Hope in a box

I had an unexpected burst of energy today, and decided I actually could clean my house beyond the stuff I usually do, which is, um, the dishes.  I do the dishes! Go me!  But I had a moment the other day when the sun was shining and life was good, and the windows looked grimy.  So I cleaned the two I look out most often, inside and out.  Go me!

Anyway, I went to the big box store today to get some things I need, and then, drafting on the success of cleaning the two windows, I decided to buy some plastic bins.  And we know what that means.  Hope.  A pathetic, materialistic western world sort of hope, but hope is hope.  I had a glimmer where I imagined I'll harness all my free range shit into little plastic boxes, labeled and fed and snuggled into their little clean plastic stalls.  I've fallen for this before, and I know better, but I'm a naive believer that if hope is on sale ($6.99 for FIVE PLASTIC BOXES!), it's kind of like spitting in the face of life if you just walk on by.  It's like giving hope the finger.  I believe with all my tiny little might that life only hands us so many chances, and if we keep saying no, life eventually gives up on us.  And we never know exactly when our last chance is.  There's no warning  It's like that friend you thought you'd see again, and maybe work things out with, but they die suddenly.  It's exactly like that when you walk by the plastic boxes, but in a vague, unremarkable sort of way.

So I have a million things I must do - deadlines, reports that people are waiting for, plastic flagging that longs to be hung on a branch in a hard-to-reach spot in the woods, and a bunch of muscles to memorize.  Name, origin, insertion, how to make it fire, what does it do, and most of all, what can I do for it?  (The answer with the muscles is the same with the humans in their entirety:  Listen.  Be gentle, but firm.  Take it slowly.  Understand first, then act.  Communicate and lubricate, as C. says.)  But I also must get organized or I'll die and leave my poor undeserving (but not unsuspecting) children with this.  And it's not cool stuff, like the headwaters of the river e-bay, as someone said in a book.  It's just run-of-the-mill stuff that I haven't dealt with.

I've been thinking about people, and how there are three kinds:  solid, liquid, and vapor.  I tend to be watery, which I like to think is good in some ways -- I move around gently, don't make a big fuss, and slip around the obstacles in an unobtrusive way.  Water eventually leaves its mark, though. But the solids, those people can really get inanimate objects under control.  They know where things go, and they close all the drawers after themselves because they notice that kind of stuff, and they don't leave things all over in little piles because they might get back to it this century.  I love the solids.  I truly do, but I'm not one.  And the vapor.  Well, I love the vapor people too, of course.  They bring the magic.  But it doesn't always bring me joy, loving those who. ever-so-predictably, evaporate when the heat gets turned up a tiny bit, even if the turning up of heat only happens in their own heads.  And those people don't know shit about plastic boxes.  (I had to throw in the plastic boxes so you'd keep reading.  BECAUSE THAT'S WHY YOU'RE HERE.)   (That's my outside voice, btw.  I'm getting LOUD in case you were losing interest.)

Yes, that's the purported polar
bear skull next to the light
It's supposed to get windy again tonight.  Or if not tonight, one night soon.  And if not actual wind, imaginary wind in my head, or metaphoric wind, which isn't always at your back like it should be if you're half Irish.

In this neighborhood, the wind blows for about three minutes and then the power goes out,.  A dozen hours later it comes on again, but while I sit in the dark, my neighbors have their big generators that make it sound like a truck stop, with semi trucks idling all night.  I know, that's not about the boxes.  You're holding your breath, wanting to get back to this story about hope.  Even the tiniest bit of hope involving plastic bins.  That's what the humans do.  We imagine better things ahead, against all odds.

Did you know the humans can get to
Mars in about 3 days?
I took all my hope-y changey little purchases and went into the laundry room, and decided I'll start right out on emergency preparedness.  That's what a solid would do, right?  They'd have a little kit.  And when the power goes out, they'd grab their kit and all would be well.  Me, when the power goes out I go to bed.

I surveyed what I have in the event of an emergency:

I don't think this will carry
me through...
1.  A few little lights that I made shaped like people and planets and so forth.  They don't match my vision AT ALL, but still, they keep the darkness away.  But honestly, not in a practical way.  You couldn't find a can opener or read a book by the light of my weird little light globs.

2.  A small, rapidly diminishing pile of dry wood, and three trees worth of wood that I have split in the past month.  By hand -- have I said GO ME lately?  But it won't be ready to burn til long past the windstorm.

3.  A basket full of emergency supplies, including three candles, a bunch of batteries of unknown usefulness, and a handful of flashlights that don't work.

Now it seems like the first order of business is to acquire a battery tester.  I think I need that more than I need the five plastic boxes.  But I have the Internet!  So I look up, "how to make a battery tester," and read a few recipes.  Copper wire, razor, etc.  I don't have these ingredients on hand.  But I remember this doorbell I made in Science Club in fifth grade, kind of the pinacle of my science life, that club.  It involved a bell from a bicycle, a battery, and a little piece of metal that would vibrate and hit the bell somehow.  So I start trying to build that, because I don't have the supplies for the battery tester, and coincidentally, I also need a doorbell.  For the Jehovah's Witnesses, who come once a year.

Meanwhile, I wanted to fuss with the pictures of the light things before I posted them, above.  So I downloaded a free photo editor program after looking for iPhoto for about 10 minutes.  Where'd that g
o?  So the new program reset my default search engine to bing, and shut chrome down.  And I decided to quit eating eggs, so I should take the leftover eggs and empty their contents so I can make them into pretty, fragile, useless lighting.  In the event of a windstorm.  It's all about emergency preparedness with me.  Some time later, I'm back in business.  (If, by business we mean sitting around amidst 5 empty plastic boxes, staring at a bowl full of egg shells, drinking a beer.)

