Sunday, February 23, 2014

Finish What You Start

  I've never really been a collector as I find there is enough clutter to be found with lone socks, paperwork piles and laundry that waits to be folded.  The last thing I need is a collection of small bears or steins that will never hold a beverage.  I do have a failed attempt at a collection of "Grow Up" porcelain dolls I purchased for my daughter so that she would receive one each birthday.  Currently, according to these tiny dolls, she stopped aging at her twelfth year and, apparently, was nine, twice.  Not really knowing what to do with an extra nine year old doll, I can't seem to toss it out.

  Last year, while remodeling my daughter's room for the umpteenth time, everything was moved from her room to mine.  Three days later, everything was moved back to her room except for the apparently unwanted and unfinished collection of "Grow Up" dolls.  They remained, staring at me, to remind me that not only did I fail to finish what I started, but I was obviously overzealous about the collection around the ninth year.  I moved them to a shelf in my bathroom where they now sit with a small collection of seashells and other treasures from the seashore.  An unwanted collection of birthdays took refuge in the corner of my bathroom.

  I, too, have been known to take refuge here and have found that when the world is overwhelming, there is no better place than the depths of a hot tub of bubbles.  One day while relaxing there, I looked up to see the nine year old twins staring down at me from behind a Starfish.  I sunk back under the bubbles to avoid thinking about my failed good intentions.  

  I realized that I've never done well with dolls.  I wanted my child to love dolls, but she loved purses and shoes and belts. She had no use for dolls.  I thought back to the shrinking doll of my own youth, a tall 1970's doll with long hair that magically shrunk while left unattended in a toybox for a year.  While no one believed me, for obvious reasons, I know to this day that the doll was once very tall and then was suddenly very small  - a tiny body left with the original head and mysterious tattoo leaching up from the plastic bi-products my doll was made of. Much like the twins, I can't seem to throw her out either. She continues to shrink in the back of a drawer somewhere, holding the mystery of her transfiguration and my childhood belief in her former self.

  Collecting should come naturally to me as my grandmother was a collector of fine things. Oddly, amongst her groupings of treasures, she had a rather large collection of small spoons from the various tourist spots she visited as she traveled the fifty states.  The last thing I ever wanted was a bunch of spoons hanging on my wall, but as luck would have it, I inherited the collection.  Much to my surprise, I discovered the spoons were silver and they were placed in my "End of Days" cabinet, along with dried beans, ammunition, and junk silver that may one day be needed to barter for food.  Such a cabinet does exist and it is no surprise, when you are married to a man who spends his days watching conspiracy theory shows and Sasquatch hunting on the Discovery Channel.  Little does he know, a real unexplained phenomenon exists at the back of drawer in his own house.   My spoon collection could prove its use in days to come, as it had no place on my walls.

  While I have no desire to collect dolls, steins, spoons or other items of interest to so many, I will continue to place items in the "Prepper" cabinet in the interest of emergency preparedness. This mystery cabinet holds the only collection I plan to maintain.  While I doubt I ever have to trade the Pike's Peak spoon for a sack of flour or bag of beans, I like knowing I can.  I should toss the dolls in the cabinet, too.  You never know when you might need the magical powers of a shrinking doll or a good reminder to finish what you started.  Should my children's children one day find that they, too, lack a collector's spirit, there will be a host of items ready at their disposal to aid them in any time of need.  From a bag of silver to porcelain beauties, the items will wait for a time they are truly treasured once again. And then they can say, "Wow - She was a great collector!"

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Color Me Happy

  Standing between racks of clothes in the Juniors section of a clothing store, my child pulled out a fabulous sweater and announced with great excitement that this was her third favorite ugly color.  I was immediately struck with curiosity about how this color rating scale worked as I don't even know my own third favorite color, let alone favorite ugly color. I had to ask why one would have such a list of obviously unwanted hues.  Allie explained that yellow is ugly, but it was still a good color and it deserved to be at the top of her list, even if it was the ugly list. While I thought I had a good understanding of basic, secondary and even tertiary color wheels, my mind began to spin.

  My child explained that pink is the all time best color, but sometimes you need an ugly color as everything can't be pink.  Seizing any opportunity to have yet another bedroom make-over, she cautioned me that should I ask what color her bedroom should be, she would have to say pink, even though she thought it might look good in an ugly color like yellow.  I looked down at my red shirt and began to worry that I might be wearing a second favorite ugly color.  

  The mechanics of this rating scale were interesting to me and I wondered if it might have practical application across life.  I thought about the many third favorites I never really knew I had.  For example, my third favorite meal I would never eat would have to be pork chops as I find them disgusting, but they would fall behind anything full of bones or a raw fish.   Of course, if the raw fish was a bony fish like trout, then the scale falls apart because the trout would be equally disgusting as pork chops and be full of bones, so all I've really gained from this list is that one should never serve me raw pork chops, especially those with bone in! 

  While still in the ugly sweater section, I discovered that the rating scale truly falls apart when rating banks.  My favorite bank I've never used is the Fifth Third Bank, which actually exists and is not an Internet scam as I suspected when they emailed me out of the blue, ironically, my recently discovered third favorite color.  Because of this rating scale, it is the first bank on my list, thus making the first bank the Fifth Third.   At that point, all other banks simply fall off the list because who can keep up with the order. 

  By the time I had processed all of these thoughts, my child had picked out two more shirts in black and brown.  I had to wonder why these weren't her favorite colors, ugly or not, as she had not selected anything in yellow or pink.  The sweater did have a bit of orange in it and while I should have seen it coming, I learned that orange is the first favorite ugly color. Who knew!    

Early Retirement and the Great Resignation

        At the age of 57, I stared at my 35 year career, whispered a polite thank you to the heavens and hit the send button on my retiremen...