We Don’t Need a Meth Lab in the Suburbs

Photo Credit: Kat Wilcox from Pexels

“May such calm of soul be mine, so as to meet the force of circumstances”


I’m feeling the weight of my humanness.

You know what I mean?

Maybe it’s because we recently celebrated the crucifixion of an innocent man, or all the suffering splashed across our television screens, or the simple fact that wearing masks has morphed into a moral issue.

What do I know?

It seems to me that piss poor judgment is the root of all evil.

Well, that and our inability to empathize with each other, which is sort of the same thing. 

I feel sticky with anxiety, especially today, as I return to my doctor for test results. She took a lot of samples from my person and I’m hoping she’s satisfied. What’s stressful to me might be a cakewalk for you and visa versa. But no one is exempt. 

We all suffer, pay taxes, and die, but that my friend is only the beginning of our story.

I judge others when they don’t do things the way I do but at least I’m nice about it. You can’t say that about everyone. For example, when Larry and I are closing up the lake house before returning home I have a no-tolerance policy for touching something more than once! I blame my mother, of course, she was an organizational anomaly. 

I can already feel you judging me.  

Here’s the deal ~  why would you (aka Larry) bring a potholder in from outside and set it on some random table in the lanai? Put it away, in the drawer, where it belongs. Done. Don’t gather cups from around the house and leave them on the kitchen counter. Put them in the dishwasher. Or when you unwrap a string cheese to fuel your clean-up efforts and dump the wrapper in the sink. The garbage is three inches away. Makes me mad as a wet hen but I cover well. 

I could go on but you get the gist. Touch it once! 

Where I’m logical, others are erroneous, it’s my cross to bear, but let’s not resort to labeling. It’s crass. Not that I’m judging. But seriously. I am.

If I find potholders, dirty glasses, and cheese wrappers annoying you can imagine how difficult it is for me not to judge the guy who set Home Depot on fire. What the hell was he thinking?

Another example, on my walk this morning with Sue we passed a house on Ridgely, just blocks away from our homes, swarming with fully geared swat teams, police cruisers were parked haphazardly on the neighboring lawns, with at least twelve officers pointing assault rifles at some poor forsaken front door. 

I grab Sue’s arm and scream, “Holy shit Sue, we need to turn around, there’s going to be a shoot-out.”

She waves her hand nonchalantly and says, “there’s no crime scene tape.”

“Crime scene tape, they’re holding assault rifles.”

“It’s fine, they’d tell us if we couldn’t pass.”

“They’re a little busy don’t you think?”

We walk (I trot) quickly right past all the drama and join a group of neighbors gathered on the street corner gossiping as if a murder of crows. After listening to all their observations we conclude it must be a drug bust. But you never know? Personally, I’m thrilled that there are brave men and women willing to risk their lives to protect mine?

The last thing we need is a meth lab in the suburbs! 

You’ll be relieved to know I made it home safe, but I don’t have time to worry about the dismantling of meth labs, I need a new pair of jeans for our upcoming trip to Branson! Talk about stress. (Yes, we’re going to Branson, Missouri to spend some time with my cousins, Mike and Gail, Dolly Parton, and apparently, Jesus will be there live) Jim and Sue are coming too if we don’t get shot on one of our morning walks.

My jeans put up a good fight but eventually, they ripped, may they rest in peace. Some people like that look. I do not. They were very, very, very old, and several areas were as paper-thin as my skin, but damn, they fit like OJ’s glove, and that might be why they ripped. Shrinkage.

So I sent a text to my daughters asking about brands that are “friendly” to older women.

Julie says you should try Not My Daughters Jeans, it’s a brand for mature women. But she warns me I should wait until the fall because the styles change so quickly. As an afterthought she adds, “and BTW skinny jeans are out. Do not buy another pair!”

Skinny jeans are Out? Who is she? The fashion Gestapo.

Kelley says I’m not an older woman.


I threw caution to the wind and ordered a pair of skinny jeans from some off-brand that was on sale. I’ll be out of fashion but at least they won’t be ripped. And if I’m not annoying my daughters by wearing antwacky clothing they’ll have nothing to squawk about. It’s a huge sacrifice but I do what I can.

