The Ambiguity of Clarity (The Metaphysics of Taking Out the Garbage)

Metaphysics is a dark ocean without shores or lighthouse, strewn with many a philosophic wreck.  ~Immanuel Kant

“Let me be clear,” someone will say as they proceed to dole out specific instructions, demands, or an account regarding what happened, or what will happen.   Chances are, many of you will forget everything said after those first four words.

“Why didn’t you take out the trash?” I asked my husband as I toted the trash out to the bin for the ten hundredth time.   “I asked three times and you said you would,” I muttered resentfully.

After all I’m tired too!  I worked today, and have slightly more to do each morning than simply put my wallet in my back pocket and go. Did I feed the cats?  Are all the beds made?  Is the house cleaning itself as much as it can before I walk out, that is are the dishwasher and washer and dryer all going?  Did I check the back pack?  Is homework done?  Are notes from teachers replied to?  Is snack packed?  Did I write the lunch money check so my child won’t have vegetables only for the third day in a row?  Did I gather  all my necessary work supplies, cell phone (is it charged I pray?), IPODS, car charger cord?  Did I grab the grocery list of staples to cram in after work, but before my son gets off the bus?  And as I slam the locked door, and look down at my arms full of supplies, child, and breakfast on the run, I prayerfully beg God that once again, I made it out alive without forgetting the car keys and grateful I have an automatic shut off on my curling iron.

“I got a phone call.  Joey told me his next door neighbor is going to jail,” my husband says, as if this is a legitimate excuse for forgetting the trash.  What?  Joey who?  And this so called Joey’s next door neighbor has exactly WHAT to do with our lives?    “You know Joey–my brother’s friend,” he replies.  Then he’ll just stand there and tell me all about his brother’s friend’s neighbor’s sins as I have now moved on from re-bagging the trashcan to emptying the dishwasher, feeding the cats, and pulling out a can of whatever it is I deem is dinner worthy.

The story will drag on.  My husband will continue standing  there repeating the second-hand drama of someone I didn’t even know existed when my trash first started cascading over the brim.

I get it.  He’s tired.  He finds this story interesting.  But frankly, well, I care about it as much as he wants to read what I write, or hear about the lives of my friends, or best of all, talk “relationship” talk.  That hobby died many moons ago, probably our early thirties is my best guess.

The point is this.  I was so crystal clear.  I packaged my request in as few words as I possibly am capable of:  PLEASE TAKE OUT THE TRASH.  I tried to speak cohesively, coherently, and effectively:  DID YOU TAKE OUT THE TRASH YET?  And one final attempt, as I race upstairs to transfer another load of wet washed clothes to the dryer, before remotes are powered on, and brains check out, “YOU ARE GOING TO TAKE OUT THE TRASH ALREADY,  RIGHT?!?!”     Which part of my words were obscure or incomprehensible?

I race downstairs, after quickly folding a small basket of dry clothes, mentally choosing a dinner plan, eagerly hoping to get the family fed, kitchen cleaned, and spend a little quality time with our 6 year old son.   Then, hopefully if the planets of the universe line up exactly right, and all my chores are finished, maybe, just maybe, I can start on some writing before midnight.  One can hope, anyway.

In the grand scheme of marriage and of life, it’s not a big deal.  Deep down, I know this.  But on the surface of life, those repeating annoyances of everyday life, I’m sorry, but as Vice President Joe Biden would say, “it’s one BFD!” only for me, it’s not a blunder, but reality!  What is it about me I think that with pin point accuracy, often causes me to verbally hit the hubster’s aural blind spot?

Lest you think he’s a really terrible ogre, let me be clear; he’s not.  He’s worked over twenty five years, ten to twelve hour days bent over fixing cars so that our three kids were always able to do every sport, activity, group or team event they ever wanted to, send two of them to college, and every expense related to owning a home.  Now, nearing fifty, he goes to work enthusiastically each morning, knowing we still have at least a good twelve to sixteen years to go, counting college with our littlest one.  My husband took the brunt of the work load, so I could have the benefit of staying home when we could afford it, and working part time when we couldn’t.

In the department of selective hearing loss-impaired husbands, I take comfort in knowing I have a million moms as my sister wives.  I also know the problem is not me.    I state things clearly.  It’s just that men sometimes hear things ambiguously, another words, they hear things vaguely.  Their brain may process more than one interpretation.  Possibly, my husband thought I meant to take out the trash whenever he gets around to it, or one of these days, or just thought I was fleshing out an idea for a blog topic.

