first things first

adult, growing up, life, procrastinate, responsibility

Growing up

Thanks to my parents, I was taught to do first things first.  Which means that on Saturday the first thing I do when I get up is make my bed and get dressed.  I've been groomed to get the chores done early.  The faster the chores get done, the faster I get to play.


The problem with this is I'm a procrastinator.  I leave term papers to be started, proofed, and finished until the last minute.  I leave dishes in the sink until it overflows.  I *think* I still need to change my address at the DMV.

I should check on that.

I'm sure there's some collegiate study from somewhere that says we are all some type of procrastinator.  Right?

I leave the clean clothes piled on the bed, while I do absolutely nothing all day, until 15 minutes before I crawl under the sheets all zombie-like.  Then I bust a groovy move on those clean undies and all of the sudden I feel good about my day.  

As I'm sure so many say, I just do better under pressure.  A long list + a short deadline = a productive little me.  The things that need to get done?  They get done when they get done.  Deal.

I'm now an adult (as the computer viruses, car registration, and tuition + fees have so kindly reminded me) and I don't always do the first things first.  And who can blame me?  That's just not very fun.

The problem is there is no other adult to defer to.  I am the adult.  While I'd rather be fishing, reading, laying in the sun, or hopscotching down the lane, I have to think about things because there is no one else to think about them.  

 So while I'm dreaming about my sunny vacation coming up where I get to lay on the beach and not move unless I want to (or have to pee) I am first concentrating on getting the rent paid.  And if I save up those few extra dollars while I'm at it, vacation will be that much more enjoyable.

See?  I'm so grown up.

the house that built me

Boron, California, childhood, goodbye, growing up, home, Joshua Trees, life, memories, memory

Joshua TreesMy parents recently sold the house I grew up in.  Not just me, but all 6 of us were raised in the same house.  We all spread our wings and left the small town.  Always to come back and visit, to regroup, to find our center, to come back home.

Now that house belongs to someone else.  Another person’s kids will slip candy into the bedroom through the slit in the screen.  Someone else’s daughter will steal her brother’s hot wheels and bury them in the dirt under the swing.  Some other dad will buy his daughters too-short skirt from her and use it as pipe insulation.


A different family will sit around the kitchen table and talk and laugh for hours.  They might even throw dinner rolls across the table that accidentally land in a glass of milk.  Another little girl will play poor people at the bottom of the stairs with her bestie and taste the honeysuckles that grow over the neighbor’s fence.  Another girl’s dad will make waffles on Saturday morning for her and her little sleepover friends.


Someone else will watch the big cottonwood trees fall over when the wind blows.  And be frustrated with the chimney that doesn’t draw right.  And deal with the birds that fall into said chimney and end up fluttering frantically producing a sound very similar to nails on a chalkboard. Another little girl will build mud pies and another teenage boy will dig holes the size of swimming pools.  Someone else’s mom will step on an inch-long sticker from the blasted sticker tree.

IMG_0066Part of me wants to give the new family a tour of the house.  Y’know, show them how to treat it properly.  Like using the garage door instead of the sliding glass door.  And that they can’t take down the paneling in the front room because it’s real wood.  And when the water gathers into puddles on the patio it gets slippery.  My butt remembers the pain.

I want to tell them it’s little secrets.  Like the tongue-sticking-out-face on the plywood from the strike in the 70’s that was used to build the garage roof.  And if you look at the base of the first pillar of the patio you’ll see the year it was finished.  And somewhere under the stairs to the master bedroom is a jar of things important to small children.

IMG_0073The fact that it’s no longer my house makes me sad.  There are plenty of special people to visit in that small town, I can always go back.  But I won’t be going back to my house.  To sleep in my room.  In my bed.  Because it isn’t mine anymore.


No more running to the end of the street to wave at the departing visitors passing on the freeway.

This becomes less about the house itself, and more about the memories of the home. It was someone else’s house before it was ours, and now it moves on for another family to make it a home. And while I’d like to go back home one more time to smell the first time the swamp cooler turns on and see the sunset after the August thunderstorms and feel the pine needles poke my toes and eat one more meal around the table, the house is just a house.  It became our home because we were there, and home is wherever we are. Because a house is just a house.

Goodbye house.  We’ll miss you.