As I’m writing this Julie pays us a visit from across the street. She comes over with my granddaughter Audrey who’s overly excited about her photo being featured in a local magazine that is advertising the services of the Campbell Community Center.

I come into the kitchen to see what all the commotion is about. 

Audrey shows us the magazine with her featured pictures and immediately runs to show Nono who just pulled into the driveway. 

So I tell my daughters about nearly getting shot this morning, and after rudely mocking my dramatic retelling, I’m accused of glancing in the mirror while I was talking.

Crucify me. 

I made myself a cup of coffee and returned to my room, feeling unfairly put upon by my own creations. Now I know how God feels. 

It makes me empathetic to Larry for like a second. But it also makes me consider how we callously bait each other or maybe I have a lousy sense of humor?

I didn’t think so either.

The thing is I’m sensitive. I know this about myself. I have to be diligent about boundaries or I overindulge as if I’m a sponge, absorbing the emotions around me, and I have no filter. 

I set up a makeshift desk in my room by slapping a board across my armchair, placing my coffee within reach, and connecting via Zoom to my weekly Gecko call. Praise be to God. I could use a little cheering.

This delightful group has been meeting weekly for over two years and today the focus is the book I’m trying to publish. I sent everyone a PDF of the manuscript a week ago and today we’re going to evaluate, critique, and assess its merits and mishaps. 

By the end of the call I was floating, literally, a silly ass smile plastered across my face, feeling slightly more popular than Stephen King, and quite possibly just as talented. That’s the Gecko magic. I came away with a new title, a new genre, and a purpose for putting this work into the world.

On Amazon this coming June! 

Speaking of Good News, I found out my expiration date has been extended. I’m not prediabetic, my cholesterol is elevated but not alarmingly so, my kidney and liver continue to function, and my asthma has significantly improved. She told me to lay off the animal fat, get a little exercise, and she doesn’t want to see me for six months. 


After my appointment, I drove straight to the grocery store! I don’t mess around. The thing is it’s not considered abnormal to walk away with a deli sandwich, an entire roasted chicken, a pint of pasta salad, and a few boxes of sushi. I am an emotional eater, celebratory and otherwise.

What if we figured out a way to harness our emotions instead of gorging on them? What if instead of breaking each other down we built each other up. What if we allowed every experience to break open our hearts, and like the Campbell Police, protect and serve each other. 

This is the human predicament. We might forget, but we are connected in ways we’re only beginning to understand. And I have to believe this is how we suffered, died and rose again with that innocent man from Bethlehem. 

We are wonderfully and gloriously made, one creation, one heart, with a singular purpose. If you only get one chance to touch each other, do so tenderly, with great love.

With three simple words, “it is done,” he put everything into place, once and for all.

I’m Living in the Gap, touching things once, join me in the comments. 


Leave a Comment

  1. I respect, admire, and bow to your “touch it once” policy. I’ve never lived by that mantra, but sure do wish it was part of my DNA. I am in the process of learning to leave every room better than you found it every day. My back may not allow me to vacuum, but I can throw away a piece if paper, etc.
    I allow myself grace to leave some things until morning time when I feel better.
    Wonderful news about your book ready for the world in June. May it be a blessing to you and the world.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Lauren. I was born with the “touch it once policy” embedded in my DNA and sadly some people consider it a flaw! Bahaha! I like your rule, “leave every room better than you found it,” that can be applied to just about every situation. In fact, it’s the Girl Scout motto. I think when you struggle with back issue the sensible thing is to get help and let the rest go. Your health and well-being is the most important. Not the house, potholder, or spare glasses! Thanks for the kind words about my little dream coming true! May it be a blessing indeed! Hugs, C

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh my goodness ~ Deidre! It’s you! I miss you too as if I left my slightly deranged sister behind. Hope you are well and thriving even though I’m no longer available to giggle, gossip, and gab with. It’s a sacrifice but they had to get rid of one of the old broads! Okay, I’ve been checking out your jean source! Damn! The prices are extraordinary! I found several pairs that might even annoy by daughters! “It is done.” Love you, C


