it’s over.

What if I wanted to make a different choice?  What if I decided to lament the difficulty of my life? What if I fussed at my daughter for her extreme hard-headed-ness (which she gets from her father) and started my whole day off on a sour, negative note?  What if I wanted to look at all of the things wrong with my life, all of the hard things that just don’t seem fair, and what if was mad or sad about them? Well, life around here would certainly be different, wouldn’t it?

No one can make those choices but me.  I can blame who I want.  Is it fair that things are the way they are?  Maybe not.  But guess what?  There’s not one damn thing I can do to change things, fair or not, and how in the hell does me being miserable help anyone?

Misery loves company–we’ve all heard it.  It’s true.  Misery is catching.  The beautiful thing, though, is that happiness is catching, too!

In our marriages, our relationships with our children, our jobs, every single aspect of our lives, we make the decision of how we are going to live our lives.  It breaks my heart to think of how much of my life I have lost being miserable.

Laughter is such a part of our lives now.  We have to laugh at ourselves and our lives–we just have to.  I don’t think we could survive day-to-day if we didn’t.  Look around yourself.  If you are with people, or, God forbid, if you are a person who can’t laugh at yourself, seek help immediately.  Put your head between your knees.  Call 911, something.  Just bail out.  You’re drowning.

You’re drowning in our society’s notion that happiness is something that is owed to us, that it is something therapy and medication can provide.  We have convinced ourselves that others should mold themselves into the shapes that make us happy.

We are deluded, and what’s worse, we are miserable.

If only everyone could decide to be happy.  If only everyone could see that each life, each relationship, each job, each person, can be a part of what our happiness is all about.  There is so much that is beautiful in even our hardest moments, so much that we should celebrate.  Even when things are hard, we can deal with them and move on.  There is so much to be thankful for, so much to appreciate.

So much to be happy about.

Go back to that mirror.  Look yourself directly in the eye.  Don’t take any bullshit.  Who is standing in the way of your happiness? Can you see them?

Now, what are you going to do about it?






Camping in Hell

This was supposed to be a post about Feminism, but at this point I would give up the right to vote to have an air conditioner and some hot water, so I’m thinking I’d better wait a while to continue with that subject. Once the power is back and the laundry is caught up, I’ll get back on track.


In the movie “Alive,” after the plane has crashed, they are just sitting on the  mountain in the snow one morning, and one of the guys says in this surreal voice–“It has been six days.  This is the sixth day.”

Not long after that, they started eating people.

Well, this is the tenth day.  We have now been without power for ten days. Luckily, it’s too hot to eat.

I’m not really a self-pitying person most of the time.  I don’t have a lot of sympathy for people who whine and complain about the various situations they find themselves in.

But this sucks.  Bad.

I managed to keep a fairly positive attitude for a while, but it’s getting tough.  I’m getting into that frame of mind where I’m starting to think everyone has power but us, why isn’t it back on yet, I can’t live like this any more!!!!!!!!!!

So you see how the thought process goes.

I need to stay away from Facebook, because I keep seeing how everyone is getting their power back, and it is starting to mess with my head.  Also, I’m having some unusually violent thoughts towards the Facebook preachers.  You know the ones I mean–the ones who say things like, “Yeah, we don’t have power and a tree fell on Grandma’s head and now she talks funny and the car blew away but we are so thankful that God has taken care of us and everyone shouldn’t complain because it could have been SO much worse.”

You know the ones I mean.

I would make me so happy to be able to catch one of these people and wring my sopping wet underwear (sorry for that image) out right over their heads.  Then possibly strangling them with them, if I had the energy.

Another thing that is getting on my nerves is how everyone keeps saying, “It’s like camping!” Well, I am an experienced camper, and this is NOT like camping.  Camping in Hell, maybe, but not regular camping.  For one, I camp on an electric site, even with a tent, so I can run a fan at night.  Also, I camp in the spring and fall, when it is cool.  I would never, EVER camp during the hottest time of the year, and especially not during the hottest temperatures our area has seen in decades.

So I’ve got to do it–I’ve got to get a list of complaints off of my chest just once.  Here it goes:

  • I hate the heat.  I hate the humidity.  We have both.  It sucks.
  • No air conditioning.  See the previous item.
  • No hot water.  This is the second worst thing to me–I wash my hands in hot water, I brush my teeth with hot water, I mop with hot water, I wash clothes in hot water–you see where I’m going with this.  Yes, we heat water on the stove, but not in large enough quantities for any major projects.
  • It is too hot for any major projects, anyway.
  • I have been doing laundry in the bath tub.  I HATE hanging laundry outside.  Some people talk about how great stuff smells when it hangs outside, but I think it smells like crap, and it also feels like crap.
  • When you DO heat water on the stove, the flame from the burner heats the kitchen to some ungodly temperature that I don’t even want to know.
  • Cold showers do not make me feel clean.  Also, while all of us able-bodied people can suffer with a cold shower, I will not subject my sister or my daughter to them.  So I have been bucket bathing them for ten days.  More suckage.
  • The generator is a little too small for such a big house, so we have to be very careful what we use. Some of the circuits weren’t wired in, so one end of the house is dark.  I’ll either be blind or have cat’s eyes when this is over.
  • On the generator note, we have spent a small fortune on gasoline.  I just keep telling everyone all our money is tied up in petroleum products.
  • It’s hot.
  • Also, it’s really hot.
  • Did I mention it’s hot?

