What to Write?

by Valerie Nusbaum

I intended for this month’s column to be about a social experiment I had recently conducted. The experiment was a simple premise. For ten days, I posted a positive or inspirational (sometimes humorous) thought/message on my Facebook page.  People responded or hit “like,” and I had thought I might collect the data, do some math, and come up with some statistics and conclusions about how folks reacted to it. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a lot to work with. With one exception, everyone agreed with my posts.

One guy did take issue with Day #1’s comment, “Be happy. It drives other people crazy.” He proceeded to tell me that a smile can warm the heart of someone who is struggling. Yeah, whatever. I went to high school with this guy, and he always had to be right, which prompted my post for Day #2: “Being entitled to an opinion isn’t necessarily an invitation to share it.” 

Anyway, my point is that sometimes the thing I plan to write about doesn’t pan out, and I’m forced to look for inspiration elsewhere.

This morning, I woke up determined to get something in print. But it was still early, and I didn’t want to disturb Randy. He’d fought a stomach bug all night long and needed to ease into the day today. He said he feels fine now, though, and he made us breakfast in bed. His chocolate chip waffles are the bomb!

After two cups of tea (I made hot chocolate with the little marshmallows for Randy.) and two episodes of The Great Food Truck Race, I decided it was time to tackle my column. I really wanted to get all my work done today because tomorrow is my birthday, and I’m entertaining the idea of staying in my pajamas all day and watching murder and mayhem on Lifetime. It bothers Randy when I watch Lifetime because he’s afraid it will give me ideas. I decided to strip the bed and put on clean sheets this morning, rather than do it tomorrow. Another job out of the way. 

Day #3’s post was: “Life happens.  The trick is how you deal with it.”

Dirty laundry in hand, I went downstairs to the kitchen to do some cleanup. Randy was nice enough to cook breakfast. The least I could do is clean up. I finished the dishes, cleaned all the counters, did some dusting, scrubbed the microwave, and noticed that the stovetop needed a good cleaning. That ceramic surface is always smeary. So, I got out the special cleaner and went to work until I could see myself, which reminded me that I needed to put in my prescription eyedrops. Since I was already downstairs, I figured I might as well go start a load of laundry. I saw some stuff that needed to go into the dryer on the fluff cycle, so I took care of that. I had started my day at around 5:30 a.m. and it was now nearly 10:00 a.m. Nothing written yet.

Back upstairs in my office, after having cleaned myself up at some point during the morning, I stared at my desk where a number of art prints were lying in wait for me to sign, number, and inventory. There was also a pile of Etsy orders that needed to be cleared. I put those things aside and sat down to collect my thoughts. This writing stuff isn’t easy. Really. 

I looked back at my Facebook posts and focused on Day #4: “A positive attitude and a sense of humor are powerful weapons.”

Several of my women friends agreed with that one, and Randy lamented that he’d be much more effective if only people got his humor.

My computer is old and has been acting up, plus our internet is slow, so there were the usual frustrations.  I’ve gotten up several times to do chores like put the clean sheets on the bed. Does anyone else have trouble getting the fitted bottom sheet on right the first time? Yes, I know there’s a tag and all that, but unless the sheet has stripes on it, I still have to struggle. I can fold the heck out of a fitted sheet, though. Martha Stewart would applaud me or be horribly jealous. And how many of you vacuum your mattress? Really? You know that there are dust mites in there, don’t you?

At 11:30 a.m., I have 724 words on paper. I’ll let you decide if they make any sense at all. Just remember that Day #5’s post was: “Pass out granola bars. Mean people don’t get enough fiber.”

On Day #6 I posted: “Celebrate every little thing….and use the good china.”  Randy and I try to do just that. 

Unfortunately, a lot of those celebrations are showing up on my hips. There’s a big, decorated birthday cake downstairs right now just calling my name, and Randy has gotten some lovely non-china paper plates and non-linen napkins to go with it. My advice isn’t always followed to the letter.  And, yes, I know I should refer back to Day #2, but as I’ve told you before, Oprah left a big void, and I’m doing my best to fill it. 

Day #7’s post advised that:  “Getting old is a privilege. Not everyone gets to do it.” I’ll keep that in mind tomorrow as I celebrate.

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