  2. Jeans go out of style? 😂 Dishes in the sink make me crazy especially with the dishwasher so close. I’m glad SWAT didn’t mistake you for the bad guys. Congratulations on both your manuscript and your health!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Diane, and no, how can jeans go out of style? It’s sacrilegious to say such a thing. The thing about dishes is they multiply and apparently I am the only one who understands the complexity of a dishwasher. How the rest of them function in the world is beyond me? I am bullet free, healthy enough, and ready to publish. Enjoy your weekend! Hugs, C


  3. I don’t even own a pair of jeans, and neither does my wife, so we have no denim suggestions for you.
    Glad to hear the tests were all good.
    When your book is published I will do a blog feature on it for you.
    Best wishes, Pete. x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Now Pete, no jeans, it’s so European. They’re awesome, soft, comfy, and last quite a long time! If you live in California you have to have at least one pair! I was thrilled with the test results considering so many things can get out of whack as we age! I even have enough vitamin D! What a relief. Thank you a million times over for the offer to feature my new book on your blog! That would be fabulous and much appreciated Pete. I’m overjoyed! Hugs, C

      Liked by 2 people

  4. My favourite jeans went threadbare on my knees, then the threads separated all together. I bought some flowery patches from Etsy and they’ve done the job. Jeans resurrection! I bought some new ones too, but they’re not as comfy so I only wear those for going out. Congrats on getting great feedback on your upcoming book!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Fraggle you are so creative! Patches! Brilliant! My rip was not so easy to patch or shall we say it’s where the sun don’t shine! Jean resurrection, I love that! My new pair comes on Monday. I’m praying it fits, I bought a size up so they should be quite roomy! Cheers to our cherished denim! Hugs, C

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Another empath, it certainly is an interesting gift, one that keeps on giving like it or not! In the classroom it can be daunting! Oh my, I want a picture of you when you’re holding my book, or a Reel, and I will do the same with yours! Like-minded writing buddies indeed! Love to you my friend, C

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh, C! How do I even begin? Friend, you’re one of the most sharing writers I’ve ever known. Why? Because you’re an amazing human that can place into words so many things that us, your fans and readers, “get”! We get it! You so beautifully wrapped up the harshness of humanity with humor and HEART! It is done! AND in June, I will race to be the first buyer!!!!! You’re famous to me friend. And just hearing you say, “Branson” makes my heart jump just knowing you’ll be so close to me; even if I don’t “see” you! Sending you much love, hugs, and prayers! 💛💕❤️🤗

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi K! I’m so glad you stumbled on my blog or I stumbled on yours and we found a voice in each other that speaks to our hearts! I too, love the honesty in your writing and how it resonates with so many others. Some weeks are more difficult than others but being able to open it up on a blank page, explore the emotions, wrap it in love makes all the difference. Thanks for the kind words and support of my book making it’s way into the world means a lot to me. Thank you. And yes, Branson, I’m excited. We’ll be in Missouri for a wedding a month later and I think we might have time to gather! Love and hugs to you, xxoo, C

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m so glad we found each other, too. When I “found” my voice, I knew it wouldn’t resonate with everyone. But I also knew that even if one could relate, one person could connect that would make me feel less “alien” in this world, then my writing would be worth it. I appreciate you. Thanks for connecting with this nobody from Missouri. 😘🙃 have the most fun in Branson~you’ll “rock” any jeans you wear! I attended Branson’s Music Festival yesterday and the night before. It hasn’t been held since pre-pandemic! I was blown away at the talent and was able to see a taste of shows I’ve never seen, although I’ve grown up here! Sending mucho love and hugs! 🥰❤️🤗 🎶

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I agree, if one person is positively effected by something I wrote it’s all worth it! It’s why we write, connection, knowing we’re not alone in the world. I’ve heard about the Branson Music Festivals! How fun that must have been! And BTW you are not a nobody from Missouri, you are KL Hale, a person of incomparable worth. Hugs, C

          Liked by 1 person

        2. That touches my heart, C. Thank you so very much. I must share I have Covid and am very miserable. I jumped on here to respond and send hugs. I’ve never known a sickness like this. My fever broke this morning and I pray it doesn’t come back. The head and body aches are unbelievable. I’m praying I’ve seen the worst in two days but have zero energy. I’ll give myself plenty of time to heal as I take all the right things. And drinking tons of water and resting. Love you, C. 💛💚❤️

          Liked by 1 person

        3. I’m so sorry to hear this Karla! I’ll be sending multiple waves of prayer as you focus on recovering from this brutal virus. Yes, rest, water, broth, and sleep. Be good to you my friend. Love you, xxoo, C

          Liked by 1 person

      1. My husband is a dropper. Instead of fighting about it I just go through the apartment at night and put everything in the basket. He’s never changing this habit of dropping….

