Tracker Hackers

Adult chore charts
Reading logs gone wild
Oh brain,
why can't you learn to 
bend a little?

If I fill every box
every day
does that mean I'm 

If I skip a week,
does that mean I'm dead?

It means 
I'm too
flat out gave up
for a bit,
went on 

Too rigid?
I like to see 
the ebb and flow
of life
on paper
[I must] take care
not to become
over dependent on them,
after all,
am I focusing on
checking off little boxes
or on the better, 
bigger things 
around me?

They're a shot 
in my arm,
for (hopefully) doing 
the right things
that are hard to do
so I can be better
at the ones 
that matter

They're a heartbeat 
of sorts
proof that I'm doing my
best at life

I've seen interesting ones:
meatless Mondays
no sugar
no booze
daily journaling
no spending
screen time (usually less)
social media posts (usually more)

Mine remain steady, 
seems I can't build those [good]

I've tried giving up
tracking everything
becoming robotic
in spewing out 
my own 
my internal 
can't seem 
to compute
making me feel 
like a failure 
at times

I still go back to them
I can create habits
for behaviors
I need to change
adding challenges
my own volition

(like writing 
for 31 days

Valentine Timeline

Sticky shoeboxes covered with construction paper
long slot cut through the top
where little envelopes drop
one for every classmate
wiggly heart shaped Jell-O
Cindy's mom brought to the class party
shiny gold boxes wrapped in red cellophane 
holding chocolates
the popular girls got 
from their little 

Outgrown class parties
replaced with
little messages delivered between
are any of those for me?
they're all for those girls
a pile of them
I wonder what they say
They sigh as if annoyed,
but we all know
they like attention
"I have so many!"
Oh, shut up
but secretly,
I wish they were mine

First boyfriend
and my first
"real" Valentine's Day gift
a thin gold bracelet
with a heart slipped through the chain
I never wanted to take it off
until that one day
several months later
where it made its way 
to the back of my jewelry box
do I dare wear it again?

Galentine's Day before it became a word
ditch the study sesh
none of us have boyfriends 
so why not go to dinner together?
No tables available at the one 
cafe, of course not, 
couples got first dibs
because people plan for these things
we drive around, 
it's late now,
and we find a little Italian restaurant
where I taste fried calamari 
for the first time
order our entrees
and realize we don't 
mind being single

A rainy weekend
greets the rare Saturday
Valentine's Day
No plans made, 
but we have each other
Where do we go to dinner?
Everything is booked
Let's just go to our regular place
My gift is first
should be perfect,
it's something he enjoys
then I open the card
and he hands me a small box
okay, I say
and there it is,
the ring I had been eyeing
I say yes
he slips it on,
call my mom
and we head out 
to dinner, nothing fancy
but I can't stop staring 
at glittery possibilities
of forever

More valentines
cute pencils with fun erasers,
stickers, snacks, a book for each one
goodie bag assembly line
load my car and brace myself
for my first classroom party
on the other side
every student gets something
it isn't fun being left out
even if it's from the teacher
chocolate candy
and cute little notes pile up
on my desk
sugar comas 
(I'm glad I'm not the parent!)
chocolate fountain and goodies
from PTA in the staff lounge
and bonus points for the one
who brought a small
bottle of Champagne 
flavored jelly beans

Craft stick picture frames
with my little 
cherubs inside them,
trimmed with sparkly hearts
googly eyes, and glitter
whipped cream topped pancake 
with berries and hot cocoa
fluffy stuffed animals
heart covered pajamas
bedtime stories
"I lovey dovey you!"

Gift bags with snacks
because they're always hungry
can't go wrong with candy
lemonade for one,
a root beer for the other
decide against deodorant 
and find a silly squishy plush toy
because they still like getting them
"Oh, by the way, can I get
something for my friends?"
It's 9:30 p.m.
the day before VDay
No, just no.
We should be getting ready for bed
"I'll ask Dad!"
You won't

Wrestle with insomnia
get up and find my seasonal
place them on the table,
one of those shiny gold heart 
shaped boxes wrapped in red cellophane
for hubster
and a green squishy love bug plushie
flanked with a red Ring Pop and a tube
of mini-M&Ms
she skips down the stairs as if on cue
the minute I put everything down
she picks up the love bug 
twirling it in a dance
and sings her happy theme song
"You're going to school with me today!"

At work the office calls
I have a delivery
For me?
a bouquet of flowers
unexpected and appreciated
homemade dinner 
text message exchange with 
my oldest
who stopped by to visit on Sunday
I pour myself a glass of cheap Champagne
fill the sink with dishwater
and toast 
all of the ways people love me

Tuesday, February 14, 2023

Excuses, Excuses

I don’t like getting those notices from my kid’s school about her not showing up to class. Must’ve missed the bus. Again. Sometimes it’s a mistake so I have to make a call or send an email to get it cleared up. Not my favorite thing to do.

I got another call yesterday, but it was expected. Well check appointment in the morning to affect first and second period attendance, orthodontist appointment during the last two periods of the day. I took care of the morning and hubster took care of the afternoon.

It was a long appointment. No time for breakfast so I promised to swing by Chick-fil-A on the way to drop her off at school. We got into the car, buckled in and were ready to go. Except for one thing. Despite the other piles of well-check advice sheets, I forgot to request a doctor’s note to submit to the attendance office. I blamed the blood work that was ordered and a death grip on my arm as the distraction.

Back into the office I go. Of course, I had to wait, but it wasn’t as long as I expected. With the proof of skipping school in hand, I exited the building. Taking a deep breath, I realized I could remove my mask again. As I pulled off one side of the mask, a wind gust snapped that paper right out of my hand. It went up and up and up, swirled a bit and kept climbing. I hoped it might get caught on a car’s tire or in a hedge or something.

Nope, it kept flying, like a paper airplane with a jet engine. It got caught high in a tree, flapping wildly like a mean little kid sticking out his tongue, waving his fingers on either side of his head singing “Nanny-nanny-boo-boo, you can’t catch me!”

And I didn’t. Never mind. I know she wasn’t skipping.

Tuesday, February 7, 2023