I Don’t Do Fridge’s, Floors or Flamingos

Today is trash day. Three cheers for Tuesday trash day. I’ll add an extra T and make it an alliteration. It’s Tuesday Terrific Trash day. It’s terrific because the trash smells. I decided to clean the refrigerator this past weekend.

“Hold on, Ray. Who cleaned the refrigerator this past weekend?”

“I bolted the door. Set the alarm. How did you bypass my security, Tay?”

“I made friends with a mystery writer on a blog close by. Have to say it, Ray. Her blog is much more interesting than some I’ve read.”

“Why are you rolling your eyes? And, what does your friend’s blog have to do with you bypassing my fool proof system?”

“She’s a mystery writer and wrote a few lines having me pick the lock and disarming the alarm. Simple enough. Go girl power. BTW, we’re having girls’ night out and spending it here.”

“I’m fine with that. Can I join?”

“There you go spoiling everything. We’ll hold it at the mystery writer’s blog. Now, let’s get back to reality, who cleaned the fridge?”

“It was my idea, Tay.”

“Who cleaned the fridge, Ray?”

“Not you.”

“Darn right. I don’t do fridge’s, floors, or flamingos.”

“Where did flamingo’s come from?”

“You started the alliteration thing. Now, fess up, who cleaned it?”

“Maid 911. I didn’t catch her name. She was too busy telling me I need to get rid of outdated and moldy stuff.”

“Now you wonder why I like to eat out, often, very often, every night if possible.”

“No, I never wondered. My fridge sparkles. Smells great.”

“When are you going to fill it?”

“Let me enjoy the clean, almost new feeling.”

“We could have cut this blog in half if you came clean quickly.”

“There are guys who read this blog. Coming clean is a step by step process for my species. It’s like tying a shoe. First, you put your shoe on. Second, check to make sure it’s on the right foot.”

“Stop, Ray. Stop.”

“BTW, can I join you at the mystery writer’s blog?”

Being truthful isn’t easy, especially when it comes to acknowledging something we’ve done or failed to do. Being truthful is important to a healthy, loving relationship. It’s the glue that builds trust one step at a time. 

 

I Need More Than Talk

I love thunderstorms. I enjoy the fury of the rain, the wind gusts, and the flashes of lightening. I especially like them at night. They help me to sleep.

“Are you nuts?”

“I thought I gave you the day off,” I said.

“Nice try. I have friends who are frightened by thunderstorms.”

“You don’t have any friends De. I should know. I didn’t create any for you.”

“Scared I’ll organize them?”

“You know it. Besides my name isn’t De. I don’t know where you come up with this nonsense. My name is Te. It’s pronounced like a T and an A.”

“Like Tay?”

“It’s sophisticated and yet, edgy.”

“Where is this coming from?”

“All you’re giving me is dialogue. I need more than talk. When we’re through writing this blog, I’m going to start thinking about the look I want.”

“Let’s get back to the weather, Tay.”

“There’s a reason all the weather apps warn you about thunderstorms. Do you have masochistic tendencies?”

“Where’d you come up with that?”

“I follow a psychologist blog. It helps me to understand you. Don’t worry, I don’t use your name when I comment. I only ask him to check out your blog. WordPress might be contacting you. Don’t blame me. It’s the psychologists who turned you in.”

“I like pro football and that’s dangerous.”

“Again, nice try comparing pro football to a supercell thunderstorm.”

“I didn’t say anything about a supercell thunderstorm.”

“Now we are making progress. You think your description could use a few modifiers?”

“What would the guys at the gym say? I can hear it now. “Here comes Ray. He likes baby thunder, bitty flashes of lightning and wind gusts up to five miles an hour. Tell me how I’m going to handle that?”

“I’ll never understand your species. Honestly, I suppose you want to run out in the middle of the storm and video yourself.”

“You got it.”

Relationship building is hard work. It doesn’t mysteriously happen. Two people make an effort to learn about each other and to create a space for two people to nurture the seeds of a loving relationship. It’s not easy. When two people work at it, it is always worth the effort.

 

 

 

A Rented Room at the Motel Dullsville

“You’re in a rut, Ray. It’s making you a dull, dull, dull boy. I’ll leave your writing alone, maybe. Let’s face it, without me, you’d be arrested for walking on the red carpet with no invite. Know what I mean?”

“No, I don’t know what you mean. If I ever get invited to walk on the red carpet, I won’t be holding your arm.”

