It’s chilly here today, making getting out of bed a bit more challenging in the feeble light coming through the windows above the blinds. But I can hear the RT in his bathroom, and after a quick glance at the clock, know that if I don’t get up, I will miss seeing him off for school. As he passes by our bedroom door, I notice that although he is sporting a different green tee than he did yesterday, he is wearing the same brown cargo shorts, and has yet to don socks. I know, with very little analysis, that he will recycle the socks he wore yesterday, slung over his shoes where he left them yesterday .
I make it downstairs on this non-carpool day, and am rewarded by the RT’s Mom smile– a warm and honest gesture that is often accompanied by a hug. Nice. Ten more minutes before he goes out for his ride into this grey and wet day. I know before opening the patio door that Ms. Jones is not going to want to pee on a wet patio, and I’m probably going to have to venture out in front of the neighbors so she can pee on the wet grass instead. Dog logic? She surprises me by pushing through the partially opened door and gingerly stepping across the flagstones and around the corner to take care of her duty.
I call up to the RT who has gone to get in a few minutes on the Internet even though I’ve graced him with my presence, “You’re going to need your sweatshirt today.” I know that he wears it most days because it’s soft and comfy, and probably makes it easier for him not to pay attention to The Geometry Teacher, but I have to remind him. One of our cats is trying to rush for the door about now, paranoid that I’ll close it on his tail like I did last week, and makes it through only to realize that it’s wet outside. He backs up, sits near my feet and looks at me as if to say, “What the hell is this all about?” and consigns himself to the view from the back of a chair. Today he’ll have to settle for looking through the window at the birds in the jasmine and stalk their movements with flattened ears and that low “cackling” sound he reserves for moving targets on his radar.
The RT is out the door about now, 50 lb. back pack hoisted over one shoulder, and the notebook I’ve asked him twice to organize in the past two days, tucked under an arm, still sporting the signs of complete disaster from its edges. I tell him to have a good day, hoping it will be better than yesterday. The two of us decided then that a 50% on The Geometry Teacher’s test was better than what we thought it would be, but getting an F on a test never feels great. I’ll have to put “Giving Geometry Another Chance” on my mental NUTs list. NUTs, you say?
Nagging Unfinished Tasks, according to Michael F. Roizen, M.D., are things that we could fix, but don’t, thereby causing you and I “aging stress,” which is far more harmful than breaking a bone, because we learn to deal with that. He says those kinds of events are “important, but manageable.” Okay, so let me get this straight. In other words, I’ll just adapt to the circumstances of hmmm…. I know — having a humongous cast on my leg that sticks straight out, forcing me to be in a wheel chair; I’ll be able to get in my compact car, drive myself to the grocery store, carry my crying toddler around while trying to get dinner on the stove. Bathe. Go to the bathroom. Of course, there is absolutely no stress involved in any of that. My malleable demeanor will simply adjust. Instead, what will really get to me while the cast is on my leg, is the items on my NUTs list — the items I don’t take care of that are silently driving me crazy, creating unhealthy levels of adrenaline, cortisone, and other hormones in my system, and leaving me susceptible to myocardial ischemia, and at greater risk of a heart attack. What might those more pressing, driving me nuts, NUTs be if my leg actually was in a cast? Shaving my legs? Reaching that dust ball under the wall unit? Painting the chipped polish on the big toe protruding from my cast? The author cannot be serious.
But back to reality here, and my current state of angst. In an attempt to embrace the concept of Roizen’s NUTs (no pun intended whatsoever) to identify my own NUTs (anatomically impossible) and add “Relearning Geometry” to the list, I can combine my smarts with those of the RT, and thereby assist him in improving his understanding of Geometry. Bear in mind that because the RT is almost 15, and should be learning to employ skills which will last a lifetime, I actually believe he would be better served taking advantage of the student-run tutoring center at school. However, I also believe I can’t take him there and make him do it. He has to want to do it himself. But that’s because I’m a relentless, suck-it-up-and-get-it-done, erstwhile educator.
My NUTs: 1) Get a job; 2) Complete filing papers; 3) Call the local charity to get rid of things in the garage so my husband can park in it, too; 4) Complete unfinished upholstery job on two bedroom chairs; 5) Complete stain and seal of outside furniture; 6) Paint unfinished patch over downstairs bathroom door; 7) Truly clean refrigerator
What are your NUTs?