Neverending Lau-ahn-dreeee!

If there’s one thing I hate in life, it’s chocolate-covered raisins. Such deception!

A close second, however, is housework.

Dishes, tidying up, laundry, vacuuming, dusting, toilets, mirrors, counters, beds, shelves, drapes, dishes, windows, cooking, laundry, showers, mopping, dishes, and laundry -over and over in a neverending cycle!!

Growing up with chores, I knew my parents assigned them out of a sadistic sense of selfishness. When I’m older, I vowed, I am never doing jobs!

I haven’t quite checked that one off my bucket list.

I have learned which tasks I prefer over others. Like, loading a dishwasher or organizing a space instead of putting away clothes. And, I’ve talked with others who’ve told me their most- and least-favorite chores. An aunt says she hates vacuuming the floor but my sister loves it.

Photo by RODNAE Productions on Pexels.com

Which leads to today’s obvious question: do you think chocolate-covered raisins are an abomination?

All right, all right. Do you have a household task you’re fond of? What about one you despise?

—————-

Voilà! The posts of the week we had:
Wednesday, January 12: “Ya Know What I Mean?,” wherein we discussed irritating idiosyncrasies.

Thursday, January 13: The love story of “Beatrice Box.

Friday, January 14: “Foremost, Facts are Freeing” for Pensitivity’s Three Things Challenge.

Saturday, January 15: Friday Photo.

Sunday, January 16: Internet quote.

Monday, January 17: “I’m a Mormon, So I Don’t Drink Coffee.

Tuesday, January 18: “To Be Readtinued,” in answer to D. Wallace Peach’s writing prompt.

Matt of A Prolific Potpourri has been doing audio performances of my Wilhelmina Winters series. He does them once a month for Short Story Saturday and they are excellent. Go listen!!

©2022 Chel Owens

Ya Know What I Mean?

“And this one here, this one we’ve got loads of in stock; ya know what I mean?”

There it was again, grating.

The motorsports salesman continued his spiel, hands gesturing and mouth sideways-smirking. Every now and again, he’d slip that phrase at the end of a statement -not in the same pattern, no. He couldn’t even alleviate my senses that way.

See, I’m bothered by repetition. Maybe you’re not. Maybe in sixth grade, you could have sat through your classmate’s reading her report aloud with an, “And, um” announcing each new paragraph. As she became more and more nervous, the phrase increased to lead each line. Then, she stuttered it after every pause.

Maybe you like “The Twelve Days of Christmas.”

Instead of reflecting on irritants, however, my mind wandered to a mirror: what am I doing, perhaps unconsciously, that drives others up the wall?

Photo by Johannes Plenio on Pexels.com

I know of one thing. I know because of others’ comments and because of my own instincts. I wrestle with years of childhood shyness and mumbling and such to just LOOK PEOPLE IN THE EYE when speaking.

Much of my conversational behavior irritates me. I know I couldn’t stand a recording of myself; I’d spend the entirety of it regretting this gesture or that head flip or ugh; was that what I thought smiling looked like?

Not that I am recommending harsh criticism of oneself. Rather, I wonder what habits you’ve noticed in yourself. Did another person have to point it out for you?

What sorts of amusing or irritating idiosyncrasies have you seen in others? Will you write a character based on them -if ya know what I mean?

—————-

Here’s last week’s recap:
Tuesday, January 11: Updated y’all with “The First-Ever 2022 Blog Update!

ALSO!! Matt of A Prolific Potpourri has been doing audio performances of my Wilhelmina Winters series. He does them once a month for Short Story Saturday and they are excellent. Go listen!!

©2022 Chel Owens

The First-Ever 2022 Blog Update!

Photo by Anna Shvets on Pexels.com

I’ve been absent lately, in an unofficial fashion. Since this has been due to life and its overwhelming responsibilities -furthermore, since no one has gone looking for me in a panic- I can only presume that: either everyone is equally engaged, or everyone understands that I am not only engaged but have married and sired six children.

If you are feeling like panicking, this post is meant to deter that.

Photo by Anna Tarazevich on Pexels.com

I am still alive. My family is alive and kicking. I’ve come through the holidays, have declared a word, and have been mentally planning what to do for this blog.

I intend to include:

  • More creative stories, although they may be short.
  • More off-the-cuff posts as was my wont before COVID-19 hit.
  • Poetry, naturally.
  • Reviews of favorite books and movies.
  • Updates on COVID-19 conditions, as necessary.
  • A contest, or many. I’d love to award literal prizes.
  • Quotes. I love me my quotes.
  • Guest posts. PLEASE!
  • Wrap-ups of my Tour of Utah and mystery series, and promises I’ve made to bloggers to read their works.

If you made it this far, maybe you’d consider helping:
1. What would you like to read? Why do you come around here?
2. Would you be a guest blogger?
3. Would you be a guest host for a contest or writing prompt?
4. Is there anything I haven’t listed that you’d like me to write about?

