Miscommunication Is Better Than No Communication

Sister Nancy ~ Photo by Cheryl Oreglia

As Karen Walker says, “they say that humans can read each other in a hundred subtle ways, in the briefest expressions of a face, but somehow I had communicated with amazing efficiency the exact opposite of what I most wanted.”

With amazing efficiency, I communicated a need for a recliner in a busy room with a board balanced across the arms to support my computer, instead of a private office downtown with an ergonomically designed chair and swanky barista. My bad.

Communication is not my superpower. There, I said it. Let’s not dwell on the obvious. 

Lately, I’ve been focused as if a laser beam on preparing my manuscript for publication, and I don’t see an end in sight. I keep making changes, my editor can barely keep up, and then I delete the entire chapter she just spent an hour painstakingly removing gratuitous commas and misspelled words. I might need therapy?

Then we have Larry, who’s been throwing distractions at me as if I’m some sort of dartboard, the bullseye being this fifty-mile tandem ride coming up in three days. I haven’t been training, one thirty-minute ride hardly qualifies, and I’m exhausted because every night I wake up at 2:30 am and reorder the manuscript in my mind. 

It’s my current obsession.

To make matters worse I’m worried about the Ukrainians, the cost of oil, being put in jail for watering the front lawn or washing my car. We have a severe water shortage in California and just when the mask mandates have been lifted, we’ve been hammered with water restrictions. I feel bad flushing the toilet, brushing my teeth, or making a second pot of coffee. 

Am I the only sane person left on the planet?

I thought so.

Today is my writing day and let me share with you how it actually went down, all the horrific details, you might want to pop some wine. At least it’s not a waste of water. 

As I said, I’m exhausted, so I went to bed at 7:30 pm last night, when Nancy texted me at 7:45 pm about meeting for coffee in the morning I was half asleep. Of course, I said yes. I jump at any opportunity to see my sister but I didn’t really grasp the nitty-gritty details. Sue me.

Waking early, hello, by 5:00 am I’ve been in bed for like ten hours. I grab my computer and start weeding through my manuscript. There’s so much to do and it seems inhumanly impossible. I’m trying to put 60,000 words in some sort of meaningful order, stories that will resonate with others, fulfill a need, make us feel less alone. 

Breathe. Refill your coffee. Floss. One thing at a time. 

I combed through the final essay for the hundredth time. This is new material, it’s missing something, but I can’t find it.

At 8:37 am I scramble out of bed and into the shower, I’m supposed to be at my sister’s by 8:45 am, but that’s when I leave my house. Story of my life. When I arrive at my sister’s, I walk right in the open front door carrying my coffee and phone, but no one’s home? This is when I realize she must have inferred that we would be meeting at my house but I somehow misunderstood. Damn it. 

The minute I buckle my seat belt Larry is calling, he says, “your sister just arrived at our house with coffees. Where are you?” 

“I’m at her house.”

“Whose the communication guru?”

Yeah, I hung up. 

Okay, to be fair when we reviewed the text messages after I returned home, she never stated where we were meeting, just the time. Whatever. We’re together now. 

Time with Nancy is like giving yourself a facial. She a soft scrub. I feel better, smoother, and regardless of whether the effect is temporary, I feel as if I’ve done something uplifting for myself. I’m sure she feels much the same, although I can be a little harsh on the epidermis, and I might leave a rash. There’s a cream for that.

She’s leaving for Disneyland this afternoon, Mackenzie, my niece, can barely contain her excitement. Mackenzie is checking on the flights while Nancy and I exchange gossip and coordinate our calendars. But as so often in close relationships, the subject being discussed is not the subject at all. While words and dates pass between us, mingling over our heads are our hearts, and the communication is much more sublime. 

She scheduled one hour for our coffee and she stuck like glue to the plan. 