You see, marriage is built upon the foundation of The Uncertainty Principle.  Yes, it’s quantum physics, but trust me, you’ll clearly understand the dynamics here.  Basically, whenever the position of something is a known factor, it’s corresponding momentum becomes an unknown factor; and vice versa.  You see your spouse standing there.  You see the trash.  But will a movement occur here that will change the fundamental dynamics of your kitchen?  Or conversely, you see the trash can is now empty, but where in the world did my wife disappear to?

Yes, in marriage and in life, it’s about making our desires strategically clear.  Hopefully, there’s flexibility and forgiveness to see the big picture and enough faith to survive all that is ambiguous and uncertain from moments of inconvenience to disasters of epic proportions.  Clearly, you will have them, if you move or stand still long enough!

To teach how to live with uncertainty, yet without being paralyzed by hesitation, is perhaps the chief thing that philosophy can do.  ~Bertrand Russell

Related Reading:  Transcendental Algebra and The Uncertainty Principle:

Also I have read (it’s easy and fun!)and LOVE this very colorfully illustrated book:

The Principles Of Uncertainty

Does this Blog Make My Butt Look Big?

Brevity is the soul of wit—Shakespeare

When it comes to writing, I don’t worry about my head ever getting too big.  The same thing can’t be said for my butt, however.  See I have a problem.

My name is Liz.  I am a word addict.  Plain and simple, I just use to many of them.   So I woke up this morning determined to write a blog in 50,000 words or less.  Ready, go!

Often when I write, I go into information overload, and adjectives and adverbs of all sort seem to fall from the sky like raindrops, ripe for the picking, to spice up my entry.  Oh, did I mention similes and metaphors?

When I approach writing, I first try to write free flow and just let the thoughts flow where they may.  Several hours later, as my word count begins to approach three thousand, and my family is slowly wasting away from starvation downstairs, I realize it may be time to not only reach the core of my topic, but now quickly wrap up my  entry.

Writing can be like going on a long sailing trip.  You are blown by every breeze, and then all of a sudden, boom!  You hit a sandbar.  In the old days, this was the part where you ripped the paper out of your typewriter, cursed, and balled it up, and chunked it in the trash!  Now days, you simply delete it, or file it with slim to nil chances of ever retrieving it in the future.

Whether it’s word constipation,  or verbal diarrhea, I am learning writing, particularly the primarily (revision: almost always) unpaid job of writing in the blogosphere can still be exhilarating.  For one, you are getting loads of practice.   Secondly, you are not out in the world over-consuming, selfishly using up the world’s resources like fossil fuels, buying useless things you don’t even need,  or getting all stressed out over the state of the world.

However, you probably aren’t burning up a lot of calories with your fingers.  In fact, you may be consuming more than you burn, especially if write with a comfy plate of carbohydrate-laden pastries and a diet coke on standby near your mouse.

This finally leads me to my point.  You may not get famous.  You may not even get paid.  Your butt may get bigger in the process.  But somewhere in the process, you just may find the gentle stirrings of your soul, urging you on to pursue your writing dreams.

And now my fifteen minutes of writing time has expired.  Time to go to my day job.  Let’s hope I can fit into my pants!

Choreographed Driving (Confessions from an Octo-Mom)


I feel like I am diagonally parked in a parallel universe.  ~Author Unknown

     OK, so I’m not really the OctoMom, but I can sincerely appreciate her every minute of her every day getting all fourteen of her little ones up, fed, dressed, and ultimately driven to a destination.  Besides this isn’t about her; it’s about me.  I am still the busy mom of one busy six year old boy, as well as a proud mama of two adult kids.  However, now days when driving to school, activities, errands, and even day trips,  it’s usually just my son and me.  Sounds simple  you’re probably thinking–especially you busy moms of two, three, or a van full of kids, all in diapers and pull-ups, multiple activities, and probably a part-time or even full-time job for yourself.

Well, all I can say, is hold on a dog gone minute.  It’s not that simple.  First of all, let me be clear about one thing:  I don’t do Super Mom.  Since my home office desk is just too damn small (it would make Goldilocks cry), I had to outsource some of the required space I need to the passenger side of my mini-van.  This seat holds my paper work calendar and address book (in case my phone ever vanishes).  It’s also my coupon repository for assorted retail stores,  and  various restaurants which I frequent due to exhaustion from working  in a physical labor environment, and just being a mom over forty.

This seat also doubles as a tray table for fast food eaten on the run, water bottles, and sometimes fast food cups, because the two drink holders are taken up with the GPS thingy on the left  holder,  and the IPOD on the right.  The ashtray is where all change is stored– our family’s  entire “emergency fund.”  (I once cried happy tears when I remembered I even started this fund and found a whopping  seventy four cents!  Jumping Jackpots!  I had enough to get enough gas just to drive home and retrieve the forgotten pocketbook which contained the plastic-endowed wallet that could have bought the gas in the first place.)

