My husband has a great expression he uses to explain the conservation of energy for the things you really want to do. “Fun tickets.”
Basically, he says, you’ve got a finite amount of energy, aka fun tickets, to use in a day, so you can choose either to use them up all at once, or conserve them for later.
It goes back to his days when he summered as a roughneck on drilling rigs in the Gulf of Mexico in order to winter in Aspen as a ski bum. It was the early 1980s, where, if you felt like it, you could dance all night beside a glass coffee table laden with overflowing ashtrays of white powder. However, if the other kind of white powder was falling, he forewent the Don Henley lifestyle and went to bed early to make sure he had enough fun tickets for the mountain. After all, even as a young buck, you only have so many fun tickets in a 24-hour period. You can borrow from the next day’s stash, but you have fewer to work with once the sun rises. Reliably, being the first one down the hill on a fresh powder morning was his preferred buzz.
(photo caption) This is my man back in the 1980s and 1990s, when he cashed in a lot of fun tickets. Back then, he was known by his initials, BQ. His Copper Mountain employee ID is cool, but the real gem is that guy in the teeny shorts, presumably just after he moved to Maui. There’s no shortage of shirtless-BQ-with-fish pics and feather-haired-BQ-embracing-gleaming-feather-haired-woman pics in the big black bag where he keeps his photos. Gotta love a man with a rich tapestry. I know I sure do.
Are there other kinds of tickets?
If homemaking and motherhood have anything at all in common with recreational drug use in the eighties and life as a ski bum circa Hot Tub Time Machine, it’s that your body only has a limited number of fun tickets available.
Same goes for perfection tickets and nice tickets, among a legion of others in our internal box office. If you’ve ever run out of nice, you know what I mean.
Let’s extend this ticket metaphor to the topic of preparing for a home appraisal, which my former ski bum and I have been doing this week, in which case you might discuss “meticulous” tickets.
I am plumb out of them.
Just ask the Universe
Earlier this week Kip came home with one of those rainbow loom bracelets all the kids are into these days. If you’re not as hip as I am, these colorful bracelets are made of a million tiny rubber bands looped together in a formation similar to the shape the old jelly bracelets once took on when I forced them into my mouth to pretend they were a retainer. At least here in Chicago, it’s a wrist-side sensation among the elementary set. Kip’s little buddy made one for him, which filled his heart with joy. And made Charlie cry. “I want one of those bracelets…” he immediately whined, lips contorted into that about-to-wail face.
“Ok, buddy. Well, first, it’d be really nice if you told Kip that you like his bracelet and that you’re happy for him he got one from his friend,” I explained over his sobs. “Next, why don’t you just tell God and the Universe you’d like to have one of these bracelets? And open yourself up to the possibility that one of your pals may make you one.”
“Oookay, Mommy,” Charlie sniffed. “Universe, I would really like to have one of those bracelets.”
The next day, yesterday, we had our home appraised, very hopefully at that, for a potential refinancing that, by our calculations, would’ve made everything awesome. So, a few days before, we got busy. Sprucing up paint, hanging hooks, cleaning the back yard. We don’t have house cleaners (chief among my WASP-y woes) so we pooled our respective resources of meticulousness and turned our house into a museum for a day. (for some magical people, the museum house is life. For me, it’s no-effing-way-could-i-do-this-everyday-and-still-get-enough-sleep-to-do-it-again-the-next-day.)
Banking on the first-impression factor, we even washed, dried, folded and put away ALL the laundry in our house, a feat never before achieved. It was a lot of work. We were manic. No home of two kids, three dogs, one untidy man and his right-brained wife was ever so sparkling.
Ok, I understand that an appraisal is different from a realtor’s showing, for which you’re required to make would-be homebuyers believe you live in a catalog (click here to treat yoself to my favorite ironic website of all time, Catalog Living), but we wanted everything to look nice nonetheless. You know, like we take care of our stuff, which we do, but if you walked in on an average Tuesday afternoon, it might not be apparent. I even sent the appraiser off with some homemade granola for his family. So gracious I am. It’s the little things, you know?
I don’t have to tell you we didn’t get the loan. The appraisal came in way under what we needed, as a result, per our real estate agent, of faulty comps the appraiser pulled from the neighborhood. My numbers-genie of a husband, our heroic real estate agent and our family CFO (read: deft financial advisor) are on the case for a rebut. Me? I’m sitting here thinking, “But I thought… Damn. And I gave that guy some of my granola. What is up, Universe?”
Rainbow loom of abundance
Not 10 minutes before I received the email of our unfortunate appraisal, on the walk to the car after picking Charlie up from school, Kip’s little buddy silently removed all the bracelets from one of his wrists and handed them to Charlie. Not a peep from Kip’s friend, His Blond-Locked Highness of Three-Year-Old Generosity. Just a humongous smile as he handed them over. How did he know? Charlie was joyfully incredulous. As he put them on his own wrists, he looked like Scrooge MacDuck swimming in gold coins at the beginning of Duck Tales. (Forgive me. These bracelets really take me back to the nineties.)
Walking to the car, I reminded Charlie of our last conversation about these bracelets and his face shone with 10,000 candles. “Oh yeeeeah,” he grinned. “Wow. Thank you, Universe.”
(photo caption) After coming home, Charlie pronounced the bracelets “itchy” and placed them just so beside the Halloween cat on our front hall chest.
Falling from Cloud 9
I was on such a high. Following the uncanny answer to Johnny’s prayers for a bracelet and an awakening session with my energy healer Monday, I was more faithful in miracles and the magic of the Universe than I had been in a while.
So it was interesting to observe how the news of the appraisal brought my vibration way down.
In an attempt to recover the high, the boys and I baked cookies. I suppose I could’ve turned on the TV to distract the kids while I snuck away to meditate or journal, but baking brings about an instant, affirming comfort. It makes me feel motherly, generous, cozy and safe. Baking also gives me something I can control. Mix this. Stir that. Bake this. Eat that. In the face of uncertainty on our home loan and confusion over why it didn’t work out as I’d planned, I wanted to feel like I was directing something.
Oh, but how many times do I have to be reminded that I’m no director? I accept the title of co-creator of my life, but not director. As co-creator with the Universe, I’m the “idea guy.” I come up with a vision and walk in my desired direction. God is the one who brings my dreams about in ways that far surpass what I ever could have envisioned or executed.
(photo caption) For example, what human could ever fathom the task list that starts with the above event, progresses to childbirth and culminates in a living, breathing, sperm-and-egg drawing human being who decides casually to make this fancy little picture while coloring quietly on the floor at your friend’s cocktail party?
Have you ever experienced this sort of magic in your own life?
Most of the time, God and the Universe, which are synonyms in my mind, have much grander plans for us than we have for ourselves. And God, masterful fixer that He is, knows how to make stuff happen in ways we can’t even imagine.
This is no time for sulking. I turned it over to God long before I gave that guy the jar of granola. Who knows what’s at play? All I know—because I have faith in this truth—is that all is as it should be. All will unfold just as it’s supposed to.
And now I may be out of meticulous tickets, but if I check my stash, I have a refreshed supply of faith tickets and I think I still have some fun tickets left. Just in time for the weekend.
Happy Friday, all!