I Resolve

Resolve and I.

When the pandemic first reared its ugly head, I made an executive decision: for 2021, I would not make New Year’s resolutions. As I saw it, coping with Covid required more than enough resolve, thank you very much. I didn’t need the added stress of resolving to do a bunch of other things just because it was January 1.

I held this same mindset as we slipped into 2022.

But then, a few days ago, I had a change of heart. This disease has taken a lot from each and every one of us and, dagnabbit, it wasn’t gonna take away my resolutions, too!  

I like making New Year’s resolutions. It gives me an opportunity to reflect on my thoughts and habits, my successes and failures, and my hopes and dreams. Resolutions are a commitment to myself to become a better person. I like myself when I make them.

I don’t feel so crazy about myself when I fail to keep them, however.

So to celebrate my return to resolving things, I’ve decided to make my resolutions public to keep myself on task for the coming year.

My Resolutions For 2022

I RESOLVE to no longer ignore people who wear their masks improperly. In fact, I resolve to make my new catchphrase, “It goes over the nose, too, jerkass!” (Isn’t “jerkass” a wonderful word? It was invented by my dearly departed and unapologetically profane grandma. So when I “jerkass” someone, I will be slowing the spread of Covid and honoring the old gal’s memory.)

I RESOLVE to iron on a regular basis—provided I am unable to cajole, trick, persuade, threaten, or beg Ellen to iron instead. In other words, I’m ironing on a regular basis as Ellen is surprisingly resilient to these tactics.

I RESOLVE to no longer offer cold cereal for dinner as if it’s a special treat. I also resolve to remember that calling this meal a “Cereal Party” does not disguise the fact that I’m too lazy to cook.

I RESOLVE to nod and smile when Alex begins to monologue about Dungeons and Dragons, and do so convincingly enough whereby he’ll assume I know what he’s talking about.    

I RESOLVE to write a middle grade novel with the title Pool Noodle, because, dangit, that’s a good title.

I RESOLVE to begin preparations for a 2024 bid for president. I’m running on the Perhaps-We-Should-Reconsider-Secession-Because-What-We-Have-Now-Sure-Isn’t-Working ticket. If elected, I’ll be flexible as to how the country could be cut in two, as long as Florida ends up in the country where I’m not. Florida knows what it did.

I RESOLVE to meet, cuddle, and befriend a capybara. A capybara, for those who don’t know (and shame on you!), is the world’s largest rodent. They look exactly like 100-pound guinea pigs, are semi-aquatic, and are famous for their innate ability to chillax. Full Disclosure: I actually had this item on my 2015 Bucket List, but failed to get it done. I can’t let it slide this year, however, for I have written a picture book about capybaras that will hit bookstores in the fall. It just seems wrong to write about a capybara without being friends with one.

Aww! Ain’t she cute?

And last but not least, I RESOLVE to come up with an effective and meaningful conclusion to this blog post. Eventually.  

Did you come up with resolutions this year? If so, let me know in the comments! And if not, tell me why not! In short, let’s chat!

Iron Man

My mom always considered ironing to be a kind of hobby, something that helped her to relax, something that made her happy.

Ironing leads to happiness? It’s a difficult concept to wrap one’s brain around – until I tell you that my mom is German. If Mom’s side of the family taught me anything, it’s that Germans don’t know how to stop working. Instead they find ways to combine work with leisure.

Mom would set up her ironing board in the kitchen. The kitchen in our house adjoined the family room, the location of the house’s only color TV. While she waited for the iron to begin angrily sputtering steam (and that iron could spit with the ferocity of a pit viper) Mom would slam Psycho into the VCR. Then, for the next hour and a half, she would make pants creases so sharp and starchy that Norman Bates could’ve used them to slice open Marion Crane.

Mom loved cans of spray starch and used them with gusto. While it made our shirts, pants and hankies crisp, clean and perfect, her liberal starch application meant that some spray mist ended up on the kitchen’s linoleum floor. This created a permanent slick spot that would send passersby skidding into the dishwasher.

I was usually that passerby. The bruises on my knees and ankles didn’t entirely heal until I moved out.

This is why I hate ironing, I think; it’s just too easy for me to associate it with leg injuries and serial killers.

This is a problem, for I am a fully-fledged house husband. I am the designated iron-er.

