Patsy Porco

Archive for November, 2013|Monthly archive page

Trees vs. Forest

In Humor on November 30, 2013 at 2:42 pm

“You can’t see the trees for the forest,” he said.

“Well, you can’t see the forest for the trees,” she said.

I used to be a tree person but, at some point in the last decade, I became a forest person. Previously, I compulsively focused on details, which made me a great assistant to people who couldn’t be bothered — those who came up with big ideas and delegated to underlings the tasks that were critical to the realization of their dreams.

Then, one day, I woke up in the forest, figuratively speaking. (I’ll save the stories of my literal awakenings in forests for another time.) The things that controlled my life didn’t matter as much anymore. Whereas I used to be obsessive-compulsive about locking my front door — it took me ten minutes standing outside it to persuade myself that it was really locked — now, I locked it once and left. Sometimes I didn’t lock it at all. That way, I didn’t have to worry about its being locked; I knew it wasn’t.

Forest people create masterpieces. The scale of their masterpieces vary from the pyramids to a spectacularly successful Super Bowl commercial, depending on the field of the big thinker, but one thing remains constant: forest people rely on tree people to get the work done. Forest people may supervise, but they don’t haul bricks or set up the lights.

I realized that I had become a forest person when my mother-in-law came to visit and asked my son who had cleaned our house. Until recently, she had always proudly announced to her friends that I was a wonderful housekeeper. And I was. Until I wasn’t.

I now keep the house clean enough for our family to live in without (much) fear of getting a staph infection, but if the dog sheds on the rug, I don’t run for the vacuum cleaner like I used to do. And, if my husband and I have to navigate an obstacle course of laundry baskets before getting into bed, well, so what? Anybody who lives here is welcome to tidy up if it bothers him or her.

Anyway, when my mother-in-law asked my son who had cleaned the house, he said that he had. This wasn’t close to the truth — we had hired a housekeeper— but he later told me that he did it to save me from being judged for wasting money on something that I could have done myself. In all honesty, as long as my son had told her that I, and not my husband, had hired the housekeeper, she would have given me a pass. She lets a lot slide with me, which I love her for.

While I could go on and on with examples to prove that I’m now a forest person, I’ll end with this one: long ago, I used to get up at 6 a.m., or even earlier, and make breakfast, lunches, toss in a load of laundry, and get my family off for the day before I went to work. Now that my husband leaves for work at 5 a.m. and my son is self-sufficient, I only wake up when it’s absolutely necessary, like when I have to go into the office.

Yesterday, I went to bed at 3:30 a.m., after reading all night. When I awoke, fully rested, at 5:30, it was still dark, which meant that I had only slept two hours. So, why wasn’t I tired? Because it was 5:30 p.m. and I had missed the daylight hours, that’s why.

At first, I panicked. Then, when I realized that it was the weekend, I calmed down. All that mattered was that I was awake, right? Things would get done, or not. And if not, I could always hire a housekeeper. Meanwhile, it was time for some coffee. I asked my son to make it.


When “I Love You” Isn’t Enough

In Humor on November 14, 2013 at 11:59 pm

“I love you,” said the seven-year-old boy whom I was driving to his karate lesson.

His three-year-old brother and two-year-old sister were in the back seat of the car with him. They are at an age where they act instinctively, so I always get lots of proclamations of love from them. The seven-year-old shows me that he loves me, but he rarely says it.

Today, however, I must have done something to deserve hearing how he felt about me.

“I love you, too,” I said.

“But,” he said, “I will love you … even when you’re dead.”

“That’s so nice,” I said.

He continued, “I’ll even go to your funeral.”

“Oh, thanks so much,” I said.

When do you think that will be?” he asked as we pulled into the parking lot.

“Hopefully, after I pick you up and take you all home,” I said, as I unlatched the buckles from his car seat and watched him enter the karate studio.

Change is Inevitable

In Humor on November 5, 2013 at 8:03 am

I have a theory that if you gave any man a ten-dollar bill in the morning and he never left the house all day, at the end of the day the ten dollars would still be in his pocket … in nickels, dimes, pennies, and quarters.

Such a Deal!

In Humor on November 3, 2013 at 1:09 am

I don’t usually write about recent events because my writing teachers at Ohio State told us not to include details that could date our prose.  We were instructed to write stories that future generations could relate to. (I’m glad Jane Austen and Charles Dickens didn’t go to Ohio State.)

Despite my professors’ warning, this current event cannot be ignored: A woman moved into a  Racine, Wisconsin, Marriott (for future readers: that’s a mid-price hotel that can be counted on for cleanliness and service) for nine years and moved out before she was evicted for her $28,000 bill.–abc-news-travel.html?vp=1

That is a little more than $3,100 per year. I hope somebody rich steps up to help her. But, more than that, I hope they have a vacancy. I’m packing up my things right now. You cannot live for that price anywhere else, even if you add in the cost of a rented refrigerator. That is less than my family pays for our mortgage payment and heating bill per month. And we certainly don’t get free cable, maid service, and ice.

When I was little, I said that I wanted to live in a hotel. Everyone laughed, as they cleaned their homes, filled their ice-cube trays, paid their mortgages, and stayed home because they couldn’t afford to get off their couches. Little did they know that the day would come when they could live almost for free and have endless disposable income, and lots of time to spend it.

Forget the good old days. Embrace the great new days and make a reservation at that Marriott in Wisconsin … for the rest of your life.

You will have to wear a cheese head once in a while and become a Green Bay Packers fan—but that’s a small price to pay, for a small price to pay to live.

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