Also found on my van’s  impressive instrument panel is a three foot long IPOD extension cord, which falls just inches short of reaching my son’s outstretched arms in his booster seat.  It connects to my aftermarket stereo jack,  since IPODs weren’t standard in 2001 vehicles. Therefore, I run interference between him, the stereo, and IPOD frequently.  Another cord from one cigarette lighter  powers my GPS, and the other cigarette lighter is designated for my Smart Phone’s charging cord.  I would probably be a more relaxed driver if I at least had the option of smoking, but clearly this will never be the case.  My tiny dash, that is all 12 cubic inches of space in front of my odometer and fuel gauge, serves as the jukebox repository for music CDs, my bank (where I put my paychecks) and our Accounts Payable system (where all our retail and grocery receipts go), as well as our personal post office—outgoing mail on the left, incoming on the right.

And this is why I have to participate in Choreographed Driving.  What is choreographed driving you ask?  Let me explain by way of example.  Yesterday, just my son and I decided to take a day trip to the beach.  Puh-leeze you are thinking.  Mom of one; how hard can that even be? ” Very!” would be my response.    You see, I have an over-thinking brain, which though it shames me only somewhat, sort of reflects my less-than-organized approach to life.   So when driving, yesterday to the beach for just one day, this is how it went down.

Thirty minutes of uninterrupted driving occur.  Then like clockwork, “Mom, I’m starving,”  my six year old informs me.   Fine, I’ll pull into Mickey D’s and grab a Happy Meal.  I move the collection of sand toys, shovels, and buckets behind me and extend my right arm an additional twelve inches to get my pocketbook which has now migrated southwest of my son’s seat.  Another words, it’s virtually in third row seating.

Fast food sack and drink is quickly distributed to the youthful back seat captain directly behind me.  I get back on the highway and I’m putting my debit card in my wallet as I drive.  My son then informs me he can’t put his Yogurt Parfait together without spilling it ALL OVER the back seat.  Sorry, but I value the character trait of enabling, way more than a van that reeks of sour yogurt-encrusted carpet.   No problem!  I contort my arm behind my seat, and grab all the disassembled parts of the fruit parfait, and carefully pull it back to the front while I assemble it.

Next, I glance at the GPS, to make sure we haven’t gotten back on the interstate in the wrong direction.  We’re fine.  Eureka!  Suddenly,  as I’m doing this, I get a moment of inspiration regarding five topics I wish to write about all  flooding my head at the same moment.  QUICK!   I reach up and grab a pen from my car’s visor and start scribbling on a pad of paper also kept on the passenger side, aka “the desk”,  for emergency thinking such as this.  I write in a language, nearly unbeknownst to even me, and I will spend painstaking hours later trying to translate it back to English.    No matter, the fruit parfait now has the correct proportion of nuts and accompanying desleeved spoon in it, and has been safely returned to my son.  He has his drink and mine is resting securely in the car’s third drink holder, that is to say it’s sitting snugly between my legs, causing serious thigh freezer burn!

My phone rings, but mysteriously  won’t “accept” the call.  DAMN IT!  What’s wrong with my phone?  I disassemble the protective case sans screwdrivers, and then the phone itself while trying not to destroy all of my fingernails, take out the battery, and wait the five minutes for it to reset.

“MOM!  The IPOD won’t go to such and such song.”   Fine, back goes my Go Go Gadget  arm for the fifteenth time this trip to retrieve the IPOD that my son was holding.  I find the White Stripes Ball and Biscuit song I assume he was trying to search for.  This is soon followed by the Bare Naked Ladies singing the Christmas song God Rest Ye Gentleman because my son is a DJ Mix Master Extraordinaire

       Long trips such as this are infused with an eclectic mix that trend heavy towards Christmas songs,  mixed with some White Stripes, Toby Mac,  Go-Tye,  a few U2 songs (mom’s music drug of choice) and preschool chorus songs that will almost make your ears bleed, peppered with the occasional Broadway musical songs, particularly Mama Mia!  Whatever happens mentally, you must not get attached to a song, because right when you get to the best part, or the chorus, he will most assuredly change it.  Much of our travel time is spent listening to the rotating click of the mouse wheel, as he tries to find a specific song. “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” could certainly be his theme, but unfortunately when traveling, it is a favored song I never get the benefit of listening to.

