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This post is part of my 2022 Word Project. You can read what that’s about here.

Friday, June 30, 2023

It’s the end before another beginning.

End of a month, end of a quarter. Tomorrow we do it all again. It is also a full half year into this word project and I’m excited to have made it this far.

Now. Can I repeat this? Preferably in less than two years?

At this end-beginning it seemed fitting to reflect on where I’ve been and how I got here and what has changed in between. So I’m doing a little status update.

But first, we set the stage. It’s Friday night. The mojitos have been made, Ralph is happily ensconced in the world of Destiny, and it’s storming like we’re living on Venus. That is where we find ourselves as this story opens. Or closes.

Let’s see how the universe unfolded this quarter.

March 22: the word project recommences.

Project status: green.

I started with a fair amount of trepidation. It’s one thing to say you’re going to write every day then fail to do so. It’s another thing to say it again and fail a second time. But half a year in, and officially more posts than I wrote last time around, I’m feeling pretty good about it.

It’s definitely been more fun. Why? Because I said it would be.

At the end of the day what does it really matter what word I use or topic I talk about? And so what if I publish last Tuesday’s post tomorrow? Things are a lot easier when you stop caring and start doing.

April 1: stress caused by noise finally spews out of my fingertips.

Construction status: still happening.

Fortunately the nonstop beeping seems to have been replaced by intermittent beeping. And now that it’s 98 degrees and I’ve succumbed to air conditioning, it’s possible to get a few minutes of peace.

The golf course still roars all night but with the windows closed I can pretend it’s just a loud vacuum cleaner.

There is, however, a new noise. It’s a shrill sort of alarm sound. I don’t know where it comes from or what it is, but it lasts for maybe ten seconds at a time. This happens two or three times during the day and I’m convinced at this point that we’re part of some massive human experiment.

How long until everyone cracks?

April 2: strawberry season begins

Berry status: strawberry season is over, sad clown.

Except for a week when the fields flooded, a full refrigerator shelf was dedicated to strawberries for the entirety of the season.

I would buy 7 pints every Saturday, one for each day of the week. And every time they would ask me what I was making with them and I said nothing, I was going to eat them. I’m not sure they quite comprehended this.

It’s blueberry season now, and while delicious, not nearly as exciting.

April 12: I get my exercise groove on.

Health status: exercising like a maniac, still eating buttered biscuits.

When Kevin was here he baked me into an extra size so I had to repent. That was three months ago and I’m as fat as ever.

I know how to get in better shape. I know it. The problem is that I want to unknow it because I hate it so much. Here’s the answer: stop eating.

It doesn’t matter how many Peloton miles I bike or how many hours I spend on the treadmill. It just doesn’t.

Here’s a fact. I have averaged about 180 bike miles. And 75 treadmill miles. And 15 weight workouts. And 20 yoga workouts. Every.Single.Month.

I have made exactly zero progress. Ralph will disagree, but Ralph doesn’t have to button my jeans.

I have to stop eating. Bread, pasta, granola. I have to zero out carbs and sugar, period.

Until and unless I do that I will continue to make no progress.

April 15: I get motivated to finish my barrel.

What’s the status word for HAHAHAHAHA?

What’s a status word for “nothing at all and possibly worse now that the rain has made the rust run into the part I previously cleaned”?

I bought the electric sander then didn’t feel like learning to use it. Then it was cold. Then it rained. Then I stopped caring. Now it’s 98 degrees. So I guess we’ll be doing another status update in three months but don’t get too hopeful.

April 16: I picked up my puzzle.

Completion status: deficient.

I’ve been working on this puzzle since Christmas. Granted, not with any particular dedication and usually with a cocktail, but it is woefully incomplete.

Not only did I not finish it, but in between we had to move it off the dining room table to accommodate guests and it slid off the puzzle tray and broke all over the floor. It took a minute to fix, but we did it.

My mother finished hers in about a week.

April 20: the mint goes to that great green mint field in the sky.

Resurrection status: success.

I bought it. I forgot about it. I killed it. I watered it anyway. A month later it was resurrected and it’s still going strong. It has birthed many mojitos including an orange variety, a strawberry, and a peach version.

In case of emergency, I bought two more mint plants.

April 23: I save the planet.

Superiority status: intact.

In order to avoid carbon emissions I was instructed to throw out the brand new $600 bedding I bought (and did not like) instead of shipping it back. In order to get my money back I had to “prove” I did this by sending the company a photo of the bedding in the garbage. I complied.

You will be happy to know that I got my full refund. You will also be happy to know that I retrieved said bedding from the garbage and packed it up in bags that are now taking up space in my closet while they wait for a proper donation.

April 29: rediscovered my inner dancing queen.

Boogie status: I’m a rock star.

Last weekend I blasted American Pie and jumped around the living room for all eight-plus minutes. And that was just the warmup.

There has been a sufficient amount of flopping around the house but I bet it still hasn’t burned off a single biscuit.

May 7: My brother Stephen scratches $47 worth of lottery tickets.

Millionaire status: Nobody has retired.

He still scratches tickets every Thursday and we all get together via YouTube chat and manifest the heck out of a big win. The universe remains stubbornly resistant.

May 8: notecards catch my attention.

Word count status: zero.

How hard is it to write a note? *Hi, thinking of you, bye!* There, I wrote a note.

If you get a card from me in the mail in a few days with those lines, you’ll know why.

May 18: protein shakes get added to the lunch menu.

Consumption status: the garbage thanked me for my contribution.

I said I’d drink them. I said I’d use up the powder. I said I wouldn’t waste them.

Then I reminded myself of the sunk cost fallacy and also that it was strawberry season and what the heck was I thinking drinking protein shakes? In a fit of pique, I threw the bucket in the garbage. It was a relief.

May 27: peach season starts.

Deliciousness status: hit or miss.

First of all, the cost of a box of peaches increased one hundred percent over last year. Some weeks they’re phenomenal. Some weeks they’re disappointing.

I made exactly one peach cake, then decided to turn a few squishy ones into a peach syrup for cocktails. I’m thinking it would go nicely on ice cream, too. We’ve eaten the rest, for better or worse.

At this point I’m just waiting for watermelon season.

I think that is a fairly decent wrap-up of the loose ends. I wouldn’t say I learned anything new after reflecting back, but I was certainly reminded of a few things old.

Namely, time is going to keep going whether you’re paying attention or not, whether you make time for your projects or not, whether anything substantial happens or not.

Also, no matter how much you may want strawberries, the season is going to end. All things do, the good ones and the bad ones. Even the construction.

Photo, left to right: the top of my barrel still soaked from this week’s storms. The current state of the puzzle. Mint plus backup. Peach syrup, ready for anything. And in the background, delicious strawberries, fading away…