The learning curve can be brutal. Some lessons I get the first time. Others… not so much. I think sometimes I believe that my poor results are a fluke; if I repeat the activity, I will get better results THIS time. When I crash and burn again, I get the message. Sometimes.
David’s next door neighbors are terrific people. Every few years they paint their home and do all the work themselves and I totally respect that. The first time I looked out David’s upstairs window I had to laugh. There on the roof was a splotch of beige paint (the color of the house’s trim) that dripped down the shingles and into the gutter, where you could see a hand-shaped dent. It really told a story. I immediately thought of the winter I found myself dangling from my own gutter after somehow managing to kick the ladder out from under myself as I tried to remove our Christmas lights.
Last week, I glanced out the window again and nearly wet myself. There, just above the beige paint was a new and larger spill of the white paint they are using this year.
Now I am not judging. Frankly, I could easily imagine myself doing the exact same thing. It just made me think of all the times I haven’t learned from my mistakes.
It’s like people who have teenagers and then decide to go and have another baby. Hello! In another 13 years, guess what that cute little baby is going to be! ANOTHER CRANKY TEENAGER. So here is my list of lessons I SWEAR I have really learned once and for all.
1. I love my daughters, but Lord, please let me never get pregnant again. I am almost done raising them and the mere thought of starting over with an infant makes me want to run away from home.
2. Kittens. Guess what? They turn into CATS. This holds true for bunnies, ferrets, fish, geckos, hedgehogs or whatever other pets my children begged to have. There is a reason humans domesticated dogs and not squirrels.
3. Boyfriends who try to alienate me from my friends and family. This is evidently step #1 in the “Abusive S.O.B. Handbook”. It only happened once when I was 19. That was enough.
4. Travelling with both my beloved daughters in close proximity for longer than 10 minutes. I don’t think I even want to share the same elevator with them (simultaneously) until they’ve graduated from college.
5. Dessert. I have no self control when it comes to sugar and I really need to give this up forever or embrace my future obesity/Type 2 diabetes. I used to keep hoping I could manage my addiction, but ask any alcoholic if it really works to stick to just having one beer every now and then. Yeah. It really is that bad.
Now for the list of things that I know are probably a bad idea or could go horribly wrong but I’ll most likely do again anyway because I think it’s worth the risk:
1. Love. Yes, I was incredibly in love when I was young and that resulted in a horrible marriage and a painful divorce 13 years later. I don’t care. I have risked it over and over again and yes, I have kissed a lot of frogs that will forever remain frogs. Every time I start over, I have to wipe the slate clean and give the new guy a chance for this to be fresh, untainted and magical. I will risk my heart in the chance that I could have a loving and committed partner for life.
2. Helping people who are in need. It hasn’t always gone as well as I’d hoped, but I think that as my boundaries and wisdom improve, I will get better at seeing who is really ready for change and who is just looking for a uterus to crawl into so they can reattach their umbilical cord.
3. Puppies. They chew up all my favorite stuff and pee, poop and barf on everything, but oh my goodness they are the best anti-depressants EVER. Eventually they become dogs and are fun to snuggle and take running if I train them well. I can’t imagine a day when I won’t have dogs.
4. Buying a house that has no landscaping at all. Man, oh, man is it a LOT of work. But at least I get to put everything where I want it and can pick exactly the cultivars I love instead of suffering with cheap generic trees and shrubs. Yes, I have to wait a few years before it starts to look good, but I keep thinking that THIS is the last house I’ll ever own. THIS TIME, I’m not moving again! Really!
5. Camping. I imagine it as being really fun, but it always ends up being mostly sticky, dirty and cold. David is really excited (I mean, REALLY EXCITED) to take me camping this summer, somewhere so remote we have to backpack in. Yeah. Hmm. I have consented and I am already second guessing myself. Will I finally learn this time?