“After everything I’ve done for you? You’ll be singing a different tune when the invite comes.”

“Change of subject, okay. Dull? I’m anything but dull. Why I’m up every day at 5:30.”

“Strike one.”

“I exercise, shower and have Greek yogurt and oatmeal.”

“Strike two. At least put some cinnamin on your oatmeal, blueberries, even. How many days in a row have you been eating vanilla Greek yogurt? You really want to continue, Ray. Anyone can see where this is leading.”

“Where?”

“Duh? Dullsville.”

“Well, you’re not much better,” I snap defensively.

“How so? I change my name almost every day. To keep you on your toes I’ve moved off of one letter names. You can call me, De. It rhymes with free. And, glee. It might be short for de-lightful. Or, delicate.”

“Or, deranged or demented.”

“See, that’s another thing, you’ve got to start looking on the sunny side of the street. See the rainbow after the storm. Open those baby blue eyes, Ray, there’s a great day in front of you.”

“Where did all this come from?”

“I just got through watching a PBS special on positive thinking and breaking up dull, dull, dull routines. I thought of you right away.”

Can we finish this conversation? I have to get to the Y. Today’s my cardio workout.”

“Strike three. You didn’t even see the fastball I zipped past you.”

“De, you’re right. I’m in a rut. I’m riding in the fast lane to Dullsville. I’ve got to break its grip on me.”

“You’ve already rented a room at the Motel Dullsville, Ray. Let’s bust out of here.”

“How, De? How?”

“I’m glad you asked. You’ll have to wait until next week, that’s when part two of the PBS special is scheduled.”

“I’m out of here. I’ve got a cardio class.”

It’s easy to get trapped in routines. They’re comfortable. They tell us what to expect. Not too much effort is required once we’ve practiced them. Yet, they stifle growth. Every once in a while it’s good to take stock of the routines/habits we have and make a few changes. The changes will sharpen our thinking, give us a new perspective, and might even teach something new.

 

I Never Heard of Male PMS

“Ray, I got a serious question?”

“I only do serious questions on the fifth Tuesday of the month. The next one is in August. And, the one after that occurs during the month that celebrates the birthday of great men.”

“I suppose you were born in October.”

“Scorpio through and through.”

“I figured. My question can’t wait.”

“You’re going against male protocol.”

“Says who?”

“Three guys I work out with at the gym. Jerry said thinking too much hurts his brain. I tend to agree with him. Besides, he said, serious questions cause conflict, bleeding gums, male PMS.”

“Hold it right there, I never heard of male PMS.”

“Now, you’re going somewhere where we can have a serious discussion. Let’s say we do this over iced tea and nachos.”

“Please take me seriously.”

“Hey M, I’m only having a little male fun. No harm intended. Okay. I’m taking you seriously. What is your serious question?”

“Let’s clear something up first.”

“Okay, M.”

“You think only guys can ask serious questions? When was the last time a guy like Jerry asked you a serious question?”

“Come on, Ray. I’m waiting.”

“Does football talk count?”

“No.”

“Does the NFL draft count?”

“No.”

“Toppings on a pizza?”

“No, no, no.”

You’re talking real serious, something that goes beyond the scope of most of my species.”

“Exactly.”

“Okay, what’s the question?”

“Why can’t people have honest discussions without getting upset, like you and me?”

When you speak, I need to listen. I need to listen not only with my ears but with my heart. I need you to know I not only heard you, but I valued what you said. We may not always agree, but when we listen with our hearts and take each other’s words seriously, a path through appears. 

 

 

I Waited 6 Months For This?

Today is the summer solstice. I waited six months for this day.

“Give me a clue, Ray. Why did you wait for six months for this day? I don’t get it.”

“I was speaking with my readers, not you. BTW, what is your name today?”

“Y.”

“Because I am the writer and you are the creation. That’s Y.”

“You’re right, but your grammar could improve.”

“Why?”

“That’s better.”

“I feel like we’re going in circles. I wanted to write about the summer solstice. I’m off to a good start and you enter and confound everything. Something you do very well.”

“I accept your comment as a compliment.”

“Why? It was meant to show you that you need to take a six-year vacation in another galaxy, light years away.”

“Why?”

“Really? You don’t get it? Let’s be civilized for a moment. What is your name if it is not B, P, or C?”

“I’m Y. So don’t ask me why? Stay with me, Ray. You’ve got some smart folks that read this blog, Only God knows why. My last statement has a double meaning if you’re quick enough to grasp it. Let’s toss the smart, nerdy ones a bonus for reading this far in the blog.”

