Behold, Jeanketeers: You are looking at a tanned, rested, and refreshed Jean Teasdale! (Okay, maybe not “tanned,” technically. Sunstroke does run in my family and I take every precaution.) In case you haven’t already guessed, I’m thrilled to announce that I am back from my six-month suspension! And I am definitely a wiser and chastened person.
I won’t bore you with what you already know, but I made my apologies and meant them. I absolutely didn’t mean to offend anyone with my December 2014 column, “Homophobe And Loving It!” I think you all understand that now, but I still apologized anyway and didn’t fight the imposed sabbatical. I swear, I honestly thought that “homophobe” meant someone who hated cleaning their house. I did occasionally wonder why there was an “o” after the “m” instead of an “e,” but I checked the dictionary to verify the spelling. However, I only noted the spelling and didn’t follow through with reading the definition. I really should have, as I used the word a lot in the column, and turns out it means something totally different. The day the column came out, I logged on to the site and instead found a retraction and apology from the publisher, which I later found out was extremely rare. I’m over-explaining here, but rest assured I learned my lesson, and I promised everyone I would thoroughly fact-check all my columns in the future. (To which Hubby Rick replied, “Your columns contain facts?” Supersheesh! I can put this major goof behind me—too bad I can’t do the same with the major goof I married!)
Next time you take a hot shower, be grateful that the water keeps coming and that it’s toasty warm. Water also can’t pass judgment on you, which I was also happy for, because I took a lot of hot showers during my self-pity party.
These past six months have afforded me plenty of time to reflect and take stock. Mind you, early into my suspension, in the dead of winter, I threw the mother of all self-pity parties. No, literally! Before I weighed anchor and set sail on the U.S.S. Waterbed, I piled the decks high with two-liter bottles of orange soda and Little Debbie Star Crunches and Cosmic Brownies (FACT-CHECKED). The next few days became a blur of Golden Girls and Hoarders reruns, prolonged naps, stinky bathrobes, ceiling panel memorization, and dust motes floating in the winter light that filtered between the slats of my partially closed mini-blinds.
But I decided to ditch my self-pity party fashionably early (after one week). Self-pity is great, and I highly recommend it, but once its luxury turns to excess, you have to think of another way to cope. My brain was dull from all the partying, but soon it struck me: Why not count my blessings instead? I did experience a little stab of pain after thinking this, as blessing-counting was once the subject of a past column of mine. But it’s still good to recall the things that make life worthwhile, even if you can’t share them publicly right away.
For starters, thank heaven that it’s finally spring! It took a while to get underway in our parts. A filthy, blackened snow pile still sits in the shadow of our apartment complex’s battery of Dumpsters (FACT-CHECKED). But it’s getting smaller, and I’m sure with another couple 80-degree days it will finally disappear. I just wish someone would remove the smashed and splintered TV stand, torn patio umbrella, and mummified possum that are all emerging from the melting snow. (FACT-CHECKED, though it nearly made me vom!)
Running water should top anybody’s blessing count. Next time you take a hot shower, be grateful that the water keeps coming and that it’s toasty warm. Water also can’t pass judgment on you, which I was also happy for, because I took a lot of hot showers during my self-pity party.
Electricity, too. Sure, candle flame is beautiful, mesmerizing, and romantic, but sometimes you just want to switch on a light. (Related: I am also thankful for electrical cords that aren’t too short.)
Really, let’s stop taking unsung objects for granted. What would we do without area rugs? Let’s not end there: remote controls! Sinks! Closets, and the hangers that hang within them! Safety pins, but really, fasteners in all their infinite variety! Spatulas! Containers, with special mention for bottles and wastebaskets! Scissors! Aluminum burner covers! Shelves! Painkillers! Potholders! Wet wipes! Drawers and drawer pulls! Flour! Thread! I’m finding plenty of blessings to count, and I haven’t even left my apartment.
Perhaps a few years from now, when I’m taking another inventory of my blessings, I’ll have gotten down to the molecular level. I’m sure there are kinds of atoms that are good to have that no one thinks of or appreciates, except for a few scientists—maybe we wouldn’t even exist without them. It would be a shame to leave them out just because I can’t tell science from a hole in the ground.
But you see what I mean? I doubt the pre-suspension Jean would’ve ever thought of these things. This is why I feel like this time off reinvigorated my senses and has me seeing anew. It’s my very own spring awakening! Except lately, I’ve started having recurring nightmares about the mummified possum. Also, I can’t seem to leave my apartment.