Thank you for joining me on consider the current chaos.

Good Ole Bill…. Thanks, GIPHY

Hopefully, I’ll squeeze out a plan for the year and get back with you. In the meantime, please do answer my questions.

©2022 Chel Owens

What’s Your Word?

Now is the time we’ve all dreaded: after Christmas. We can no longer laugh whilst claiming, “Ah; it’s the holidays” as we pop another homemade cookie into our waistline. Many of us, instead, throw around terms like resolution and goal.

I’m an all-year-round resolution person, myself. I’m also an all-year-round resolution-breaker. As such, I can’t get too excited about ‘new’ years.

For a slightly different idea, I’ve seen several bloggers come up with a word for the new year. I even read a friend who inadvertently gave a word to summarize 2021 before naming one for 2022.

I LOVE that thought.

Last year has been very full for me: job, politics and divisiveness, a close family member’s passing, moving house, pregnancy and childbirth, and COVID-19. What all-encompassing word, then, can cover that?

Pixabay

Chaos. Regrets. Crowded. Busyness. Craziness. Full.

In reflecting over the breadth of it, I’m going with Complete.

I’ve had regrets, make no mistake. We left planned projects incomplete in selling the last house. Milestones were unmet regarding when to move by. The bathroom was still in pieces and laundry piles lay all over as I headed off to the hospital to deliver #6. I can’t hang onto any of that like I used to, though. I look back with only a desire to let go.

So, with Complete, my word for 2022 will be Control.

This may surprise you. Control often has connotative surrounds; we’re encouraged to release the illusion of it or focus on reasonable expectations regarding it. The reason I choose control is for good. In my life, I’ve spent too long riding along and resenting. At depressive and stressful points I’ve complained about what is out of my hands …and done nothing to change the situation. I felt I could not.

Instead of being a passenger in the van of my life, I will take control.

Now, I encourage everyone to do the same. Yes, to take control -but also to look back and choose a word for last year. Then, choose a word for the next. What are your words? Why?

©2021 Chel Owens

Chelsea, Thy Name is …Aimee?

I’m in a mental crisis. For years, I knew my parents planned to name me something different than the one they switched to. They’d told me. But only yesterday did I learn that they’d intended to also NOT. USE. ITS. PROPER. SPELLING.

*Deep breaths* *Deeeep breaths*

See, a little-known fact about me is that I’m bothered by grammar and spelling errors. I certainly won’t return your birthday present over it, but I can’t help but notice. I can’t help but correct the problem.

A little-known fact about Utah Mormons* is that they are guilty of unique name spellings -including Jaxcon, Danieell, and Stephenie. Yes, these are names I’ve literally seen applied to people. I hate it.

So, naturally, upon learning that I might have not just been an Amy but might have been an Aimee, I’ve been reflecting on how my whole life would be different:

  1. I would be blonde. If not, I’m sure I’d have curls and blue eyes. At the least, I’d be cuter.
  2. If something were funny, I’d legitimately giggle.
  3. My pants size would be …well, at this point, about where it’s at. I would’ve had kids as an (*shudder*) Aimee, too.
  4. My husband would be named Michael.
  5. I’d be interested in “The Bachelor.” Heck; I’d know who The Sexiest Man Alive was instead of needing to Google it every time. Not only that, but I would actually know who he is and would likely fantasize about his running away with me on the back of …an oversized ant.
  6. I would get weekly mani-pedi‘s instead of one in my entire life.
  7. My favorite book would be the latest Eat, Pray, Love sort.
  8. I’d be a frequent shopper at that place that sells scented stuff.
  9. My children would also have unique names. I’m thinking Cashe or Leeder.
  10. Most of all, I would NOT vomit a little in my mouth every time someone spelled my name aloud.

And don’t say I’m overreacting. That would be a Karen thing to do, not an Aimee.

©2021 Chel Owens

*Mormons are members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

Business or Pleasure?

I am a Business Showerer.

The instant I’ve guaranteed ten full minutes of distraction for my cute, little distractions; I’m in flight-control checklist mode:

✔Shower curtain, in position
✔Nozzle, adjusted
✔Hot water, started
✔Shampoo, secured
✔Bar soap, on rack
✔Razor, located
✔Towel, ready for reentry
✔Water temperature, adjusted
✔Hair, secured with safety loop

And … go, go, go!

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

My husband is a Pleasure Showerer.

The hour or so after he’s leisurely caught up on cell phone heralds from his porcelain throne; he’s in contemplative mode:

Tap water released
Phone, atop muddled towels
Awaits naked return

Meanwhile, I take bets on whether the hot water will run out before he does.

Photo by Tristan Malpelli on Pexels.com

A Freudian voyeur can analyze our freshly-scrubbed psyches by studying our bars of soap: mine is always a flat, overworked strip; his, a perfectly-caressed quenelle.

©2021 Chel Owens

Me in a Minute?

We’ve moved. Hear that, Pete? We’ve moved!