Okay, I feel a little better.

Just to keep from bringing everyone down, I’m going to end this post with a list of the positive things going on here.  Maybe it will make me feel better.

  • We do have a generator.  So we have fans and television and we have been able to keep the fridge and freezer going.  We can run a small air conditioner at night in our room after everything else has been turned off so we can sleep in relative comfort.
  • We have a gas range, so we can cook and heat water.
  • I haven’t had to run the vacuum in over a week.
  • We’ve lived without a microwave, and I’ve always heard those things aren’t very good for you.
  • Evelyn and Mindy can watch television.  You have no idea how important this is.
  • We have cell phones and have been able to keep them charged.
  • We’ve passed the time playing Scrabble and Uno together.  I guess that counts as quality time, even though occasionally I would lose my focus and imagine hitting one of my family members over the head with some blunt object.
  • I basically haven’t worn a bra for any measurable length of time for ten days.
  • We do have water–thanks to our city water supplier for that.  In the past this wasn’t the case.
  • We learned about a new kind of storm, which was sort of educational and pretty cool.  It’s called a derecho.  Check it out.

That’s really all I can come up with right now.  There might be more, but frankly they escape me.

I will sign off again for now.  Hopefully the next time you hear from me, I will be sitting in an air-conditioned room typing on my fully charged laptop.

Either that, or you’ll read about me in the paper.




The Trials and Tribulations of the Modern Day Millionaire

Yeah, it’s a hard old world, all right.  Just ask a rich person.

I mean, I’m not even going to talk about what kind of taxes rich people have to pay.  Unless of course they don’t have to pay any, and then I guess that’s ok.  Oh! And let’s not forget how difficult it is to make sure the help is all legal–let’s see those green cards, guys!  Then there’s the constant demands of the people around the rich–you know, to do something worthy with their money and make a difference in the world.  And you can’t even imagine how much the insurance on a Bentley costs!

Sort of makes you sad, doesn’t it?  Either that, or it makes you want to vomit.

Somehow, rich people are becoming the victims.  Of all of the amazing things I’ve heard in the course of my life, this one has to be WAAAAAYYYYYY up there at the top of the list.  I’m not so naive that I actually believe taxing rich people will solve our economic problems–but neither am I so dumb that I think it’s okay for everyone else on Earth to pay taxes for basically everything except the air we breathe (don’t get any ideas, Mr. President, it was just a joke!) and that certain other financially endowed people get a break.  I find it amusing that Congress was against the increase on taxing the rich–hel-LO! They ARE the rich! These are the same people who get on television and gesture and tear at their hair and open small arms fire at the opposing party because of the state of our economy…..and then vote to give themselves a cost of living raise.

Now, I know this horse is long dead, and I know Rep. Fleming wasn’t really asking for sympathy when he informed us that he “only” made about $400,000 after he “fed his family” (what the &%$# is his family eating, anyway?) I still couldn’t help but to not give a shit.  I’m sure $400,000 is what the IRS sees on his personal income tax, but I’m equally sure he’s just as big a whore as everyone else in DC.

True Story:  The government wanted to adjust some school lunch programs around the country to include fewer potatoes and some different, healthier vegetables from time to time.  The bill was doing pretty good, until apparently it suddenly occurred to the potato producers that, “Hey! That means they won’t be buying as many potatoes!”  So they threw some money at the right people, and that particular bill went down in flames.  I hope they at least wore a condom.

Even if $400,000 a year really is “all” someone earns, is that a bad thing?  I think I could stretch that out for a year.  Of course, my tastes are probably not quite as exquisite.  But damn! Think of the books I could put on my Kindle with that!

And celebrities. They crack me up.  Professional sports players actually going on strike. They cry and say they have no privacy and no personal lives because everything is photographed and splashed across the cover of magazines.  Oh, excuse me while I get a tissue.  Don’t like it?  Give up the millions and millions of dollars you make for basically playing dress-up and go to work like the rest of us. Yes, and that means Consuela has to leave and you have to take care of your own kids.  Uh-oh.  I thought that might be a deal-breaker.

I especially love when these celebs go to foreign countries.  Angelina is my favorite, by far.  She goes to all of these poverty-ridden countries, and after she adopts a kid or two to tote around for the cameras, she frowns and hugs some of the ones she didn’t adopt, and gets lots of great photo-ops.  She puts her skinny, vein-y arms around those little guys and it just about breaks your heart.

Or not.

If celebrities are so worried about those people, why don’t they realize that the opulent lifestyles they lead are a direct mockery to the image they are trying to portray?  Hey, Angie! Why not drop a couple hundred bucks and hand out some sandwiches and DaSani?

I’m sure somewhere out there someone is going to go on about all of the good celebrities do and how they use their fame to make issues more public so pathetic low-life losers like us can be more aware of them.  Whatever.  There are people all over this planet who do good–no, make that great–things every day who don’t need to have a picture of it to make it count, and furthermore, they sure as hell aren’t rich.

The worst thing about all of this is that money is really just a figment of our imagination, anyway.  Dave Barry says it’s like Tinkerbell–the only reason it exists is because we believe in it.  Keep clapping, everyone!

Well, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go have breakfast.  I think I’ll fry some potatoes.




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