So that's what I accomplished today.  Tomorrow, for sure, I'm going to get a handle on everything.

Thanks, as always, for sticking it out and reading to the end.  I'm sorry there wasn't more actual signs (or would it be symptoms?) of hope reported here.


  1. ok I have tears of laughter and a heart full of hope because of this blog. You are what hope is all about, as far as I'm concerned. Thank you once again for being a writer. Life would not be as full of Light.

    Hmmmfff, as if it matters if your house is messy. Tidy houses are often too polite to let their people show through.

    1. Aww, thank you. Btw, do your friends call you 3a669 for short? Or...?
      Enjoy this day.

    2. I've always liked the name Gabriel Oak. As a woman I never thought I'd be able to pull it off. Maybe it's time to try. Or you can choose a name, if you like. Maybe a name for someone who is definitely not a solid.

      Oh, and the website Devon put up for battery testing is brilliant!!! Thank you.

    3. Vapor. I'm not sure. I'm not sure what there is to be sure of, really. I do know that I love it when the fire gets turned up and I get excited about sticking around.. I'm not unobtrusive but there is also no control of inanimate objects while little piles of my life are everywhere, I was researching and found "water vapor". http://www.weatherquestions.com/What_is_water_vapor.htm I might try this category on for size.

    4. Hmm, I've thought of a few names: Mamah Cheney? But she comes to a terrible end.
      Miles Calman is a good name, but not very womanly. What about Oblomov?

    5. Mmmm. "Water Vapor Cools AND Warms the Climate System" Interesting. Kind of a fire and ice in an invisible, ethereal form. i like it!

    6. Again, hmmm. Oblomov? Really? Do you know/intuit something I don't. Maybe there are more than one but this one "Oblomov is a young, generous nobleman who seems incapable of making important decisions or undertaking any significant actions." I'm not willing to be named after. Miles? You're right. Not womanly or particularly masculine either. Now Mrs. Cheney is interesting. The part that intrigued me was that she died at Taliesin. Made something click and then I remembered the early medieval Welsh poet Taliesin, a bard that wrote about the nature of the poet and the practice of poetry. Some have called it Shamanic. I’m likin' this name AND the journey to get here. Great fun!

  2. Oh I have been there many times! Never smart enough to deal with anything electric, though. Now with more time on my hands there are days when I am definitely a solid!

    1. Oh, nice, being a solid! I'm not sure if it's a time thing, though, or just a basic nature. Like, I had a few hours, and ended up blowing the yolk out of 8 eggs, looking up recipes for battery testers, and so on and so forth. Some other person would have actually made a dent! Enjoy your time. :-)

  3. We have a battery tester. Do you want it? I cant even figure out how to use it. This is the truth. It lays in the drawer with all the batteries which I don't know if they work or not until I put them in a device.
    And by the way- Go you.

    1. Go YOU, Ms. Moon! The battery tester, way easier than putting the batteries in the device. We'll see if I can make one out of the 1 foot of copper wire I bought today for 11 cents. AND, I found a dime in the parking lot on my way out!

  4. Heh ... I think I'm a water person, too. I've had so many of those days when I start out to do one thing and end up somewhere completely different, with a trail of unfinished work behind me ... staring at a metaphorical bowl of eggshells ...

    I don't actually LOL at the written word very often, but today's post was a two-LOL one (end of para. 2 and para. 4, in case you're graphing this, which is entirely possible) But I smiled frequently at the rest of it, too :)

    Thank you for the LOLs and the smiles, Betsy! There can never be too many of those, in my opinion.

    1. Oh, I'm glad there was an actual LOL involved! Metaphorical eggshells. That's the story of my life.
      Thanks, as always, Jennio, for your kindness.

  5. I came across this the other day (don't remember how), and just KNEW it would come in handy! http://www.diysmarts.com/dont-know-if-that-battery-is-any-good-heres-a-great-little-test-that-really-works-video/2/

    1. Wow! That's so much easier than building the battery charger. Just bouncing. Thank you!

  6. You know what I use for a battery tester? A little flashlight that takes one battery. Great idea until the bulb burned out or something quit working and I found out by accident that I was tossing usable batteries. I truly hate batteries. Tried the rechargeable kind, but the thing is, you have to be able to find the recharger thing. Oh, life.
    I think your lights are cute, and I am so impressed that you are splitting wood, that is not easy work, it requires skill and stamina.
    I've missed chatting here, been a wee bit distracted, but I'm on my way back. :)

    1. Oh, so nice to hear from you, Mel! And yes, batteries are annoying. In so many ways. I sometimes use the "just try it in a flashlight" test, but yeah, the light goes bad, and there are all different types of batteries. It's never so easy.

      At any rate, I'm glad you're back!

  7. I also LOL'd twice because I had to read this post twice. I haven't seen those light people planet thingys at your house but they are genius. Lights disguised as people. Like those apple trees in Wizard of Oz. Or not.

    I'm too cold to think properly.

    I have a basket with random things in it, mostly hats and dog leashes. Would either of those items be useful in a power outage? it's by the front door so they're handy as I leave the house.

    The nice construction men have filled my living room with wood bits so I can have a fire. I'm really getting my money's worth from Dunn Lumber!!

    I'm afraid of my next heat bill.

    The Buddhists have greedy, aversive and delusional-kinda like liquid, solid and vapor. I'm greedy mostly (as she yells, "more chocolate please!!!!") but isn't vapor the kind you smoke? I have to go eat chocolate on my pie now.

    XXXX your hypothermic friend


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