I try to avoid it when I can. When I glance into the clothes drier and discover a garment that is sort of wrinkled, I hear myself say, “It’s not that wrinkled.”

I then fold it up and put it in a drawer.

On the rare occasion I find a garment too wrinkled for me to say, “it’s not that wrinkled,” I hear myself say, “I’m gonna donate this shirt to a homeless person!”

This strategy works just fine for my clothes. When the wrinkled garment in question is Ellen’s, however, things get more complicated.

Ellen’s eyesight is bad, so bad that without her glasses she is almost legally blind. Yet, by some horrible miracle, she can spot a clothes wrinkle at 30 paces. I don’t know how she does this, but I’d wish she’d stop. I also wish she’d start wearing more cotton. That stuff never needs ironing – and on the rare occasion it does – zip zip zip – I can touch it up before a Psycho VCR tape makes it past the FBI warning.

But Ellen dresses professionally. Well-dressed professionals do not wear cotton. They wear weird fabrics that are created in laboratories by brilliant, sadistic Germans who dedicate their lives to creating new and exciting ironing challenges; something that’s delicate, shiny, ruffled, layered, pleated and susceptible scorch marks; something that can miraculously manufacture new wrinkles while you’re ironing out old ones.

Despite these hardships, I give ironing my best effort. I am a house husband. Ironing is my job. And, when I can’t avoid it, I take that job seriously.

One day last week as Ellen stumbled though our front door hunched under the weight of her take-home work, she found me waiting for her in the foyer.

“I ironed your ruffled blouse thing!” I announced. I held the blouse up for inspection and awaited kudos.

Ellen squinted for a moment.

Ellen does not have what one might describe as a poker face. At any given moment I can tell what she is thinking. In that particular moment she was thinking, “Oh, that’s sucky.”

She didn’t say that, of course, because my wife makes an effort to be thoughtful. Instead she said, “It’s good, but I think I need to touch it up a little.”

I was aggrieved by the suggestion. I had set up the ironing board in the family room and labored over that stupid, shiny, ruffle-y, wrinkly blouse half the morning. I invested way too much time and effort and starch on this stupid thing. And now Ellen was going to tell me that she’d “touch it up?” Oh, I don’t think so.

Besides, I knew Ellen wouldn’t touch it up. She’d be too busy to touch it up. For weeks and weeks that awful blouse would sit by its lonesome in the ironing basket. Every day it would mock me and remind me of my ironing failure.

So, to save face, I said, “No, I’ll take care if it.”

“I think it looks good,” she lied. “I can just touch it…”

“I’ll take care of it,” I said again.

“It’s really no tr–”

“I. Will. Take care of it.”

Sensing that the German part of my heritage was flooding my brain, Ellen let the matter drop.

And I am pleased to report that, after many trials and tribulations, I finally did get that awful blouse perfectly ironed.

It was quite simple really.

I invited my mom over, revved up the DVD player, rented Psycho from the library, uncapped the starch can, and resolved to live the rest of my life with black and blue ankles.

More Resolved Solved!

Resolutions be tricky.
Resolutions be tricky.

At the start of 2015, I posted six resolutions that I planned to accomplish over the coming year. By the first week of February, I had nailed two of them:

Resolved: I will do something bold, yet well-planned.

Resolved: I will get rid of my golf ball collection in a manner that is – at the very least – mildly amusing.

Needless to say, I was feeling rather good about myself. In fact, I was smug. “Ha ha!” I chuckled. “I have 11 months to accomplish four more measly resolutions. Easy-peasy lemon squeezy!”

The  remaining resolutions didn’t seem all that tricky, either:

Resolved: I shall neither form opinions nor comment on the opinions of others until I have finished at least one big mug of morning coffee.

Resolved: I will meet more blog buddies in person.

Resolved: I will become a Laundry Master.

Resolved: I shall write early and often.

But, then, resolution-wise, I kind of hit a wall. February became March and March became April. During that time I was unable to put anything in the done pile.

That is, until last week. My lovely wife, Ellen, with great ceremony, presented me with the following two documents (suitable for framing).

Woo! (Click to see larger.)

Double woo! (Click to see larger.)
Double woo! (Click to see larger.)

Thank you, my love! I am honored and touched. And I can now see the light at the end of the resolution tunnel.