My confession: I love Lent. Everyone loves Mardi Gras, but not as many participate in Lent, which makes it Ours. Lent makes Easter so sweet.
I am giving up wine and sweets for this Lenten season as I have in the past. However, about 9 years ago, I gave up television for Lent. It was . . . interesting. At the end of a very long 40 days, I wrote the following to my friends and family. Who were probably as tired of me as I was tired of me:
I gave up t.v. for Lent, thinking that it would free up my time, giving me plenty of opportunity to spend some quality time with Myself, time to ponder the real issues of life, undistracted by such questions as: Why does Courtney Cox look like a concentration camp victim? Does Jennifer Anniston know that her boyfriend Brad Pitt isn't going to marry her? (If a man hasn't married you after two years of dating, he just ain't gonna - that's a Kim Payne Rule before there were Rules.) [Note: okay, I was wrong on that one, but they divorced 5 years later, so my rule still stands.]
As a result of seven weeks of Quality Time With Myself, I have discovered that I am thoroughly weary of Myself. I irritate Myself. My tendency for procrastination has made me homicidal, but since I want to kill Myself, that would technically be suicide. I've known for months that I had a doctor's appointment in April, but I couldn't remember precisely which day I was scheduled to meet with the good doctor. All Myself had to do was look at the little appointment card in my wallet to answer this question. Myself couldn't quiet manage it, for nearly three months. I finally made Myself yesterday evening and discovered the appointment was yesterday morning at nine a.m.
In addition, I am constitutionally unable to complete an expense report within a month of a trip. I don't know why Myself has a problem with this. It is as if Myself can't fill out a report until I have lost the receipts and forgotten how much the cab cost. I know co-workers that fill out their expense report the first morning they return from a trip, but these must be the same schoolmates who always had their Monday homework done by Friday supper.
Other observations about Myself: the shopping, the cooking, the errands, all these life chores I do manage do, I act as if there is a race in progress and the first one done wins. I don't know why Myself is in such a hurry. My sole goal at 5:40 p.m. is to get in and out of the Food Lion in the fastest, most efficient manner possible. Why? What does Myself have to do from 6:21 p.m. until bedtime that requires such pressure for speed and the shortest line available?
I've discovered that Myself should write a book entitled, "The Obsessive-Compulsive's Guide to Cleaning House." Not that Myself actually suffers from OCD, the Prozac has helped enormously, thank you very much. Take for example cleaning the toilet, a fairly straight-forward five minute job. This is how Myself and I manage it in only four hours and 18 minutes:
1. Clean toilet bowl with Clorox and brush.
2. Decide that one reason the bowl appears dirty is because the rubber gaskets and valves in the tank are old and black sooty stuff is seeping into the bowl.
3. Decide to replace all the rubber stuff in tank. Go to hardware store. Decide to replace all other parts in the tank while I'm at it: the ball-cock, the flush value, even the floating ball.
4. Proceed back home, replacing everything. Stop to clean floor where black, sooty water has dripped while I had the tank on the floor, trying to get the spud nut off the flush valve. Wash tank out with Clorox before I reattach to bowl.
5. Put blue dye in tank to make sure water isn't leaking into the bowl. When I discover that it is, flush and flush until blue water disappears and then take tank off again and tighten spud nut.
6. Give up and ask ex-boyfriend to come over and tighten spud nut.
7. Replace tank. Scrub bowl again. Scrub toilet seat, the tank, the floors and walls.
8. Decide that hinges of toilet seat might harbor secret filth. Take toilet seat off with screw driver and spray hinges with 409 and wipe with paper towels.
9. Decide this isn't good enough and run hot water over hinges. Dry with hand towel. Decide the towel isn't getting into the crevices and dry again with paper towels.
10. Spray toilet where hinges attach with 409 and wipe down. Replace toilet seat. Wipe seat down again with 409.
11. Watch the cat drink out of the toilet.
I won't even describe how Myself cleans the tub. I found Myself on Saturday spraying the washing machine with 409, cleaning the little compartment where you add the bleach. I'm wearing Myself out with all this, but I don't have Matthew Perry to stop me.
I've discovered that just a few weeks short of thirty-six I have lines (I can't even bring myself to say "wrinkles"); I have LINES underneath my eyes that weren't there even six months ago. They are even more pronouced when I smile or laugh, which explains why most old maids were always mirthless.
I've discovered that I am officially an old maid; I'm a cat person, though I like dogs; my esteem for small children ranks significantly lower than my regard for dogs. I've decided that small children are creatures only a mother could love and while if I had one, I'd probably love it, but I'm not going to test the Lord.
I've discovered that Myself and I haven't written a novel or even a short story because we lack the talent and skill to conceive and further a plot, plus I don't really have much to say since I spent one Friday night with the vacuum in the dryer hose trying to suck out the lint that I just KNEW must be in there, secretly impeding the drying process.
I've discovered that Myself and I still have no clue as to the big issues of life, like 1) what does it all mean? 2) how do you achieve spiritual growth? and 3) what's my [our] purpose in life? I believe I'm at a crossroads; perhaps if I continue on with being with Myself, I will reach enlightenment at the end of this long, frustrating road. On the other hand, Easter has arrived and "Friends" has a new episode on Thursday night and Jennifer Anniston starts dating Bruce Willis on it (does Brad P. know?) and I'm thinking that a little less time with Myself just might be what allows me to continue to like Myself because, as they say, familarity breeds contempt. And I'll forget about the caulking that really needs to be done around the tub and sink I want replaced and cypress mulch I want in the flower beds. It's time Myself and I broke up.
Okay, a couple of things: I'd like to think that I've grown spiritually since the above was written, but I guess I don't need to point out that this Lent, I'm giving up wine and sweets, but not television. I would also like to say that the above was written before I started sewing so my OCD housecleaning has now turned into "no housecleaning" or as "little housecleaning as I can get away with". Sewing helps a multitude of sins. And spawns some others. And finally, I'd like to think that my position regarding kids has softened considerably. But again, I'm thinking there is no need to test any of these beliefs: I will stick with the no wine rule this Lent!
Happy Lent, everyone!