Wednesday, August 13, 2014

This problem gets solved

       It could be that summer is coming to an end sooner than later, and my brain is overheated. I’ll use that as my excuse.
      My column deadline is getting closer and closer, and I can’t settle on any topic to write about that is fresh and exciting.
     If you are a regular reader, you know that I keep a stockpile for this very reason giving me the freedom to go on about life worry free. (Insert laugh here.)
     I read over every potential column and not a one is right for this week. Although you might beg to differ, I don’t want to take it out on you, reader.
     There is absolutely no sympathy from my husband when I whine about my dilemma. Back to my office.
     Considering that nasty weather has poured buckets of rain these past couple weeks, I am obliged to write a thoughtful column — not too cheery, but appropriate.
     You can’t make light of road washouts and rising creeks that are not far from your own house. Frankly, the thought of wet basements for tons of friends in the area humbles me, not to mention the foundation of one older home weakened so badly that the place must be torn down. The organic farmer down the road is attempting to replant his fields once again betting on a string of decent days for a late crop. 
     I’ve been there and done that with flooded basements, and not only is it time consuming and costly, there is the emotional impact, too. Nowadays I appreciate living on the top of a hill.
     Join me in giving a shout out to our volunteer fire departments and their willingness to pump out basements twenty-four seven.
    Let’s not forget our utility workers and our highway crews who do their share keeping us safe.
     The trusty sump pump is essential for living through storms. You listen day and night for it to kick in. And the backup pump to the regular one is another prudent measure for peace of mind. Once my daughter’s pet hamster escaped from his cage and drowned in the sump pump. It was on a clear day, though. Explain that one to a preschooler.
     Originally, I started writing a column about coincidences. I thought it could be a conversation starter. It’s a common occurrence. You know what I mean exactly. If you go on a trip, or move from home, it is guaranteed that you meet someone that lives near you, or has a relative close by.
     I actually look forward to discovering what new person will come my way and how we are connected. Or I take a trip down memory lane and a person from the past appears. It’s fun if you are not running away from anything, and want to let things go.
     I’ll share my tale from the British Isles this summer. After a couple days of meeting and greeting fellow travel mates, I began a conversation with a couple from the Boston area. Naturally, they wanted to know where I lived, and I gave my general answer – the Rochester area.
     The husband asked me if I had heard of a town called Geneseo?  I laughed. Apparently, they have a cousin living in Geneseo, and I went on to tell them about my column in the County News. I know. I know. I promote myself everywhere. It turns out that the relative’s name sounded familiar to me, and she reads my column according to her cousin that checked with her.
     Somehow I couldn’t make the topic sustain longer, and even the example I used wasn’t as clever as others, which I no longer remember. I asked other people about their stories. They were telling me such fascinating ones, that I quit writing. There was no point in squeezing out pointless sentences just to fill space.
     I have to come up with a new plan of attack. The clock is ticking.
     I overhear a conversation in the post office — I’m good at that for gathering new ideas — and it gets me thinking about list keepers.
     For example, I know someone you would call a monster list keeper. She has subheadings and sub-sub headings like a grid she is preparing for a NASA space launch. Whether or not she systemically accomplishes the list is up for grabs. I sure hope so for the sake of the others that live with her.
     My lists used to be kept in prominent places on my desk. Lately I keep them on my iPhone with a handy app. I feel less guilty without the list staring at me crying out for me to stay on top of the day.
     Now don’t get me wrong. Lists are good. Working people need them. Kids are more organized growing up with them. I hate going to the grocery store having forgotten my list. I go up and down the aisles dazed and nothing triggers my memory. My cart is filled with extra items as the result, and the supermarket thanks me gratefully.
     Last week I dropped my list on the floor at the store, and an understanding woman came up to me handing it over like it was a valuable document I should treat with better respect.
     Low and behold, I have rambled on and on like wringing out the last droplet from a soggy dishrag. See how it all works out?    
     My husband grins and says, “I told you.”