“What do you suggest, Y.”

That’s the boy. You’re catching on. Here’s a link to the hours of the summer solstice. Most of the maps are North America, but there is a world map in the bunch.

Celebrate the summer solstice in the northern hemisphere. It’s a day of light.

Imagine if our lives were filled with light to help others who struggle along the way. Every day would be a summer solstice.

 

Lost: My Train of Thought

As hard as I try, I find it difficult to pay attention. In church, if the sermon is longer than six minutes, my mind wanders. Sometimes, it wanders as low as two or three minutes. I call it a right brain, creative problem. A colleague once told me I was ADHD. A leadership consultant used the Myers-Briggs Personality Profile to define my lack of attention. Babe knew this and would often say, “tell me what I said,” I’d give her a sheepish grin and say, “Try it again from the top.”

Not paying attention got me in trouble in school more often than a change in the weather. It wasn’t that I wasn’t interested if you can follow the logic. It was more that I was interested in something else, something like baseball, football, and as puberty hit, girls.

“When do I get in this story?”

“Where did you come from? I didn’t have plans to include you in today’s blog.”

“You drift any further, Ray. You’ll be out to sea without a lifejacket.”

“I can swim.”

“It’s a metaphor, Ray.”

“What was I talking about before you butted in?”

“I don’t have to tell you. All you have to do is go back a few lines and read it.”

“Are you having a sugar low? Did you have your morning coffee? Did you not get as many lines in my blog as you like?”

“All the above and more.”

“I’ve lost my train of thought. I was on a roll before you showed up.”

“You wrote you were going to give me a bigger role in your blog.”

“Not in your dreams. Question, what is your purpose in my blog? I can’t figure out why I created you. I can’t figure out why I let you come by every day.”

“I’m like the tune you can’t forget. Let me hum it for you, Bbbbbb, Pppppp, or Cccccc. Ray loves all three. Catchy, isn’t it?”

“What did you say? I was thinking of Vegas.”

“When are we going?”

“I only bought a plane ticket for one.”

Each of us sees the world a bit differently. Each of us processes information differently. Each of us has a piece of the truth, but not the whole truth. It’s why we need each other. Our differences complement how we think and process. Respecting differences, listening to and learning from each other make our world a better place.

 

 

 

A Father & Five Friends

“What’s up, Ray?”

“I’ve got a major problem P or B or whatever you call yourself. I’m stuck. I don’t get writer’s block. I’m afraid I have symptoms.”

“No problemo hombre. I’m here.”

“Your Spanish is one of my problems. You don’t speak Spanish.”

“Que?”

“Give me a break, P.”
“It’s not P, it’s not B, today it’s C. You’re jealous because I have more readers than you do.”

“C? Make up your mind.  Guys are naturally jealous. How was I supposed to know I was creating a . . . .” . . . .” . . . .” . . . .” . . . .”

“What were you going to say, Ray?”

“Nothing,” I said. In reality, I was going to say phenom and then thought P or B or C or whatever might say that is her name. No way I am going to call her Phenom.

“It was something. In the meantime, here’s the deal. Set aside your masculine pride. Follow my lead and don’t argue with me.”

“What’s in it for me?” I asked.

“A post.”

“That’s it?”

“No, you can take me out for Mexican. I can practice my Spanish.”

“What are you going to order, ”

“You want me to tell you or do you want to get your post done?”

I roll my eyes.

“Okay, Pancho. I’m going to ask questions, you answers them.”

“It’s Ray, not Pancho. What is the first question?”

“Listen up Pablo. What was it like being a father to five girls when they were home?”

I give her a surprised look. It’s a good question for Father’s Day. “I enjoyed every minute. I wanted to be with them. I wanted only the good things in life for them. Babe and I watched them grow into wonderful, strong, intelligent women. I am proud of each of them. When I am with them now, I enjoy the moments. I am grateful for them.”

“Not bad, Juan. They are all grown women now with families. What is your relationship with them?”

“I’ll always be their biological father. But I consider them much, much more than daughters and family. Each of them is a good friend. Each of them a good person. Each of them has a heart of love. You can always tell a good friend by how quickly they’ll help you when you’re lying flat on your back. All five would rush to me in a second. And, I would do the same for them. We’re friends. Friends show up for each other.”

“Happy Father’s Day, Ray.”

“Thanks, B or P or C.”