Before her car is down the street Larry hands me a list that he and Dante have collaborated on. It’s a list of foods missing from the refrigerator. How did this become my problem? At least Dante offered to go with me. I’m trying to publish a book, people. Whatever. I also take every opportunity to spend time with my son Dante, one of the most rational human beings on the planet, he’s kind and strong. Besides, someone has to carry the beer. 

As soon as the groceries are loaded into the refrigerator I run back to my room and open my computer. I spend an hour weeding through the manuscript before Larry is warning me about a meeting with our financial advisor in twenty minutes. We’re trying to establish how the hell we’re going to maintain Amazon Prime in retirement and still eat. Ends up that’s the least of our worries. 

Our financial planner, James, looks exactly like Steve Carell, only younger, and slightly cuter. The first thing you notice is his high energy, it’s alarming, his personality is an intriguing combination of philosopher, therapist, mathematician, philanthropist, and financial guru. His meetings are entertaining, to say the least, as if watching an episode of The Office, a mockumentary if you will, that ends with a sizable severance package. I like him. He’s absolutely positive we can afford an outdoor fireplace, fly first class, set up college funds for the grandkids, and help the homeless. What’s not to like. 

On our way home, Larry pulls into the Costco parking lot because now he thinks he has money to burn, and we need to add to our already laden refrigerator. Really? And for once we don’t need toilet paper, he grabs ribs, shrimp, and socks while I frantically check my watch. 

I let him unload the loot. I have a deadline, so instead of training for Solvang, I fire up my computer, and settle my butt in the chair. It’s quiet for like ten minutes. 

I wrote two paragraphs before Larry strolls into the room, turns on the television, and places a glass of wine next to me. 

He said, “Biden going to give the State of the Union in a few minutes.” He seems to think we were on the same page. We’re not even reading the same book!  

I HAVE A BLOG DUE TOMORROW!

I say as calmly as possible, “Honey, do you have to watch it in here?”

He says emphatically, “Yes.”

“I like to stay uninformed.”

“I know.”

“I’m putting that in my blog.”

I get the look. 

So this is why you’re getting a post that is subpar, unpolished, and without the bow, but here’s the summary of the State of the Union. Covid is winding down, Russia is winding up, and Biden suggests this is an opportunity to reset? I heard nothing I didn’t already know. 

I say, “please tell me we’re not listening to the analyst dissect every damn word?”

“This is the best part.” 

This is my living hell. 

Finally, he decides he’s hungry. Thanks be to God. Dante and Larry leave my writing space and move to the kitchen to panfry some steaks, boil gnocchi, and steam some greens. I admit it was a scrumptious meal. 

My asthma has been rearing its ugly little head as of late and it feels as if I’m always exhausted. This is becoming a thing with me, so instead of burying my head in the sand, I capitulate to Larry’s suggestion (harassment), and make an appointment with the doctor. She’s slipping me in Mid-March. Let’s hope I survive Solvang. 

Here’s the plan for tomorrow, after a productive morning writing session, I going to train for thirty minutes in the cold garage, then wash my hair if we haven’t blown through our water allowance, before returning to my chair, my board, and unpolished manuscript. I’m trying to emulate my sister and stick to the damn plan even if I show up at the wrong place. 

Communication might be my superpower after all, with a miss in front of it. 

I’m Living in the Gap, sticking to the plan, please forgive me for missing so many of your posts, for not responding to your work, or joining you immediately in the comments. I’m on a mission but I miss you. 

