1) Think of something clever or interesting to say before I open my mouth. Whenever I speak with someone I desperately want to impress, I can only think of the most mundane topics of conversation. I blurt things that make no sense, or worse, are pointless and dull. Why do I feel compelled to tell a truly cool person all about my upcoming yawntabulous grant project and the fact that my hometown swells in population from 60,000 to about 500,000 during the EAA Airventure Fly-in every summer? I can only pray the first words from my mouth the first time I meet a book critic who could make or break my writing career aren't: “Bud says he saw some grizzly bears near Pulaski’s Candy Store!”
2) Quit going to Culvers. The other night J, my best friend, and I went to Culvers for dessert after dinner at the Thai place. I ordered a hot fudge nut sundae. People, it came in a fucking plastic cruise ship. So all the way home we sang, “The Faaaat Boat…soon we'll be docking on your big ass” around blissful mouthfuls of lardy ice cream and kind of hated ourselves a little. And who needs that, really?
3) Stop daydreaming during meetings. I've long struggled with this one. The worst is when a colleague at the meeting interrupts my reverie with an urgent plea like, "So what do you think we should do?" And I'm really thinking about how long it's been since I've shaved my legs and how funny my long leg hair feels against my slacks. Kind of ticklish and silly, you know? But then everyone is looking at me expectantly, like we're paratroopers ready to jump and I've got the D-Day landing map in my briefcase. My cheeks grow warm and my heartbeat starts to sprint. I feel a bead of sweat trickle down my side. And after I clear my throat and try to stuff the swelling tangle of panic back down my throat, this is what I always say: "Everything will fall into place once we get moving on the project." Then I distract everyone by changing the subject. "Hey look, it's Santa!" This has worked so far, but I don't think my blood pressure can stand much more of this. So, no more daydreaming during meetings.
4) Start letting the dog out more. I confess. I'm a lazy dog owner. Daisy has done 50 to 60 percent of her business on a puppy pee pad for as long as we've had her. It began out of necessity when she was a parasite-infested baby and spewed diarrhea every time she barked, and we've simply been too lazy to stop putting the pads down in the back hall. It's just so convenient, you know? No muddy or wet paws, no eating rabbit turds on the back lawn. And she's small; she's still puppy-size for most other breeds. Plus, we take her for a walk when it's nice outside. So we don't ALWAYS use the pads. They're just rainy-day backup. These are the arguments I give myself in favor of pee pads whenever I hem and haw over the purchase of a new pack in the doggie aisle at Target. But it has become apparent that we've created a NEW bad habit. You see, Daisy likes to play with her poop after she's made one on the pad. My guess is it's kind of like delicious Play-Doh to her. She mashes it into crusty pancakes, nudges it into crumbles, rolls it into stinky little snakes for me to find, cold and hard and defeated, an hour or two later. Perhaps next month she will have honed her skills enough to make me a paw-coiled fecal ashtray. And this is just gross and unacceptable and strong evidence that I should never parent a real live human being someday. Hence resolution number 4: no more pee pads.
I'm not feeling all that masochistic right now, so I'll leave it at four.