You know those days where you just want to burn everything down and walk away? But then you know if you do that, all the good stuff burns down too and there's way more good stuff than crap? Why is there not a way of doing controlled burns? Forestry does that in parks to limit exposure of areas to invasive pests and to create breaks intended to aid in fighting forest fires during fire seasons.
Or did I just describe 'adulting' in an overly-simplified way?
I propose a new definition for Successful Adulting: skillfully managing metaphorical controlled burns to eliminate the garbage parts of your life in order to maintain the well-being and diversity of the healthy areas.
In case you're wondering, yes actually, the crap things going on in my world are kinda stressful lately lol. The annoying part that led to the internal screaming and rage-y / burn-y thoughts this morning is that I can't tell if the crap things are causing the anxiety spike leading to insomnia, or if insomnia is causing the anxiety spike that's making the crap things look so bad. It's a fun cycle... not. But the idea of controlled burns to get the crap stuff out of my world led to the imaginary movie-poster image of my extra-petite and mostly mild therapist as the hero wielding a flame-thrower against my anxiety monsters under the banner I'M A PROFESSIONAL, so that provided a giggle for me. :)
My crap aside, are you doing all right? Eating enough? Sleeping okay? Got out of bed and didn't stab anyone with office scissors ? Successful adulting sticker achieved for today if you can answer "yes" to at least two of these questions.
Writing accountability update... meh. This week I got When it's Not Right up in Wattpad. After that, a quick update to my website – book news! Check out my Home page if you're interested – and then I jumped into editing on short stories because I like posting stories in my Blog, but not the first drafts. ;) Hope you have a good weekend!
3. One Gust
Since the storm had stopped, Reduke spent its days outside and nights indoors with Canna and Dally. Canna laughed hard when it tried to get onto their little couch with them a couple nights ago, and that was the first time Dally and Canna saw Reduke smiling. Its lips pulled back just enough to show hints of impressive teeth and its eyes crinkled at the outside corners. Dally and Canna had both cooed at how cute and dopey the big dog looked and then laughed together as they tried to fit all three of them onto seating made for two people.
Dally had gotten everything put away and just sat down to watch TV and wait for Canna when her keys rattled in the door. Dally turned the TV back off and met her coming in. Well, trying to come in. Reduke was shoving her this way and that, excited as a puppy, as she laughingly attempted to get around it to put the first water jug down. Putting the jug on the floor got her face on level with Reduke and she was instantly drowning in slobbery kisses. She hugged the mutt and then straightened up to wipe her face on her sleeve and say hello to Dally. The two of them got her car unloaded as Reduke dutifully stood guard, eying the street in all directions seemingly at once. A car that had followed Canna and then parked nearby – but didn’t belong to a neighbor – quickly drove away after Reduke stared at the two men inside for a full minute.
Canna scratched Reduke’s chin and congratulated it for keeping her safe once they were done getting the water into the house. The big dog followed them inside, already impatiently waiting for them to finish making and having supper so that they could all sit together on the little couch. They still didn’t know what Reduke ate, but none of the local pets (or their owners) were missing, so Canna and Dally assumed whatever it did eat was mostly harmless.
“You wouldn’t believe the waves today,” Canna said, setting her plate on the table before sitting down to eat with Dally. “Some of the rogue waves were even moving the big cruise ship enough to see the tilt from shore. It’s worse than last week.”
“What about the flooding?” Dally asked, between bites of fish.
“It’s getting worse,” she answered through a mouthful of rice before swallowing. “The water level is half-way as high as the storm surge.”
“In line today, I heard that the relief soldiers moved to the few good farms. That they’re protecting the new crops, now.”
“That’s ridiculous. There are no more crops,” Canna stated, frowning across the table at him.
“Maybe. But, still, there were only two soldiers when I got rations today.”
“There were seven at the dock. I heard in line there that yesterday someone tried to incite a mob for fresh water. Guns were drawn to calm down the problem people.”
“Tourists?” Dally asked, expecting the nod of agreement that Canna gave him.
Reduke whined quietly and rested its head on the table half-way between them. They each smiled at it and reached to scratch its ears at the same time. The big dog’s mouth lifted into a wolfy grin and its eyes crinkled happily in the corners. Reduke had a way of easing the tension and worry out of the room.
Dally and Canna finished their small meal quickly. While Canna was tidying their kitchen, Dally packed half the leftover rice into wax paper.
“Come on, Reduke,” Dally invited, patting his leg. Reduke cocked its head to one side, questioning the change in routine. “Rations are small this week. Ida’s family is still big,” Dally explained to the dog.
Reduke came outside and immediately walked over to roll in the garden. Dally laughed at the antics and continued on two houses away to politely knock on the door. Ida had been a friend since childhood, and his house was one of the lucky ones which hadn’t been too badly damaged in the looting. Their food had been well hidden, but some of it had been found and stolen, leaving both parents and the four children short on rations every week.
Ida was carrying the baby when he opened the door enough to see out. Dally held up the package of cooked rice. Ida looked around Dally’s legs and then over his shoulders out into the street to confirm Reduke wasn’t nearby before opening the door any further. Ida’s kids loved the mutt, but Ida and his wife definitely did not.
“Rice. Made fresh an hour ago,” Dally said.
“Thanks.” Ida took the package. The baby lunged forward and reached chubby hands for it. Dally smiled at the sudden juggling act Ida was expertly performing. The rice package stayed closed and away from the grasping fingers, and Ida was still holding both the baby and the rice perfectly balanced in a new position. “You and Canna are next,” Ida warned, looking pointedly at his youngest son and then at Dally.
“We’re trying, so I guess we’ll find out,” Dally said with a smile. They weren’t trying, but he knew from many conversations over the years that this was the response he was supposed to give. “Have a good night,” he added, turning to leave.
A burst of wind fluttered leaves and flattened littered paper against the nearest surfaces. The gust tumbled a few toys in yards, making things jingle and thump as if they were being played with. Dally and Ida both turned hopefully into the wind and stared toward the storm’s eye wall.
“Does it look any closer to you?” Ida asked after a moment.
Dally spun to compare the distances between where the gust had come from and where it was going. “No. But the news will tell us. I should get home.”
As if to reinforce the statement, Reduke barked once and distant thunder replied like an echo. It was standing on full alert in the middle of Dally and Canna’s garden, staring in the direction the wind had originated from. Ida shuddered after a glance at the dog, then stepped inside and closed the door. Dally hurried home.
“Hey there, Reduke. You okay?” Dally asked the dog. Reduke’s stiff posture folded into worried pacing around Dally’s legs as they walked to the front door. It whined quietly when Dally scrubbed gently at its ears and then trotted the few paces to Canna to include her in the tight steps as soon as Dally opened the door.
“What happened?” she asked both the dog and Dally.
A weekly blog updating on Fridays with quick personal blurbs about me, as in what's going on during my life as an Author and mom, and that doles out my short stories and novellas in bite-sized parts for everyone to read for free!