Writing on location month! For the next four weeks, I will bring my laptop wherever I go and write about wherever I happen to be.
So here I am at Sonellex, typing away on my laptop with very blue water bubbling around my feet.
How to describe this little place? The word “efficient” immediately comes to mind. This is not the kind of spot that you go if you want a 20-minute massage involving three different kinds of unguents. It’s more the slam, bam, thank-you variety, which is just fine by me because one reason why I don’t like going for pedicures is that I find it very dull.
However, as I write, I realize there are aspects to a visit to the nail salon that are positively fascinating.
It was like any other weekend when we visit our best couple friends Sean and Hannah in Knoxville. Time at their house always means we reunite our perfect Boston Terrier doggies, who spend the time affectionately (usually) biting each other’s throats.
We learned pretty quickly that Fitzi, our boy, is fascinated by their neighbor’s yard and needs to be kept on a tight leash whenever he goes outside to potty. Otherwise, he will run up the neighbor’s back porch and proceed to bark at their back door as if incensed he hasn’t already been invited inside.
I knew this and yet didn’t know it enough while I was helping to sweep Hannah’s kitchen. The floor quickly gets dirty with the dogs coming in and out of their back yard, which is fenced in. I had a pile of dried mud and dog hair swept up and was in the process of knocking out the dust pan out the front door. I had gone back to retrieve the last of it and, seeing his opportunity, Fitz slipped out the door I’d left open.
With no one to blame but myself, I am suffering from the worst hairdo in, nearly, my life. Every day, I walk out the door with a wince, wondering to whom I might run in. Every morning, I brush it knowing that, no matter what I do, it will explode when it dries, leaving my head looking like a peony.
To be clear again, there is no one to blame but me. Certainly not my beloved hairdresser Kathy, who, for nearly a year, gently tried to talk me out of cutting off all of my hair. But six weeks ago, I was firm.
“Let’s do it,” I said, sounding disturbingly like Tone Lōc.
“Are you sure?”
“I’m too old for long hair.”
“I hate to tell you this, but you don’t have long hair. You have a bob. A short one.”
“What am I waiting for? Life is short.”
So, I didn’t listen. I kind of knew I should have, but I didn’t because, well, I didn’t want to. And so, I have a big problem on my hands. And it’s possible that the problem might be multiplying this very second right here in this house. And there’s not much I can do but wait. And clean. And listen for a SNAP!
Because, yes, we have mice in the house.
Judging from the amount of mouse poop I found in the closet where I kept the dog food, a healthy lot of them. A battalion at least. An army, more like. A big, hungry, greasy army of vermin that I could step on at any moment.
One of the highlights of my day-to-day is an ongoing text conversation between my friends Julie and Jessica.
Julie and I can especially rely on Jessica to inject effervescence into our day by regularly updating us on everything from her shopping purchases to celebrity gossip to makeup tips to funny memes to the latest in hip slang to her yoga class to how much she really, really loves Aldi.
But last Tuesday morning, she was decidedly deflated after losing her wallet.
She had been picking up a kombucha in Lexington (see what I mean about Jessica?) and had her wallet in her pocket. But it must have fallen out when she got into her car, because when she got to the office, her wallet was gone.
Don’t get me wrong, folks, I can get behind moody weather.
In fact, it’s possible I have a college degree in Curling Up on the Couch During a Blizzard. I love a good sweatshirt and a sharp coat. I appreciate an umbrella not only for its practicality, but as a fashion accessory. And while I don’t own a pair, I can spend an impressive amount of time admiring people’s rain boots.
But the amount of rain we’ve had this winter has been, in a word, shocking. Roads are flooded. Signs have disappeared under water. And Cumberland Falls is in danger of just becoming, well, Cumberland.
But, rather than adding to the list of weather-related complaints I’ve been hearing (and have contributed to), I decided that we might do well to stay positive. Stay positive and compliment the sun instead.
OK, so I was going to write my post this week about Kroger’s ClickList. But then I was updating this blog and looking for a photo to illustrate last week’s post about online banking. So I’m scanning unsplash.com and pexels.com (if you need beautiful, free photography online, these sites are gold) for not-boring pictures about banking, which is nearly impossible, when I come across a photo of safety deposit boxes.
Like, a row of the old-timey kind, made of brass, surrounded by art deco scrollwork, with numbers in Coventry Garden font so that you feel like maybe the 1920s were the coolest decade ever.
So I stare at this photo and then I go to Kroger.com to write about ClickList and then I realize, you know what? I can’t do it. I cannot write about ClickList. I must write about safety deposit boxes instead. I must.
It’s possible that the best invention in the history of man is being able to deposit your checks on a banking app so you don’t have to leave your house or even your couch and you never have to wait in line at the bank ever again.
The activity is so wondrously simple that you wonder, for a moment, whether or not you’re awake. Granted, it takes a bit of work to get your banking app set up (which was enough for me to put this off for far too long), but once you have it downloaded and you’ve set up your password and login, you are basically good to go.
So, you take your check.
You press “deposit” on your app.
You type in how much you want to deposit.
You take a picture of the front of your check.
You take a picture of the back of your check.
And, voila, transaction completed.
Just to underscore how luxurious this activity is, I have half a mind to deposit a check while in a bubble bath sipping a glass of champagne. Or on horseback wearing a wedding dress and eating leftover cake. Or possibly aboard a yacht while drinking guava juice, as photographed above.
Whatever the scenario, having something to drink or eat in celebration seems essential.
Because, I’m telling you, it is that good.
The other day, I had a conversation with a friend about the merits of investing in a can crusher. The purchase has become increasingly necessary as, one glimpse inside our recycling bin will show you, we are clearly not using our space to its utmost.
That’s because we are addicted to La Croix.
If you, too, are familiar with this obsession, let me be the first to commiserate with you. For us, it started about two summers ago when we were introduced to this brand of sparkling water. I remember looking at its can critically that first time — a friend had brought a case over — and coming away impressed that it looked like it would be marvelously at home at the beach. Or on a boat. Possibly one with a sail.
It’s a Monday and, as with Mondays, I’m feeling the pinch of what needs to get done and hearing the squeal of my reluctance to do it. My book needs work. No one is reading the Sway Essay blog. I need to take some kind of compelling picture for my Sway social media posts. I need to update Toasted Tomato. I need to edit a student’s personal statement. I need to bring William his lunch. And my parents are coming soon (yay!), however that requires a head-to-toe houseclean before their arrival.
But gently creating a calming environment conducive to creativity and progress is the house fan that fans all the day long. It’s especially loud in the basement, where I’ve been working for the past months, and I’ve come to rely on it like an old friend.
Sound ridiculous? Oh, it’s ridiculous, all right. But, and I’m ready to admit this, I am a White Noise Addict. I need it to go to and stay asleep. I need it to write. It helps me focus. It keeps me grounded. It makes me calm.