47 Comments

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  1. A lovely post as always. When I lived in Palm Springs and we were to conserve water (even though there isn’t a water shortage there) I put a five gallon bucket in the shower. I used it to water my pots of flowers on the patio. I felt so smug doing so.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Elizabeth, that’s actually a good idea! I might need to do that to keep my patio plants alive. They say we have to let our grass go and drive around in dirty cars! Ugg. I have to go catch up on a few of your posts! I so miss reading when life gets crazy. Sending you love and hugs, C

      Liked by 1 person

  2. C, I don’t think this is unpolished! I totally understand that feeling of pressure and writing, rewriting, writing, …etc…and you have 60,000 words! Time with your sister sounds perfect. I long for that with my twin! We only live 40 minutes apart and rarely see each other. And I’ve had those communication hiccups too! Oops! Oh, well! Training for a bike ride, finishing a book, a speech, …the best? I love The Office and hearing about the Steve look-alike made me giggle.I’ll never forget when the M.S. staff put my stapler in a bowl of jello~but then gave me World’s Best Boss mug! Lol life is a parody. And I think we need to keep laughing. Our friends overseas are on my heart and mind always. These sad and unusual times really takes a myriad of miracles in the small things to keep us moving forward. And you’re doing it my friend! Sending you much love and hugs! Don’t ever worry about missing anything on my blog. My life is getting busier and I don’t always get to yours! I understand completely! But know you’re loved and supported always! ❤️🙏🏻🤗

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you Karla, it’s been one of those crazy weeks and I haven’t learn how to stretch time! I try and always pioroitize people, especially Nancy, but let me just say writing a blog during the State of the Union was rough! I may have quoted Biden unawares! I suppose the point being is that our time is precious and how we spend it is on us! Life is definitely a detour! Cheers to both us of as we embark on new adventures. Always know I have you in my heart and thoughts Karla, love and hugs, C

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I loved so many expressions in your post, especially the one of your sister as a soft scrub. I like the comments also, and LA’s desk bike idea. I am still smiling. Water shortage sounds serious and critically important also. Maybe bring a spray to help you if need it for your asthma and use an ebike 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you David, I’m ever so lucky to have my sister Nancy, who lifts me up whenever I’m with her. I am concerned about the asthma and I do have a inhaler with me at all times. The ebike might be a reality in my 70’s but for now I’ll have to deal with a lot of pedaling! Thanks so much for joining me in the comments and your kind words. xxoo, C

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  4. Cheryl, good for you for accomplishing so much, even though you didn’t get everything done. Life is more than crazy in the world right now. I think working on your book might be terrific therapy. Keep going. You Got This

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Lauren, thanks for the lovely encouragement and I agree life is more than crazy right now. I’ve always found writing to be therapeutic and I can’t imagine confronting life without a keyboard. Wrapping you in my love, xxoo, C

      Liked by 1 person

    1. I so need a She Shed, I started a Pintrest board and flooded it with ideas! I printed some of them off and left them in strategic locations but to no avail. He’s a stubborn one. I can always flee to the lake for some solitude! Hugs, C

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Keith, it’s the most disorienting thing to have someone laying out your financial future and he comes with sitcom associations. Glad you liked the song, I hadn’t heard that one in a while and it threw me back in time! xxoo, C

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  5. Rounded off nicely, with one of my favourite American musicians. I was often in the right place at the wrong time, and I used to wonder what it would be like to walk on gilded splinters.
    Best wishes, Pete. x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Pete, now I’m curious, maybe you need to do a blog post on being in the right place, wrong time? The only time I can remember that happening to me was in Lake Tahoe, I was playing a gambling machine, when I walked away the next person put in a quarter and won like $5,000! No gilded splinters for Cheryl! 💕C

      Liked by 1 person

    1. There’s a saying about this, “Busy hands and idle minds have knitted many a sweater; Busy minds and idle hands have knitted many a brow,” by Maryrose Wood. I’d rather knit a brow! Thanks so much for reading and joining me in the comments! 💕C

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Cheryl,
    Loved this one as usual.
    To start with, I am not sure if Larry really said “who’s the communications guru?” but I laughed at the thought.
    A couple of things.
    1. Nice pic of Nancy.
    2. There is nothing wrong with the “Severance” package.
    3. I am sure Larry hit you with the grocery list to make sure there was nothing you needed to add.
    4. Doesn’t the cannabis/ vegan diet help with asthma?
    5. Regarding toilet water conservation, if it is brown it’s down, if it is yellow, let it mellow. If it is red, move up your doctor’s appointment.

