Ringmaster to Her Circus

Finally.  After suggesting this prompt, I am the last to join in.  Go figure.  Karen over at TableFor1 already posted hers and so did Marc over at Sorryless  Funny how these prompts came about through simple comments back and forth.  It has been a fabulous journey playing with these two.  They sure push me to do better.

The stage was set:  bathtub filled with hot, sudsy water; candles lit, strategically placed all around;  lights dimmed; iPad propped to watch something on Netflix – if the inspiration hit; current book; journal; pen.  All at the ready for whatever inspired her.  Or didn’t.  There were no rules for the next hour or so.  Don’t forget the bathmat or the towel.  Perfection.  She disrobed and slowly sank into the hot bubbles, sliding down until the water covered her shoulders.  Ahhhh.  Thank you, thank you, thank you, for the two-man tub that permitted both boobs and knees to be covered in hot water.  Not possible in a standard tub when you are almost 5’9″.  One must appreciate what one has.

She closed her eyes and felt all her daily stresses slip away and for a few moments, all thoughts were silenced.  Not a sound.  It was bliss.  It didn’t last long.  Fucking hamster has to show up here too?  Couldn’t he wait for his usual 3:00 a.m. appearance?  Was there no other way besides drugs to obliterate that pesky rassembleur of thoughts and to-do lists?

And so it starts.

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The house.  So much has to be done to make it ready for sale.  It’s too big to keep.  I don’t need all this space.  I hate housecleaning.  I need to downsize.   The boys are not much help.  Well, that’s not true.  When I blow a gasket, start yelling like a banshee, they then pitch in.  Well one of them does.  He’s been pretty darn good.  The other is going through anxiety at turning 20.  20.  Seriously, Dude?  Fuckssakes.  On top of that, he is “his own man and doesn’t like to be told what to do”.  Oh excuse me.  Sucks to be you.   Guess what?  In real life, sometimes you have to follow orders.  And, it’s not like I even ordered you.  I have asked you.  Repeatedly.  So very glad you can’t wait to get out of this house but don’t want to lift a bloody finger to make it ready. Oh, you want to help but not when we want you to help.  And yet, I know if I don’t nag, eventually you will do what needs to be done.  You just don’t understand – or want to –  how each piece needs to be put in place for the next one to be taken care of.

The mother-in-law, Jean.  Ah hell.  It’s become a full-time job trying to juggle all her shit.  Her landlord – he wants his 3-months’ rent.  The pharmacy at the home want to stop giving her her meds because the bill is up to $500.  The home is owed 4 months rent.  I can’t do anything because the friggen co-mandatory won’t sign the document resigning her part in the mandate. And now blocks my calls.  Bitch.  No access to her funds – and I sure as hell cannot afford to cover her expenses.  Cannot have her mail redirected to me.  Must keep driving out the 40-minute drive to her appartment to pick up her mail.  Can’t sign her Income Tax Papers.  Get phonecalls from Jean where she gives me hell for putting her in that god-forsaken place.  Reassure her I had nothing to do with it.  Promise to visit her.  Put it off.  Get the boys to come with me to visit her for her 83rd birthday on Sunday.  She is getting worse.  Never could tell them apart.  Repeats that she loves A’s hair.  Repeats she loves I’s sweater.  Lists off the birthdays and for the first time, she gets them all wrong.  Definitely getting worse.  Remembers she asked me for her “papers”.  I ask her which ones.  She says the ones regarding her funeral arrangements.  Oh, no worries, I assure her, I have those.  Asks me if I brought her her papers.  Sigh.  One-and-a-half hours later, I am done.  The boys are done.  Promises are made to go back and visit.

The finances.  Seems every time I turn around, it’s costing me another $300 here $400 there, etc.  The damages caused by water leakages and impatient kids and bad quality items needing replacement, and appliances failing needing repair, etc. are making my head spin.  I know I’ll be able to recuperate all once this house is sold but till then… gulp!  I try not to focus on stuff – you know, the Universe is listening so I don’t want it to think I want more things to break!

The boyfriend.  I hate to admit his going away for two weeks to lie on a beach sans me still bugs the shit out of me.  I barely missed him – probably too angry to.  Mind you, I kept myself busy with friends and house stuff but should I not have felt a small twinge? Was I feeding the situation with unnecessary negativity?  Or was my gut telling me something?   It doesn’t help when I am asked where’s the boyfriend?  And I answer gone on vacation and I get the response, without you?  Then it all starts roiling again.  So confused about this one.  Will have to let it play out when he gets back.