        Liked by 1 person

  6. What a wonderful post! I am so excited about your book! Also, I still wear skinny jeans and love them! I love how you end the post with “touching each other once, tenderly and with love”. So good and something I want to remember. Wishing you a terrific weekend! Best Wishes! Leigh

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Leigh, sorry about the delayed response, we had a biking event that interrupted my normal routine! So glad to hear I won’t be the only one walking around in “skinny jeans.” I’m sorry, but they are the most flattering style, and I’m not ready to give them up! You pulled out my favorite part of the post, “touching each other once, tenderly and with love.” You do this so well. Hugs, C

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Nana, sorry for the delayed response, that Chico ride was all consuming. Let’s pray I get everything done so I can launch my dream! I appreciate the support. Hugs, Cheryl


    1. Hi Pooja, you’re right, it’s all about the mom jeans! I’m amazed how fast the fashions change, just when I get used to some new style, it’s gone! Sticking with what I know during these crazy times! Meth labs, what’s up with that? Hugs, C

      Liked by 1 person

  7. What a lovely post, Cheryl. So many parts I can relate to, right down to the wrapper on the counter next to the trash can, and the skinny jeans are out? When did that happen? But more so, the spongy empathy, the questions about what it means to be conscious, and how to best navigate this wondrous gift of life. I love the humor too. A delightful read. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you D. I’m so glad this resonated with you, but sorry it was “wrappers on the counter next to the trash!” I don’t believe in fashion, if it fits, and it’s not ripped I’m wearing it! Proudly. You do have a way with words. Spongy empathy, consciousness, the gift of life ~ you found the core of the message and maybe a little humor. Thank you for the thoughtful comment and kind words. It means the world to me. Hugs, C

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Oh my! Where do I begin? SO many thoughts! First, you were wise to be alert and cautious while walking by the SWAT team. While it may have been “just” a drug bust, I’m pretty sure drug dealers have been known to come out shooting and people high on drugs are completely and totally unpredictable, so the scenario may have played out differently and much less safely. It is sad we have to even think about this in our “safe” cities here in Silicon Valley, but we do. I could go on about this…but I don’t want to get political. Suffice to say a healthy dose of heightened awareness and caution is a good thing and may very well keep that worrisome expiration day at bay.
    Next, skinny jeans for the win!!! Whoever decided that skinny jeans are “out” is just wrong. Simple as that. Skinny jeans make us look, well…skinny! Or close enough. I see plenty of people ignoring that new fashion advice and sticking with the tried and true skinnies and I will forever be one of those people.
    Finally, you are speaking my language, girlfriend! Sensitive, boundaries, empathy…I am SO with you on this. Are we twins separated at birth? Over the weekend, I had encounters (both in person and virtually) with at least four friends going through extremely difficult times – serious illness, grief, marriage difficulties…I listened, sympathized and gave each of them as much support as I could. And then, I had a bit too much wine each night afterwards, to calm down my empath. I needed Monday just to rest from taking on all that sadness. Boundaries? Yes, please.
    Hugs from one empath to another,

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello to my sister from another mother. I love this, “a healthy dose of heightened awareness and caution is a good thing and may very well keep that worrisome expiration day at bay.” Amen! And if meth labs weren’t bad enough, now my skinny jeans are out? I’m not having it! When you’re an empath you have to protect yourself, because you can become the garbage can for other people’s problems, and those emotions are difficult to process. Wine helps. Obviously people have identified you as a safe place to land their problems. I imagine you are tenderly supportive and kind. Remember to take care of yourself in the process! Love and hugs coming your way Delene, xxoo, C


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