Ever since my Japan trip my brain has been in a funk. Reading and writing seem like a burden, and I was stumped on what to write about this week for the blog. I blame this slump on jet lag and the month of September. Experts say that for every time-zone crossed, it takes the body a day to recover from travel; Christina and I crossed 14 time zones which may explain why I am not motivated to read my current book – a 1000 pager on the history of Christianity. Jet lag is sneaky because you can get back to a normal sleep schedule in a couple of days, but feeling “functional” is a far cry from feeling “optimal.” My jet lag is worsened by the fact that it is September. I never liked September because it is the little brother of New Years; it is that transition time of the year when the leaves change, school starts, and people make arbitrary goals. Unlike New Years, Labor Day goals have zero chance because of the upcoming holiday season…
–Labor Day “I’m going to lose some pounds before Halloween.”
–1st of October “I love the fall decorations…how can I enjoy this season without candy and cinnamon donuts?”
–Halloween “I feel gross…I’m going to try really hard up until Thanksgiving.”
–One week later “I didn’t know my work was going to have an early Thanksgiving feast…I’ll just do portion control.”
–Thanksgiving “I feel like a Beluga Whale…this is already my third Thanksgiving…screw it!…I’m using the big plate at the dessert table.”
–Christmas “Honey I’m having heart palpitations after that third glass of eggnog…I am starting that diet for real after New Years.”
So hence, I feel the September blues quite a bit; I have one foot in summer and one foot in fall with a jet-lagged brain that keeps nagging at me like a wife who finds pee on the toilet seat. So what am I to do? What motivation can I offer to prevent us from playing “Wake Me Up When September Ends” on repeat? The best way to get out of a funk is to be both realistic and tangible. For example, I am going to start the reading and research for my next book in the coming weeks. I know that this will be difficult with the many social engagements of the season, so my timeline is significantly extended. This is applicable for any goal you make right now – whatever you have in mind, lower your expectations by 50 percent. If you want to lose 10 pounds, go for 5 pounds. If you want to save 500 dollars go for 250 dollars. If you want to read 3,000 pages on Plato …. just go stick your head under a frozen-yogurt machine.
The other half of September success is to make your goal tangible. I have all the books I need to read stacked on my countertop so that I am reminded each day of my progress. The holidays make it easy to forget everyday routines so having a tangible reminder is paramount. Mark a calendar or have something on your desk that makes you think of your successes- just make it visible. After writing just these two paragraphs, I feel less foggy and more motivated to get back into my reading. Make a realistic goal this season and try your best; even if you improve by only 50%, it is still better than backsliding to those egg-nog induced palpitations.
“The” Wet Belly
It was the best of times and the worst of times. Last week Tuesday, I was having the best of days. The sun was out, the weather was pleasant, the leaves were colorful, my wife was looking sexy, and my pants were feeling loose. It was one of those Tuesdays when you almost think it’s a Friday. Feeling on top of the world, I decided to take Max, my single-minded Chihuahua, for his most favorite activity in the world – a walk in the park. Max was running through an open field full of grass, leaves, trees, sunshine, groundhogs, and the occasional cluster of white-dog poop. Being in a state of complete relaxation I didn’t notice when my pea-brain dog began to rub his neck in some putrid-smelling substance that was either a dead animal or a concentrated pocket of mud that had been overly exposed to Flint-river water. Whatever the source of the stench, I did not discover it until I came home and bent down to take off his leash. His neck smelled like a trashcan that had been sitting out in the hot sun after a pouring rain – wet, thick, and unbearable. I immediately took him to the shower and began to use the best treatment I had – Head and Shoulders Anti Dandruff Shampoo. Max was all about the shampoo and I think he may have done the stinky neck thing on purpose just to get the extra neck massage. He looked like a wet rat after the soak and I wrapped him tightly in a towel and rubbed his whole body until his fur was barley wet. He bolted out the bathroom door and jumped onto the couch like a crackhead during a bad trip –rubbing his body at random all over the cushions. This was approximately at 5:00 pm.
Around 8:00 pm I was watching TV and heard Max enter the bathroom. This did not bring me much thought because being a Chihuahua, Max is always ADHD and running around the house. I had just used the bathroom and I thought it normal that he was smelling around to access the damage. I heard a faint noise in the bathroom but took it as him trying to get into the trash for some yummy Q-Tips – nothing out of the norm. At about 8:10 I walked into the living room to give my sexy wife a big kiss and to tell her how amazing she was – again nothing out of the norm. But then, Christina looks over and there are water spots on the couch. At first we thought Max must have peed and we commence a frantic, grab-the-dog-and-throw-him-outside maneuver. Upon grabbing the spindly dog I felt his belly and it was completely wet. I lifted the animal to my nose and performed a thorough smelling – my sense of smell, being a sensitive-introvert, is above average. The liquid was not urine but rather water. I then noticed that the top of the couch, where Max usually sits, was completely soaked in water. I used five large paper towels to soak up the liquid and it again was odorless without any color. This was extremely odd, Max had a wet belly, he dripped water on the couch and his normal sitting area was drenched. We thought this was the extent of the wet-belly fiasco but then Christina, beginning to do her homework again, noticed water on the keyboard. As soon as she touched the keyboard the screen went black. This began a two hour ordeal of Christina going full-out Filipina and me trying to use my limited computer skills to perform a miracle. By 10:00 pm the computer was still not turning on, my Friday-like Tuesday was now a post vacation Monday, and I felt like returning Max back to the Humane Society. In the end we had to pay 400 dollars for a new laptop but thankfully Christina’s work was still safe in the hard drive.
Signs of Guilt
To this day I have no idea how Max got his wet belly. Did he get into the water dish, the toilet, the post-shower tub? Did his bladder somehow expand to the size of a grown man? I have lost my mind trying to figure out the mystery of the wet belly. Max and I are on tenuous terms and I don’t know if I can ever again trust him around my laptop. What do you think is the riddle of the wet belly? What caused my Chihuahua to turn into a wet burrito? Why do I have a Chihuahua in the first place? All questions that need to be answered. Yet another life-lesson learned from Max – when you have a brain the size of pea you are apt to have a wet bellow at any moment.