The mother.  I worry about her heart, her health.  Taking care of her husband, who had a stroke two years ago and is paralyzed on the left side, is exhausting her.  My sisters do a lot for her and I try to do my share as well but we still worry.  It is not an easy situation.  We sometimes worry she will kick the bucket before he does simply by burning herself out.  It scares me.

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These thoughts criss-crossed her mind, one colliding after another, balling up inside her belly and turning her shoulders into knots.   Enough was enough and time to shut down that hamster wheel so she turned on the iPad to listen to some Arvo Pärt – Spiegel im Spiegel and whatever else followed.  YouTube was good for keeping one in the mood.   Ahhh… eyes closed, each tensed muscle began to relax, her mind once again emptying itself.

An hour later, sufficiently pruned, she started to shiver, the water no longer comfortably warm.  Time to get out.

As she was towelling off, her mind started up again.  The boyfriend liked to call her the Captain of her ship and her boys, her sailors.  He said she was in charge of the household and responsible for its functioning and for keeping her sailors on point.  She didn’t like that analogy.  Did not fancy the idea of being the one who went down with the ship should it sink.  Nope.  Another title was in order.

How about Ringmaster of a crazy five-ring (or was it six?) circus.  So many things to juggle, so many acts going on at the same time, not all with the same intensity, but each requiring her attention.  Yeah, that was more like it.  Ringmaster.  Had more pizzazz than Captain.  This was definitely her circus and maybe some, but not all, were her monkeys.

 

If – A Frank Angle Challenge

Good evening, my Peeps!  It’s finally here.  Frank’s “If” challenge.   To remind you of the “how” it works, please click here.

Should you like to participate – and please do, please add your link to the comments in Frank’s If post here.

IF

***

Before I start…

IF Frank at aFrankAngle had not issued this challenge, I would not have taken the time to be reflect on the past 20-some-odd years!

***

If I hadn’t listened to my friend Kathy’s suggestion to try out “Telepersonals”, I’d never have met Mick.

If I had known how to count, I would not have become pregnant with Austin, our surprise Angel.

If Austin had not been born with a heart defect, I’d never have seen just how capable I am.

If Austin had not died, I would not have learned how much I can handle.

If Mick and I hadn’t realised that, despite all we had gone through in such a short time, we still wanted to create a family, I would not have Iain and Aidan.

If Mick had not had the courage to start his own business, we would not have bought this house.

If we didn’t believe it was important to enjoy life, we would not have travelled.

If Mick had not given up on finding a cause for his breathing problems, he might not have had a heart attack.

If Mick had not died, I wouldn’t have learned the term resilient.

If I had listened to all my fears, I would not have gone to Tuscany alone.

If I had not gone on all those stupid dating sites, I would not have met some really nice guys who’ve become friends.

If I had not kept good relations with past co-workers, I would not have been invited to work at the golf club.

If I had not worked at the golf club, I would not have met François.

I would like to end this “If List” with my mother’s favourite “If”:

If my aunt had balls she’d be my uncle!

All jokes aside, we could convince ourselves that “IF” one something happens, another “IF” will be the result.  It’s all supposition, isn’t it?  Supposition sounds a bit like suppository and we know where that goes!!

I like to give “If” a smaller role in my life.  If I want something, I will set a goal. If I do the necessary work, If I accept the necessary help, If I don’t give up, If I believe in myself.  Then, I will achieve said goal.  Oh, what the hell, a little luck is allowed – If we believe in luck – though we also create that, don’t we?

 

Footprints in the Sand – An AFA Challenge

Frank, over at A Frank Angle, a wonderful blogger and expert in getting his readers to participate in various challenges, has created yet a new one.  Write a 150-or-less word story on the image below.  Well, as an avid participant of Friday Fictioneers, how could I resist?  Plus, an extra fifty words – What??  The rules and regs are quite simple.  We all get the same picture and must title our story:  “Footprints in the Sand”.  Frank first mentioned the challenge on July 2, explaining just how this whole party works.  Go ahead and join in on the fun!

Genre:  Contemplation

Word Count:  150

FOOTPRINTS IN THE SAND

It was early.  Way too early for the regular folk and she loved it that way.  Alone with her thoughts, she felt peaceful, almost meditative.  As she gazed across the sand into the indigo of the ocean, she noticed a set of footprints.

They reminded her of her late friend, Roxanne.   She still carried the plasticized card with that biblical “Footprints” poem.  She couldn’t remember when or why Roxie gave it to her but she had kept it all these years anyway.  She wasn’t the praying kind nor the church-going type but that card definitely had a special place in her heart.

She never thought she was being “carried by Jesus” when she lost her son, father, husband over the years.  She was resilient.  Life was tough sometimes and you just had to deal with what came your way.  But maybe, without focusing on it, she’d had a little help?