The ‘new’ place is fantastic …and a lot of work. Every room is a project waiting to top the list. Every corner of the yard needs pruning or trimming or weeding or…

Part of the backyard, as explored by my toddler.

Still, we’re settling in. We’re meeting the neighbors. As part of this, I’ve tried to listen when our local LDS ward’s* Relief Society hosts Me in a Minute. The idea is that a woman has one minute to describe herself.

One minute. 🕒

Naturally, I’ve thought how I would fill my minute if I had a turn. I wouldn’t do that, I’ve thought. Or, I wouldn’t say that. Welllll, Karma has come around; I’ve been asked to try my hand during the meeting tomorrow.

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Problem is, I’m over-thinking -for good reason. Most people introduce themselves by profession. Then, they elaborate. Then, they name a few interests or achievements. If I were to follow this format, however, my introduction would be:

Hello. I’m a mother. I have five and 8/9 boys. In my spare time, I sleep. Today, I got dressed.

I’d love to be more clever than that, but there’s the problem of the 8/9 boy draining my mental capacity. And ability to stand for a full minute without needing to visit the ladies’ room… Maybe I ought to give myself a script.

So, really, what would you say in a minute’s time? Would you write it all out or just wing it?

©2021 Chel Owens

*The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is unique in that one attends a ward or branch in the area one moves to; and that this ward or branch follows exactly the same schedule, format, doctrine, etc. as any other.

10/18/2021 of COVID-19 Life

These current COVID times are odd. We live as if the disease does not exist, with constant reminders that it does.

During the worldwide shutdown, you see, our family shuttered into itself; not eating out, not going out, not accepting human interaction or even packages. Our norm is to eat homemade most of the the time but I felt too scared of the risk to try any food prepared in a restaurant.

Contrast to now: we get takeout at least once a week, go out for shopping or school, and visit family and friends and receive them. I no longer make the kids wait a whole day before opening boxes we’ve received. Our new norm is whatever we need based on energy level and access to the kitchen from unpacking/organizing.

I see friends and relatives going on vacations, attending school dances, and watching sports from a crowded stadium.

A football game at the University of Utah stadium.

I feel like everyone thinks and acts like we’re all normal. Then… every time I have an OB/GYN appointment, I must mask, sanitize, and declare my cleanliness from COVID at check-in. Many businesses require their employees to wear a mask; many politely demand or request the same from clientele. My Twofacebook feed hosts shaming and statistics messages against unvaccinated folks OR staunch personal freedom and risk messages in favor of never complying with vaccine regulations.

Unfortunately, I also see occasional posts about this person who has passed away or that person who is struggling in the hospital and could use prayers. Fortunately, I have yet to experience a close family member’s being sick with COVID.

I have had one coworker test positive. She was vaccinated. She described her experience as, “having a bad cold that went on and on;” she’d also lost her sense of taste and smell.

Still, Utah’s case numbers look good:

The biggest side effect of Sir ‘Rona is in this U.S. nation’s response and subsequent inflation and shortages.

Necessities like lumber and cement are quite expensive and often rationed out to contractors. McDonald’s was out of root beer for our Happy Meals last week. KFC said they were out of breasts. Shoppers keep exhausting our local Costco stores of toilet paper (again!!) and bottled water. When I applied to our mobile windshield repairman for a replacement, he said he couldn’t get a windshield for our minivan. When I applied to the body shop for a small repair on our pickup truck, they said we could come in mid-December.

Everywhere has Now Hiring signs for entry-level positions. I’ve read articles about supply ships gathered at ports without workers to unload or with strict regulations for the crews. No one seems to want these low-paying jobs, including positions like bus driver or trucker. Point fingers where you may, but current government ‘support’ seems to be contributing; in the words of Percy Blakeney of The Scarlet Pimpernel, “Sink me; if everyone isn’t so equal in your new society that no one wants to do the driving anymore.”

I’m grateful we have more on our side to combat this respiratory infection. I wonder when we’ll consider it finally absolved. After all, they’ve only just approved a childhood vaccine for malaria….

—–

©2021 Chel Owens

Laughter is the Best Way to Cause Concern

I’ve admitted to a quirkier sense of humor in the past. Still, I always assumed my observations of humor were mostly in-bounds. I’m marginally morbid. Hardly ever profane. Rarely inappropriate. Never crude.

Yet, one of my coworkers admitted to her reassuring the others on the interviewing panel that I was being funny. She understood, but wasn’t certain they did.

Clearly, since I’m now writing about this, I’m stupefied. Bemused. Disconcerted! How long have others not understood that I meant what I said to be taken lightly? How often does this happen?

Am I funny?

I find myself funny…

I guess I should’ve listened when my mother described my sense of humor as ‘strange.’ Or, when a few blogging friends admitted surprise at my ‘wit.’

*sigh*

Have you had this happen? What did you conclude? Have you started attending Amusers Anonymous meetings as a result?

Photo by Elle Hughes on Pexels.com

©2021 Chel Owens