    However, I am starting to get concerned.
    Perhaps you are letting the stress over a self-inflicted publishing deadline ruin your retirement. As far as your weekly blog goes, relax….. We love reading it because it provides entertainment and insight. We (your readers) are a patient bunch. If it takes an extra week or two, no biggie. Now if it takes 4 -5 weeks for your next post, we will send a rescue team / search party.

    Slow down, you move to fast. You’ve got to make the morning last….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Mike, awe, The Seekers, I’m listening to your song right now! Perfect and I am feeling grovey especially after surviving another 50 mile ride chained to the back of a tandem with a maniac at the helm! Although I have to say we did much better this time! Freezing cold is much better than blazing hot. Your observations are spot on as usual except you portray Larry in a much better light, unrealistic, but kinder! Bahaha. I am my own worst enemy, setting up deadlines and expectations for no other reason then self-flagellation The problem, or maybe we should say the advantages of being retired, means I’m traveling for the next month! I’m flying to Boston to help Kelley and Time pack up their apartment, then on to Florida to spend time with a dear friend, then home to repack and we’re off to Portugal to see Tony and celebrate Larry’s birthday. I won’t be home until early April. Just in time to wash clothes and head to Branson! See how my window of opportunity is closing? Then it’s the summer and the lake will be calling! Mercy me! I just want this dream sitting on the coffee table of every dentist office in the valley (that was Larry’s suggestion) and in the hands of those who have a twisted sense of humor! Is that too much to ask? My poor editor, she had no idea what she was dealing with, as I add and delete content on a daily basis. Okay, let’s get this out in the open, there is no cannabis or vegan diet, because I couldn’t bunny up! I am dusting, not a great deal of help, but I feel like I’m earning my keep! This weeks blog is about hope and fear being two sides of the same coin! I know, it’s going to be…a blog! Miss you guys, hugs, Cheryl

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  7. I agree with Mike. Seems like the deadlines you’re working against are mainly self-imposed so cut yourself some slack. Perhaps better yet, put the manuscript aside for a minute then come back and pick it up later, maybe in-between all those vacations you’ll need a vacation from anyway. Your mind and your calendar and maybe even your thoughts/edits might be a little clearer and possibly less circular then? Put your sanity and your health, and maybe even your marriage, a little ahead of this golden fleece you’re pursuing with such speed or dare I say haste. It will still be there, and I bet you’ll be able to pick up where you left off when you get back to it. Of course, my offer to be a beta reader, even of an unfinished or uncut manuscript, is still open in the interim. Relax, GF!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I took your advice and gave myself a week off but now I’m wracked with guilt! Can’t win despite myself. I get behind on commenting and reading, this is a prolific community! But the truth is we have to put our health first because if you’re not well, you can’t enjoy life. I will take you up on the beta reader and would appreciate any comments or suggestions. I should have a rough manuscript ready by mid April. When you have a minute send my your address via email: cheryloreglia@aol.com and I’ll send you a copy. Thank you, hugs, C

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Uniformed sounds good about this time! I agree. Yesterday, we found a quarter unclaimed on our long entranceway to our home. It appeared while we were out! This set into motion googling signs that you might be targeted or rather cased for a robbery, etc. leaving the husband to get us a Ring Camera which he has spend all day experimenting with and letting me know that I have been filmed coming in and out. The good news is soon my Spring Break is over and I will return to teaching and new worries! Good luck with your book and publishing!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Cupcake, how interesting a quarter appeared on your driveway? We have a ring camera and it’s been helpful when packages arrive or someone knocks on the door and needs information. You can actually talk to someone remote from the doorbell. It’s crazy. So you’re a teacher? I retired last year and so far I miss the students but none of the grading and planning lessons! What do you teach? Warmly, C

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