Limitation or Opportunity? You Decide

I have been short all my life.

When I was born to my four-foot-ten-inch mother, I was an average size baby. But then genetics kicked in and I only grew to my predetermined four-foot-eleven-inch height (but I’m taller than my mom!). I have to delve deeply into the family gene pool to find a tall person, so this was really not a surprise to me or anyone else. And, quite honestly, I’ve never viewed myself as a short person. I’m just me.

Part of the reason for my height perspective comes from one of those mom sayings, you those things you hate as a child but help for who you are as an adult. She would say, “I can do anything a tall person can do I just have to drag a stool with me.” Growing up with that kind of can do attitude had a profound impact on me and all the foot stools in my life. The only thing I really dislike about being short is that weight is a much harder issue to manage than for taller folks. I suppose if I actually took steps to do something about it – like, ummmm, exercise and make better food choices – I would be more successful in this area. Years ago I just accepted that I am built like my Irish/Scottish grandmother and, well, it’s genetics. I know this is a cop out but it is mine and I’m keeping it!

Fast forward to last week when we were house sitting for our daughter. Once I conquered the technology of the house and had a lovely afternoon and dinner with HG (my Hunter-Gatherer husband) it was my favorite time of the day: bed time. Let the dogs out. Wash my face and brush my teeth. Plug in the phone. Adjust the temperature. Ritual complete and time for a snuggly night’s sleep. There’s just one problem. The bed is tall, really, really, tall. I took a step back and evaluated the situation. I could give it a good running start and launch myself in the general direction of the mattress. Does anybody see a problem with this? I’m short. I’m not skinny. And, I’m old and unathletic. Nothing. I repeat nothing about this story is going to have a happy ending. So, I hitch up my jammy bottoms and try to hike my leg up onto the edge of the bed. I got my good knee on the edge but there was no way I had enough leverage to hoist the rest of my body up to the top. The entire time I am clawing and scratching the sheets to get traction HG is laying in bed reading a book! He rolls his head over and says, “Need some help?” I wanted to be snarky but I wanted a good night’s sleep more, so I just grunted, “Yes, please.” Being the gentleman he is, he flung an arm over to me like he was extending a tree branch to a drowning person. I latched on and pulled with all my might and finally landed in bed beside him, and that is exactly where I found myself eight hours later.

I had a situation. I did not want to repeat this scene the next night so in the morning I went in search of an alternative. I found this.

This stool has been around since my daughter was a small child and my youngest granddaughter now uses it. I love all the scratches and marks; reminders that life is meant to be lived and nothing stays pristine unless it remains untouched. Truth be told I worried that my round, adult sized body might be too much for this little stool to bear, but I was wrong. It creaked a little, but it did the job. I was able to get into bed all by myself. I felt proud.
I also used it when I had to get towels out of the washer. Oh, my that is one deep washing machine! 

I suppose I could view my height challenged body as a limitation. There are lots of things I am not good at because of my height and physique. I’ve chosen to not pursue those things in an effort to overcome, but that is a choice. As I said, I don’t really think about it often, but when I do I see my shortness as an opportunity to be creative, ask for help, and be relatable to many folks who would otherwise be intimidated by a tall person. I’m going through a huge life transition right now. Closing a business. Trying to decide what to do next and how that fits into God’s purpose for my life. Worrying too much. Overthinking everything. But when push comes to shove, this time is an opportunity to stretch, grow and discover new things about myself and this crazy, wonderful life I have been given.

Don’t we all have limitations? That is just life, get used to it. It isn’t the limitation, it is whether it is allowed to control or propel us forward…or just onto the bed.
Live, Laugh, Love, ~Sheryl

The Power of the Spoken Word

Vacation time means packing up the family and heading someplace to have fun. Generally speaking, there is as much time spent getting ready and cleaning up at the end as there was fun in the middle. Making arrangements for the family members who must stay home (the four legged ones) is a really big deal. We travelled more when our daughter was at home because we didn’t have to board the dog. Now that she is out on her own, and our dog is joined at the hip with me every day, we are homebodies.

So when our daughter and her family are going on vacation and need help we are more than happy to oblige. There are just a few logical issues involved:

  • They live an hour away from us.
  • They have three dogs and a rabbit.
  • One of the dogs is a very old and sweet, but very large Labrador Retriever. They are caring for this dog for a family member and she has been through lots of turmoil lately.

Under normal circumstances we would just bring the animals here, but with the lab in the mix, this was not going to be a good idea. Maggie is not fond of large dogs and feels compelled to let them all know she is present and in charge. So, the only solution is for us to go there and house and pet sit for them. Let the games begin!

I packed to travel fifty miles across town like I was going half way around the world. Like all self respecting fiber fanatics, I packed my spinning and knitting first, then came the clothes. I planned on staying in the house most of the time so PJ’s would be my wardrobe staple. Two bags of entertainment and one bag of clothes seemed about right. Grab the dog, and off we go.

There are some places I can relax in and feel right at home – my mom’s house, my in-laws home, when they were alive, was a favorite, and my brother’s home are all places I love to go to decompress and I actually feel like I’ve had a vacation. So, why can’t I do this at my daughter’s house? I feel like company and I’m always uncomfortable. It is strange. But, I digress…

I pride myself on being a rather hip and with-it kind of near sixty year old woman. I know my way around technology. I’m on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. I’ve set up and run websites and have been a business owner. So, I should be able to handle most anything, right? Yeah, that is what I thought too. But to be safe I wanted a tour of the alarm system, the TV, and other things I thought might trip me up. While I was getting my tutorials my son-in-law was scurrying around trying to get everyone loaded in the car and out the door. Mix in a whining thirteen year old, barking dogs, and two younger girls both needing something from mom at that precise moment…it was mild chaos. Not wanting to appear old and unable to manage things I assured them I had it and shuttled them out the door.

Once on my own I first turned on the TV. Score! The coolest function they have with their cable provider is a remote you can talk to and it finds the channel. No scrolling up and down because I didn’t know the number. So, all is now well. I’ve got my shows, my knitting, and something cold to sip on. Life is good. Until I got hot. I tried talking to Google but that didn’t work, so I went to the thermostat. 

The first time we visited after the kids bought this house I was impressed with their Nest thermostat. It lights up whenever someone walks by. Cool. This is the one thing I didn’t ask about. When I look at it there is no obvious way to adjust it, and where I got the idea you adjust the temperature by talking into the darn thing is beyond me. Maybe I got so excited over talking to the remote that I thought I could just talk to anything in this house and it would do what I said. Such an amazing super power! Do you see where I’m going with this? 

Yes, you guessed it. I stood in front of the thermostat saying “72 degrees,” “cool to 72 degrees,” “turn on cool.” Thank goodness I was alone. I texted my daughter and asked how to do it. She explained you simply rotate the ring and it changes the temperature. I told her what I had been doing, laughing so hard at myself I almost had a personal issue. She had not even finished typing “it will be our secret” when the thirteen year old texts me, “OMGGGG HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA YOU WERE TALKING TO THE NEST” followed by laughing with tears emojis. So now, every time I see this commercial I see myself trying to cool the house with just the power of my voice. 

Ahhhh, it is humbling to be human.

Next up will be the travails of being short.

Laugh, Love, Live….Sheryl