When the Whistle Blows

I scurry to the kitchen from our bedroom like I’m a running back with my eye on the end zone.

(Just to be clear, I had to Google what a running back actually does + I originally said “inzone” not end zone. THAT’S how much I know about football.)

It’s a familiar scene in the Conci household; the tea kettle is whistling + I need to shut that thing down before the neighbors call the police for a welfare check on me.

Enter me sprinting like I know what I’m doing.

Except my Hubs already let me know – like 3 minutes before the whistle blew – that it was about ready to spew like Yellowstone’s geyser.

I ignored him of course.

I was pounding away on my laptop like a herd of elephants making their way across the desert.

That’s what usually happens when I’m so deep in computer work – I forget what the hell is happening around me until the damn kettle whistles so loud it startles the ever-living-shit out of me, and I run like my life depends on it.

And then I turn that sucker off + feel triumphant for an insignificant moment because I slayed some water beast.

But this time, the Hubs got me, and I didn’t even know it.

You know how I came in and told you this thing was about to blow?” the Hubs grinned as he spoke.

“Uh-huh, I nodded like a little schoolgirl listening to a teacher she’s in love with.

“Well, it was about to blow because I knew that’s the only way you’d listen. I already took the kettle off the burner, but I placed it back on ’cause I knew you’d react to the whistle blowing…and not me telling you that thing was about to go nuclear.”

Sneaky little shit, this guy, I thought.

But he knows me best.

And he was right.

(Why does he have to give me life lessons via a tea kettle?)

Why do we wait for the kettle whistle to blow?

Do we like being startled?

Is it easier to just anticipate + then react?

I’m not sure why some of us learn the first go around, or why some take a few soul-screeching turns to get something.

Do we learn better by watching someone else experience life — even when it’s difficult and crushing?

Or do we have to take every hit?

I know I’m waxing philosophical here, but dang, you’d think I’d be tired of learning life lessons via a whistling kettle + the ignoring of common sense.

What whistles are blowing for you?

Love + Blowing Off Steam,

Keli

Pressure + The Snooze Button

I’m experimenting with something you probably know nothing about.

Oh wait, you’re a human, so yeah, you probably know a lot about what I’m experimenting with: Pressure.

(Don’t think for one second, I don’t automatically hear “Under Pressure” [Queen/David Bowie] and want to bust out a tune).

You see, this whole experiment came about due to my participation in one of my infamous spinouts.

And what’s a spin out you’re probably wondering?

Well, if Britney Spears circa 2007 popped into your memory (shaved head + wielding an umbrella) – I’m not there…yet.

My spin out looks more like a Tasmanian Devil that gets sucked into a hurricane.

I literally go so fast (at life, work, motherhood, wifey-lifey, etc.) something has to stop me. 

Most of the time the thing that gets me to slow down + recognize I’m in a tizzy is life being so smart: “Whoa, Kel, slow the hell down.”

Or my Hubs noticing the Tasmanian Devil spin out, watching me get all amped up from afar, and then dropping a subtle hint to me like, “You think that computer’s gonna feed you?”

Soon after I slow the hell down.

I suppose I’ve experienced enough burnouts to heed the warning signs from life + the Hubs (all thanks to getting older).

Thankfully this little spin out was able to be slowed down; like when you’re going so fast on a merry-go-round + someone comes in and physically stops it (hi, dad!), or you jump off because you’re feeling extra ballsy (hi, childhood!).

I’m always vacillating between a force helping me slow down or hurling myself onto stable ground.

(I’m working on some sort of balance, ok. #LifeGoals)

A full-blown spin out was thwarted, and I was left to ponder what actually got me twirling like crazy: why was I going so fast in the first place?

And the answer was clear: pressure.

More specifically – self-imposed pressure to be further ahead.

I was doing this to myself (as I usually do).

There’s no one to blame for my spin outs + definitely no one to blame for placing ridiculous amounts of pressure on myself.

And the truth is – I’ve been that way my whole life.

Perhaps it’s my childhood that had zero discipline.

Perhaps it’s that Capricorn in me that loves to be task-oriented + stubborn + diligent.

Perhaps it’s my fear that my idle brain will send me packing to Fiji on the next red-eye leaving everything behind.  

So, I pressed the snooze button on pressure.

Why the snooze button and not turn the entire alarm clock of pressure off?

Because sometimes pressure does make diamonds + perhaps I might need to harness that energy.

But I definitely prefer a place of low-pressure.

And that’s where I’m hanging out.

I’m experimenting with the low-pressure lifestyle.

And what does that look like?

Well, so far, I’ve stopped placing ridiculous time frames on my work life.

I love working ahead + being so on top of things that not only am I anticipating the next ten moves, I’m also living in that potential scenario.

I’ve learned to tell myself, “BE HERE NOW, WOMAN!” (I know that’s so Buddha of me to say, but damn, living in the future blows).

So here I am in all of my experimenting glory.

Every time I feel like I’m adding unnecessary pressure to my world, I literally stop and bitchslap ma’self: “You love your work. You’ll get it done. Just keep showing up and plugging away, you crazy-beautiful thing, you!”

How’s that working out for me?

Pretty darn good, actually.

I’ve thrown out mantra’s in my life (maybe it’s just the word mantra I’ve thrown out…hmmm), but I do love some self-talk that keeps me from puking on the merry-go-round or jumping off mid-swirl + getting all roughed up.

Because sometimes watching the future you on a playground chillin’ by the tree’s — workin’ on that low-pressure lifestyle — is where the magic really is.

Love + Snooze Buttons,

Keli

When Can No Become a Complete Sentence? (+ I’m So Not A Nature Person, So Stop Asking Me to Go Hiking)

I’m a pretty literal person + I definitely don’t read between the lines very well.