***

For those of you who’ve not read the poem, here it is:

 

It’s a Choice – Friday Fictioneers

Hello, hello!  Welcome to Friday Fictioneers, brought to you on a Wednesday by our lovely hostess, Rochelle Wisoff-Fields, artist and author of growing renown.  This week, she has given us a most interesting photo submitted by Ted Strutz.   What do you see?  If you care to let us know what this image brings to mind, please do no hesitate to join our special family by clicking on the blue frog and submitting it!  No?  Just want to snoop and read?  Well, here, it is not a criminal offense, so do go ahead!

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©Ted Strutz

Genre:  Fiction

Word Count:  100

It’s a Choice

You drive me crazy, you know that?

Why, what did I do now?

“Miss Positive”.  Heaven forbid you get mad and rant…

Of course I get mad!  I refuse to stay there.  We all have the same choice.  Focus on the negative or focus on the positive and beauty in the world.  The choice is always ours.

You’re so bloody naïve; people will take advantage of you!

Maybe. Better naïve than cynical, I say.  Besides, isn’t that negative weight getting heavy?

Pffft.  Let’s just hide the shitty reality with flowers while we’re at it.

Not hide, choose what you see.

Friday Fictioneers – Barriers

It’s Friday!  That means Friday Fictioneers is here!  Oh my yes, I am posting on a Friday instead of a Wednesday or even a Thursday.  Must keep you all on your toes!  That, and the fact I have a serious virus in my official computer and after a couple of days of trying, I gave up and have resorted to my old laptop.  Thank goodness this one works!

So, without further ado, let us thank Mr. c.e. Ayr for his lovely photo and Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for hosting this party every week!

Click on ye olde blue froggie if you would like to add your own story to go with this photo and if you still dare not, then at least enjoy the wonderful stories linked to it! 

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chateau-de-sable-ceayr

© c.e. ayr

Genre:  Fiction

Word count:  100

The Barrier

It’ll never work out between us.

Why ever not?

We don’t come from the same background.  We are different people and want different things.

I don’t understand how you can say that based on a couple of dates!

I just know.  Your real Prince Charming is out there.  I just know it isn’t me.

How can you possibly know who or what would make my “Prince Charming”?  We barely know each other!  You can’t judge based on the few hours we’ve spent together!  Why are you putting up these barriers?

I need to protect my heart. You will break it.

Friday Fictioneers – Yes or No?

Oh yes, ’tis Friday Fictioneers on a Wednesday!  Well, technically, it is always on a Wednesday but we do have three days to submit (as far as I’m concerned).

This image, graciously given by Mr. Roger Bultot, gives so many views, I can fully understand why Rochelle Wisoff-Fields, our lovely hostess, chose it!

C’mon, folks, click on the Blue Frog to submit your own 100-word story or, at least, read some fabulous writers’ interpretations!

Get the InLinkz code

Word count:  100

Yes or No?

© Roger Bultot

© Roger Bultot

 

“The power of ‘No’.”  It may be difficult at first, but you’ll see, it gets ever easier with each ‘No’.  You will feel liberated; your stress levels will diminish. Don’t be afraid. Go ahead. Say No.

“The power of ‘Yes’.”  It will be scary at first but once you start, you will open yourself up to new possibilities, new adventures. Don’t be afraid. Go ahead. Say Yes.

Both sides held a power not to be underestimated.

Stop feeling pressure to say yes and regret it once uttered.

Stop saying no and missing out on possibilities.

Which one, yes or no?

 

Friday Fictioneers – Take the Leap

Friday fictioneers is here.  I’m a tad late today but all for good reason.  Friendship, sushi and wine!

Rochelle Wisoff-Fields, our Hostess with the Mostest, has challenged us to write a 100-word story with beginning, middle and end and it must stand alone.  So here I am, faced with a fabulous photo by Sandra Crook.  Do you feel like trying it out?  It’s a lot of fun – and challenging too!

Click on the Blue frog to add your submission or to simply read what all the other wonderful writers have seen in this photo!

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©SandraCrook

© Sandra Crook

Word Count:  100

Genre:  Sort of fiction

Take the Leap

She was a strong woman.

It sometimes seemed like nothing was too insurmountable for her.

Resilient became the adjective du jour to describe her.

She just took things in stride, moving one foot in front of the other, regardless of what obstacles were presented.

Through it all, she never totally believed in herself, believing she was incapable.  She allowed others to take the reins and lead her where they would.

It would be so easy to choose this same modus vivendi.  She wouldn’t have to stress about a thing.

Not this time.

She was finally ready to take her leap.