Please don’t lecture me on distracted driving because my eyeballs never lose sight of the road.  But my arms go everywhere.  They assemble and hand out toys, prepare meals and drinks, and fix electronic gadgets.   They find money, and sometimes small scraps of survival-worthy food or candy that gets lodged in cracks and crevices.  This chauffeur’s arms and hands untangle earphones, pull up Angry Birds on the phone for entertaining my son, write words of inspiration, hold drinks, and file credit cards.

These hands once spoke in sign language to a rude driver who was demanding I pull out into oncoming traffic and sacrifice my child just so they could GO.   Most importantly, these arms save our van’s entire system of organization during sudden stops.  Faster than the Bionic Woman, I can keep “the desk’s” ’  papers from sliding to the floor, the food and drinks from spilling, the contents of the dash from spilling and lodging up under the gas or brake pedals, which could ultimately result in a fiery crash of horrific proportions.

I may not be Supermom, but I am the original Octo-Mom!  I confess;  I multitask.  My two arms do the job of eight, hands down (and up, and all around, for that matter!)   I simultaneously can drive, eat, drink, and sing, taking momentary breaths to answer a hundred questions from an inquisitive kindergartner all which start with the word “Why”

I do all this while commandeering electronic gadgets and controls both on-board and external, and even take the occasional phone call.    The tasks are many; the miles pass quickly, yet safely.    I am an organized  symphonic medley of tasks, music, and wisdom as my son and I cruise the miles to get to the beach.    It may sound like a day of ADHD-like hell for you, but for us it’s just typical.

I’ve never gotten a DWD (Driving While Distracted) violation and I’ve never texted and drove (OK, maybe glanced down or hammered out a one word reply but ONLY at a stoplight).  So when you see a mini-van or SUV out there, and it’s pulling just a little bit to the left, most likely it’s not out of alignment.  If  it’s not weaving, they probably aren’t impaired, but it could just be another busy mom inside running Grand Central, while navigating the highway of life.  Say a prayer, and then pass quickly.

A suburban mother’s role is to deliver children obstetrically once, and by car forever after.  ~Peter De Vries

Hello World! CRASH! It’s Liz

That’s how I make my entrance sometimes.   I often arrive late, having driven somewhere way too fast, with unkempt appearance, and a mouth that doesn’t know the meaning of the word restraint.   I’ve been told lateness is a sign of arrogance, and a non-stop talker is self-centered, and lacks listening skills.  As for appearance, well, maybe I’m just disorganized.  Hmmm…maybe.    Or possibly, I woke up a few years ago with less desire to impress others, and more desire to just be, well…!

If I met you right now at one of those corporate events where everyone wears a red and white tag “HELLO My name is__________”, mine would say Liz, written in Curlz font, courteousy of Sharpie pens, one of the best inventions on planet earth, but I digress.  But there really should be an asterisk beside my name with a disclaimer at the bottom of the tag in fine print that states “Warning:  Wordy Woman Approaching.  Proceed at Your Own Risk!”

Within five minutes you and I will have exchanged our professional resume-in-a-nutshell (The Elevator Speech), our children’s names and gravity-defying accomplishments which we both will simultaneously obliterate from our brain upon hearing, and current political and weather news.  Next  I’m likely to throw a scripture verse your way, hurl a quote, or  say something ridiculous trying to amuse, impress, or inspire you–perhaps out of nervousness, or just my usual habit of trying to fill in the gaps of silences, which will prompt you to laugh, but at what exactly you’ll think?  Most likely, without your consent, or possibly even your awareness, I’ll be in overdrive trying to find that thing which connects us.  Sorry; it’s just how I’m wired.

We’ll take our seats.  The speaker will begin speaking and I will begin the arduous task of doodling (Yay-more Sharpie time!) while alternately taking notes, all while fits of inspiration collide in my head with moments of boredom, and just plain old distractions.   I’ll be thinking about you a little bit, grateful to have made a new friend, though most likely our paths will never cross again, unless you Facebook.  WAIT!  Do you do Facebook too?   In that case, I’m sure we’ll be best buds for at least a week.  Maybe more if you put effort into it and I haven’t made plans to run a marathon, plan a trip to Kenya, finally learn to play guitar, etc.

You, upon taking your seat, on the other hand will most likely be thinking Okay, that was interesting.  I’m not sure I necessarily agree with that.  That chick really has a lot to say.    You will sit down in your confusion wondering what just happened here.

Not to worry, it’s just me, Liz.  Living life in one dimension and commenting on it as it happens in 3D, emphasis on D for Depth!    In fact, Google “Through the Worm Hole” and you’ll realize there are quite possibly more than three dimensions.  If you are brave enough to continue our conversation, possibly friendship, together we may solve at least a few of the world’s problems.

Welcome to Liz Logic.  Excuse me, but did you happen to see where I put my Sharpie?