Bus miracle

This morning I left my university ID card, bus pass, and office key (all of which were on a lanyard together) on the bus. I’m not quite sure how it happened because I was not paying any kind of attention (actually this inattention is probably why it happened). Anyway, I got to my office door with no key, and immediately started saying swears, breathing quickly, and crying a little. I walked back out into the misty morning and retraced my steps without finding the lanyard. Then I walked back to the office and camped out in the lobby, where I looked up when the next bus was coming, realized it was coming in five minutes and ran back out into what was by then a light rain.

From the stop, I called the transit lost and found, where nobody answered, and then struck up a conversation with a man waiting there. I told him the story, and he said I should call the transit office instead. It was a great idea, and the woman I spoke to told me that the bus coming to the stop was not the same bus as before, and that she would contact the bus I’d been on earlier, but that there were no guarantees that anyone would be able to find my stuff. We hung up, but she called me back almost immediately, and let me know that the bus driver must really like me (!) because she would bring my things back when her route went back by the intersection near my office.

An hour later, I had my key and cards in hand. Five hours later, I’m still amazed at how well it all worked out. Infinite gratitude to Tamika, my amazing 6:50 am bus driver.

Sugar free?

Yesterday I started 6 weeks without added sugar. Part of my inspiration comes from my friend Sarah, who gave up sugar during her first pregnancy, and the other part comes from a group of yogis that I’ve been hanging with as part of my yoga teacher training, which started in March and will finish this coming February. One of these YTT classmates is in social work school, and as part of a unit on addiction, her prof asked the students to give up an addiction. Sugar was one of the closest things to an addiction for her, and it is for me as well.

In emotional crisis, I regularly turn to food, particularly sweets. If something stressful is happening, I realize rationally that eating something won’t solve the problem, but I don’t usually care. It feels really good in the moment to get the shot of dopamine that comes from a donut or pint of ice cream, and while I have absolutely no problem with any foods inherently, I seem to have lost the ability to moderate donut and ice cream consumption. I am hoping that this six weeks will serve as a reset period, and when I start eating added sugar again, which I absolutely plan to do, I will be able to be more mindful of when and especially why I have it.

Of course, if this experiment is going to work, then I have to figure out a better way to cope than eating a bag of chips for supper and buying a new scarf (both happened last night). I guess I’ll just see how it goes.

Bus-related giggles

Last Friday morning, as I got off my first bus and prepared to cross the street to catch my second bus, I had to pause for a second because my audiobook was interrupted by LOUD music. The first bus lets me off right next to the frat houses at the local university, but at 6:30 am, I am used to things being a little bit quieter. It appears that the gentlemen of one fraternity partied through the night, for no apparent reason. Except perhaps to be awake to serenade fellow riders and me with their rendition of “Tiny Dancer,” as we waited for our bus and marveled at the stamina of youth.

The friendliest bus

This morning, in preparation for an appointment I have this afternoon, I drove my car to a park and ride and, for the first time, took the bus from there. Four other women waited at the stop with me, and while we were waiting, they asked me whether it was my first time at the stop (yes), offered homegrown tomatoes (no, thank you), and chatted about their upcoming days.

When we got on the bus, they merrily greeted the group of women already seated and continued the happy banter. Today, it turned out, was one woman’s last day on the bus, so there was a present for her. They traded tips on their favorite nail salons, and asked a pregnant lady about her plans for work until the baby comes. When we got to my stop, they all wished me a good day as I got off.

I probably won’t take this bus more often than every couple of weeks or so, but what a treat to look forward to when I do!

Bus commuting

I started a new job at the beginning of August. (A big girl job, as I’ve been calling it.) Along with the office, coworkers, and regular work hours, I have also become a bus commuter.

The university where I work subsidizes the cost of the bus pass to an incredible $25 a year, so it seemed ridiculously expensive by comparison to pay to park and for gas–even in my reasonably efficient Civic Hybrid. Plus, my bus commute takes about 50 minutes, roughly the same time it would take for me to drive 25 minutes, park, and then walk 15-20 minutes to my building.  Finally, I commuted to a nannying job every day this summer, and while it was crucial for me to have my car to drive my charges around, toward the end of three months of daily commuting, every time I got in the car I felt (maybe irrationally) like I was statistically due for a wreck. Adding all of this up made it an easy choice to take the bus, but logistically I still had some things to figure out.