When someone remarks, “Didn’t you hear what that guy was trying to say?” I’m usually sitting there thinking so hard my brain starts to twitch, “Ummmm, nope, sure didn’t; all I literally heard was the exact words coming out of his mouth.”

It doesn’t help that my Hubs likes to tell me stories and paint me a picture of his intergalactic plans about the big-picture vision he has about how he would build something, “Does that make sense? Can you see it?”

No, I can’t see it, fool. Like, at all.

In fact, I’m now more confused about life than before this conversation.

And this is why I have such a difficult time with declining invitations.

I’m not talking just wedding invites and anniversary parties where I can RSVP with a checkmark in the no box – I mean any invite ever asked by a person.

Want to grab a coffee?

Shall we go to a movie?

Let’s do dinner!?

How does breakfast sound?

Weekend getaway sound off the charts?

As I’ve added more candles to ma’birthday cake I’m so less inclined to be social.

Call it an existential crisis, knowing myself better or just plain loving the shit out of being home – I find myself automatically wanting to say no to social stuff a lot.  

But the conundrum doesn’t fall in my desire to say no – the conundrum arrives in HOW TO SAY NO.

You see, I find it excruciatingly difficult when all I want to say is “No” or “Hell no I’m not making that” when declining an invitation or passing on an event – because I’m told there are softer + gentler ways to let people down.

(Side note: Are we really letting people down? But I digress).

My brain plays the fastest game of Scrabble® when I get an invitation –

“Hell no, I’m not going to that.”

“Ok, for just an hour or two – I’ll leave when I want.”

“Oh, forget that the new season of Grace + Frankie just dropped on Netflix.”

“Oh snap, there’s gonna be mimosa’s? Honey, can you drop me off?”

After the dust has settled and it’s time to actually make a decision whether I’m going to show up to this happening or not, 90% of the time I opt to stay home – where there’s mimosa’s AND Netflix.

So why is it not socially acceptable to just say no in declining an invite – and that be enough?

Why do we feel like we have to offer an explanation or even an apology, “Love to, but I’m so busy” “I’m richly scheduled that weekend, sorry”?

I’ve probably read a weekends worth of articles on the art of saying no + gentle ways to go about metaphorically slamming the No Door in someone’s face.  

Finding the right word choice to simultaneously not offend someone, potentially hurt their feelings yet also express what I need to express – has left me, well, a bit exhausted.

And I’m over it.

So, can we start a one-word revolution where no is a complete sentence?

I mean I tell my Little Love of a daughter that all the time, “No, is a complete sentence, honey. That goes both ways – for you and the other person.”

Why can’t I as a bloody adult just simply say, “No thanks” to an invite to go hiking (because I’d literally be dreaming of sitting on a patio drinking margarita’s the entire time [#SoNotANaturePerson #Facts])?

Now, I know I can simply say no and move on – I’m a free bird who can do whatever the hell I want.

So maybe I will.

As soon as I’m done with this margarita – because I’ll take tequila any day over dirt, rocks and the potential of being attacked by a mountain lion

Because I said no.

Love + Hell No,

Keli

In Awe of Piddle

I don’t get irritated or baffled anymore when I walk into a restroom and see pee on the floor, or heck, on the toilet seat itself.

I don’t even wonder in my head – or out loud if I’m feeling brazen – “Wow, doesn’t anybody know how to pee in the bowl anymore?”

I don’t even start to feel self-righteous because I have a vagina and not a penis.

It’s weird how my mind works these days.

I’m going to give all of this weird-thinking credit to being a caregiver to my Pop’s for ten years.

I walked into a bathroom recently – one of those single loo’s – at a coffee shop where everyone from Grandma Grace to Tiny Tyke Timmy to Newborn Betty and Average Joe goes to relieve everything that’s all up in them.

So, you really don’t know who the pissing culprit is when you walk in there and notice a little urine sprinkle here and a small trickle there.

Only now when I walk into a bathroom and notice the drizzle of tinkle water on the floor and on the toilet – I smile.

Again, like I said, it’s weird how my mind works these days.

I grin because memories of caregiving for my Pops, The Vic, come flooding back to me.

And Pops is still – even in his dementia-dosed mind – one of my favorite people.

Walking into a bathroom and seeing the display of piddle on the floor (that is one of my Pop’s favorite words, “piddle”) reminds me of the times when dementia only took his morning memories of what he had for breakfast; not the current climate of his dementia where he doesn’t even know my name.

The name of the daughter who gave up her career — and almost her marriage – to keep Pop’s quality of life stellar.

The name of the daughter who always wiped up all of Pop’s piddle on the floor when he could barely make it to the bathroom.

I don’t regret that time though; even as gut-pulling and heart-tearing those caregiving years were.

And that’s where I see the power of time have its greatest impact: giving enough space to see some clarity.

When I go to bed now my bones aren’t exhausted from the constant movement of chasing Pop’s around the house making sure he didn’t fire up the stove, turn on a burner, find a lighter to play with or decide to take a leisure stroll around the neighborhood.  

I’ve had enough distance and space to see that that time in my life was made perfectly for me and for Pops and even for my Hubs and firecracker daughter.

Even if I couldn’t see it through the blur of chaos and piss.

That piddle-laden lonely loo in a coffee shop bathroom evoked feelings I sometimes take for granted and still reconcile with now.

The oftentimes soul-hurling, yet schooled trek of caregiving + lessons embedded so deeply it takes a splash of yellow on a toilet seat to bring me right back to the devastation + dazzle of dementia.  

I mean, where else would you find gratitude in another person’s urine?

Piddles of Love,

Keli