A Short Story for Sunday

Monsters

Monsters are everywhere. Some are large and some are small. Some are mischievous and some are evil. Some monsters are tangible and some are not. Monsters can have great strength and tremendous power. But monsters can only do great damage if we let them. This is a short tale of a woman with a monster of her own. Below is one of her journal entries of her monster.

I am so tired of being in limbo. When will the monster free me? No matter what my head decides to do my heart sometimes is the stronger of the two. I have always thought of myself as pragmatic, but the monster, “Indecision”, won’t release its’ grip totally. I have moments when the monster is sleeping that I can accomplish many things in moving on, looking to the future. Then Indecision arises and I’m back where I started. Hoping and waiting for the impossible to happen.

I travel through the maze of my mind turning left then right trying to find the open door to the promise of the future. One turn looks promising and I can see the future through the veils of Indecision as he teases me by alternately lifting and lowering them. Asking me how much am I willing to give up to be able to move on? What is the right choice?

Sometimes the first step is the hardest. Indecision mires my way with leaden shoes and steep hills to climb with the faint glow of hope just out of reach. Indecision knows that until I quit asking the same questions over and over, he still has the sharp talons of fear deeply imbedded in my back. Talons tugging at my heart, never quite letting go. Indecision teases me by giving me moments of great inner strength and just when I think I can break my bonds and cross through the portal, he slams the door in my face.

I ask why, “Why can’t you let me go?” I rant and rave.

Indecision calmly answers, “You’re not ready to meet the promise of the future.”

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Time to Exhale

Now the panic sets in. So much to do, so little time. Isn’t that always the case? We found out in January that the airline Mitch works for was going to start vendoring out twenty eight stations across the country. At that time it wasn’t defined yet whether or not United was going to vendor out both the above the wing and the below the wing employees in all twenty eight stations. The plan was to seek outside company bids in each of the cities affected and pay people to come in, load and unload planes, work the ticket counter and gate for wages ranging from a third less to half of what the airline employees are currently making. Such “good” news right after Christmas was definitely not well received.

My first instinct at hearing the news was to go into survival mode, cancel the paper, cancel cable, sell almost everything we own and eat only every other day. After a couple of days I calmed down enough to realize that I might be over reacting just a bit, we could probably eat most every day. The waiting game started, which stations were for sure going to be vendored out, and was it going to be both upstairs and down or just one side? Rumors started flying, so we didn’t know what was true and what wasn’t. Were the employees affected going to get any type of severance pay or was it going to be “Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on your way out.”

Word came out in February that our station was going to be one of the twenty eight stations hit and it was going to be the ramp agents going away. The next step was the options selections. The airline was going to open up the unaffected stations to allow agents to transfer to granted they held enough seniority to move there. There was also the option to retire and take an enhanced severance pay, if the agent met a myriad of requirements, age, length of service, etc. If none of the above fit then there was always furlough with recall rights. Yeah right, first they’re told to hit the road and then they might get called back.

Finally April 10th the airline published the list of cities that were available for the agents to bid on to relocate to if that was their choice or severance or furlough. Those choices were required to be turned back in no later than April 14th. Then the airline promised to return the result of each agent’s choice on April 24th. We actually received our notice on Thursday the 23rd that Mitch will go to Seattle. He has to report on May 17th, not much time.

That was when I started “The Mitch List”, all the projects that I cannot physically do, like finish the trim work, hang the last pieces of sheetrock in the kitchen, install three sheets of plywood on the outside of the garage so I can have it sided to match the house. Then it’s all up to me to do the finish work in and around the house so I can get it on the market and sold soon.

Can you imagine what lies ahead? There is so much stuff to go through and get rid of, landscaping, and just the prettying up so it will look nice for potential buyers. I’m just really glad I have a well-stocked wine rack, because I’m going to need it.

The Whole Day – Kaput!

I had planned my whole day Easter Sunday, from the time I dropped Mitch off at work to dinner. I was going to take the dogs hiking just after sunrise, yard work in the afternoon and for dinner; I was going to grill a rack of lamb. I had been looking forward to my early morning hike all weekend. The weather forecast for Sunday was perfect, sunny, lows in the morning high forties with a high in the sixties. Perfect for an early morning hike, not too hot or too cold. Well as usual things didn’t go as planned.

I dropped Mitch off at work and drove home, pulling into the driveway. I got out of the car, let Orso out, he always rides along, headed to the house to get ready to go hiking. That’s when everything went horribly wrong. I’m not really sure exactly how it happened, but I know how it ended up.

Our house sits on the side of a hill with the garage above the house and concrete steps down to the house. There are two concrete retaining walls lining the steps growing taller as you walk down to the house. The two retaining walls end up about four and half feet high at the base with a three foot concrete walk from the door to the side of the house and winds around to the front of the house.

Orso was standing on the landing at the top of the steps waiting for me. I took a couple of steps toward him and for some reason I was going to bump a solar light that had a dragonfly on the top, one of those that turn different colors in the dark. Very pretty, super cheap, only cost me $3.97, also very fragile. I bought one a year ago and bumped one of the wings with a shovel and broke it right off. I knew that if I hit the light, I would probably break it, so I did the only logical thing I could do under the circumstances, I stepped around it. As I stepped around the solar light, I saw that my foot was going right for the Autumn Joy Sedum planted along the edge of the landing. I couldn’t step on the Sedum, that wouldn’t do at all, so I planted my right foot past it in the dirt below the Sedum and the solar light, completely throwing my whole body off balance. I tried to right myself with my left foot by stepping wide left and down two steps, bad idea.

That threw my balance and momentum to the left and since I was heading down at the same time, gravity and physics took over. I stepped down missing the next step hitting the step below it with my right foot and gaining speed scraped two fingers on my left hand on the top edge of the retaining wall, leaving skin behind. I twisted to the right a bit and swung my left foot forward still hoping for a recovery missed the next step and whacked my right forearm on the retaining wall. That’s when I spun around as I hit the bottom of the steps and slammed into the side of the house with my back.

I sat there at the base of the steps up against the house, trying really hard not to cry, assessing the damage. My right arm felt like it was on fire, I was pretty sure I was bleeding and hoped I hadn’t broken it. I drew in a couple of breaths to check for broken ribs. I didn’t think I had broken any but wasn’t sure if I had cracked or separated any. I moved around a bit to make sure I hadn’t broken anything else, like my back or hip. At least I didn’t hit my head this time.

I looked up at Orso who was still standing at the top of the landing watching me, not moving. He wanted no part of the carnage below. I called him down so that he could see I wasn’t dead. I very slowly twisted around and got up to a standing position quite surprised that I was still holding my keys. I went in the house to inspect the damage to my body.

Surprisingly, there was no blood, I was so sure that there would be bleeding and gushing wounds, but no just a big honkin bruise that was already forming on my forearm. I decided that I hadn’t broken any bones in my arm or any ribs, I just hurt like hell. Any movement was iffy and painful; there went the plans for the day. No hiking, no yard work, no fun.

On the bright side I saved the $3.97 dragonfly solar light.