In a way that is probably typical of someone raised in a Texas suburb, but nonetheless embarrassing and revealing of my privilege, I had basically no idea how to take a bus. Trains/subways in cities I’ve lived in or visited have not been a problem because they stop at every stop. Faced with needed to communicate with the bus driver that I needed to get off, though, I was at a loss. So I watched the online how-to-ride videos through the city’s transit website. I felt dumb, but the reason they have those videos is for people like me, who have never had to get on a bus. I mastered the commute in a day or two, and I’ve been happily riding ever since.

I listen to audiobooks and podcasts, while enjoying not having to pay attention to the road. I’ve definitely messed up the schedule and missed a couple of buses, but I find the whole process preferable to driving myself. Here’s to many more years as a bus rider!

Satisfaction

Currently, there is nothing that I like better than fixing things up around the house. I think it’s a combination of renting, so I don’t HAVE to fix anything (only the things that are in working order, but I’d like something nicer, or things that didn’t come with the house). So we can call the landlord when showers/kitchen sinks/washer drains aren’t draining, but I can replace the cruddy old bathroom faucets, which were still in working order, but not very nice. I replaced them with affordable, highly functional options from Home Depot, and that was a bear because the bolt on one of the old faucets was completely rusted in place. A day of spraying WD40 rust formula on it and laying upside down while saying all the swears and feeling like my arms might fall off from super-intense plier-ing (not a word? I don’t care) may not sound like fun to you. BUT having a tangible and obvious output for work that I do, as well as making things nicer or more functional in our living space is just SO AWESOME.

Faucet | Inviting Joy

NEW FAUCET with a special shout out to my dad, who served as my personal plumber helpline throughout the project, swears and all.

We also bought a used dryer really cheaply from the lovely handyman that came to fix the rent house and he delivered it, which was oh-so-helpful. About two weeks later, though, the drum stopped tumbling. Fortunately, that happened when Hubs’s clothes were in there, and not mine, and also fortunately we have so much closet space in this new house that we just hung dry all of Hubs’s clothes. But we needed to fix the dryer, and at first I was bummed because new (to us) things breaking is disappointing. But thank goodness for THE INTERWEBS, the source of my powers. Apparently, if an appliance breaks, you want it to be the dryer because 90% of the time you can fix whatever is wrong with it yourself. So I watched some youtubes, and it turned out that the most likely scenario when the drum stops tumbling is that the looooong skinny belt that goes around the drum and attaches to the motor has slipped off or broken. I took the dryer apart (YOUTUBES) and the belt had broken. I found an appliance parts store close-ish, drove there, and told them the belt part number that I needed. I also picked up a new pulley (another part that can malfunction), and a new lint trap because the old one was coming apart at the edges and the wire mesh was pokey. Then I replaced the pulley and belt, vacuumed out years of dust with the shop vac and wahoo:

The other thing that I’ve done so far, which isn’t really fixing things but makes a huge difference in any room, is hanging curtains. It may seem like curtains aren’t that big of a deal, but I agree with my girl Sherry over at Young House Love that curtains can make as much of a difference as painting. And since we’re in a rental and we likely won’t be doing any painting, the curtains are all we’ve got. And I love curtains, I think because I love fabric. I don’t have photos of our curtains, but I just love how they warm up the rooms and give us privacy.

My next projects are a serious clothesline outside on the wooden supports that came with the house (we won’t even need the repaired dryer!) and garage storage/organization. What are you working on around the house?

Transitions

The last twelve months, I’ve felt the most unsettled that I ever have in my adult life. Selling our house, an internship in Chicago, a move North Carolina, and another [local] NC move, against a constant background of trying to finish my [damn] PhD and my parents’ [unsurprising, but no less bothersome] divorce has been a challenge. And to do it all in the midst of feeling disconnected from our support network in Tennessee has sucked.

When things are that tricky, it’s hard for me to write in this space, even though I do think writing helps me process and feeds me creatively, which I sorely miss when I’m having a hard time. I think of people that complain openly and frequently on Facebook and I so desperately don’t want to be that person that I don’t write here, where I really could and really need to. And something about calling the blog Inviting Joy got me stuck that I only should write when I’m finding joy–not just inviting it. I think I should give you, my readers, more credit. At least two of you have mentioned that you’ve missed seeing me here–messages of support that meant so much to me. And this blog isn’t Facebook, so here I am.

My cousin shared a link for a 30 day writing challenge, and when I saw the subheading “write yourself alive,” I couldn’t resist. I want to write myself alive. I’m going to write for an hour every morning, as I am in the midst of another transition: from employment to [f]unemployment/dissertating, which will hopefully result in the PhD finally being done FOREVER. I’ll share some of what I write and some of it I’ll keep private, but I want to publicly commit to this practice and thank you for reading.