Coming up Millhouse

I’ve been quiet for a number of reasons. It’s our busy season at work. All day long and some nights too, it’s like a game of Tapper, only instead of demanding customers, I deal in manila folders that seem to multiply when my back is turned. Fun fact for those of you old enough to remember Tapper: did you know that poor, overworked bartender slung root beers in many arcade versions of the game because the original was seen as advertising alcohol to minors? As if anyone could get that excited over root beer.

I’ve been quiet too because every time I’ve gone to write something, it’s felt too small or too loose or too old-hat. But sober blogs are different from regular ones, and I think people worry more when transmission suddenly slows or stops.

I am not drinking, nor am I feeling stirrings or cravings or longings to drink, which is notable because life has been serving up its usual. Instead, I’m comforted by the distinct feeling that everything is turning out exactly as it should.

In our house, we still quote lines from old Simpsons episodes. We also still have an old cat that collapses on my pillow every night and sneezes terrible wet sneezes in my face while I try to sleep, and we keep him around too. Love is like that. One of my favorite Simpsons’ lines is “Everything is coming up Millhouse” and you can see it in context here. It means everything is coming up in your favor. I’ve thought that line in my head so many times lately. I can relate to hapless Millhouse in many ways, but his unsquashable optimism endears me most.

Life can be hard. Whether you drink or don’t drink, people will get sick and sometimes even die, coworkers and grating relatives will stir up trouble when you least have time and energy to deal with it, kids and pets will ring up huge dentist and vet bills.  You still have to deal with all of this and look for that one glimmer of good to mine and hold onto.

My week turned rocky Tuesday (always with the Tuesdays, I’m telling you) and by Wednesday it was looking better and by Thursday everything was coming up Millhouse again. The universe took care of me through supportive friends and family and even a friendly mechanic and librarian and shopkeeper and all the other beautiful souls I encountered yesterday. It was not always like this, but lately it seems to be.

Yesterday as I was walking down Main Street in the next town, it took me back over 20 years ago when I was a foreign exchange student living in Australia. My host family was an Anglican minister and his wife and small children, and they were just about the nicest people I’ve ever known, and they were mine for 6 months. They lived a block from main street of a small town that had everything you needed and a couple things you didn’t but were happy to have anyway. There were two pubs in town, and I got served in both because of the lower drinking age, but that’s not why I fell in love with Australia. It was the people. I thought they were the friendliest people I’d ever met and I thought it was because they were Australian.

Yesterday on main street (usa), I had a lovely chat with a librarian who remembered reading a book I was checking out for my daughter. Then I stopped in a quiet gift shop and met a disarmingly friendly shopkeeper and then walked back over to pick my car up from being serviced at the same dealership that calls to wish you a happy birthday. Australians are nice, no doubt, but so is most everyone when you treat them with kindness and respect.  This feeling of connection with the world around me is the best tool I have available to me right now. I can only do so much to stay afloat on my own when things get rough. I am becoming more comfortable letting people I trust know when I’m struggling. In turn, I am more freely giving my own love and compassion to the world.

So that’s kind of what’s been going on lately. Good stuff, kinda bad stuff, life stuff. This weekend I’m taking my girls to spend time with my sister and grandmother. I’m excited about this in a way I wasn’t the last time I made the trip in July. I’m learning to get over myself and think about other people first. This is not so hard to do, but it gets easier as I do it more because life turns out beautifully.

Hope you all are well (especially all you quiet bloggers out there)…have a wonderful weekend.


8 thoughts on “Coming up Millhouse

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  1. Dentist bills. Vet bills. Yes and yes. And I agree with you about kindly people. They are all around us. We just need to be willing to slow down and notice them.


  2. OH, this is lovely. I’m not sure exactly why but this is lovely – thanks. You know, us New Zealanders live close to Australia and we’re just as lovely!!!!! And on the lovely front .. the new background here is lovely. You’re right though. Life can be hard, and I’m still constantly amazed that us sober people have decided to tackle it head-on, rather than hiding behind a fog of booze. Yay for us. Yay for you xxxx


  3. I don’t remember that Tapper game. I rocked Frogger and Pong and Donkey Kong and all that stuff. Root beer huh? I liked root beer as a kid because Snoopy from Peanuts would always get a root beer in a dirty glass. My favorite soda is probably a diet A&W root beer.

    I haven’t felt super inspired to write, which is why I kinda pushed out a couple feature pieces I had saved in drafts. I mean I can go on and on and on about stuff, but yeah, I feel like it’s a little small or unfocused, so I can totally understand.

    I tend to think one teaches others how to treat them. If you are nice and courteous to others, they usually treat you the same way. There are soooo many nice people out there, just waiting for a chance to be nice to someone. What book did you get at the library?

    My cat has been perching up at the top of my chair lately and putting his paws on my shoulder and meowing right into my ear (the cat is the most talkative cat Ever). It’s really cute, but it drives me batty sometimes; I will miss it when he is gone though so I try to soak it all in.

    Simpsons = Donuts and saxophones and slupees to me. Needless to say, I love all of those things, so I love the Simpsons.

    Really loved the post bbb, thank-you! Glad you are doing so well!


  4. I like to think when I walk down “Main Street” people are kinder these days because they can see I’ve got something they want. I’m going to steal that Simpson quote and use it around my kids, they’ll think I’m cool. “Cool” is probably sadly outdated too isn’t it? Oh well, they don’t expect their mom to be “with it” and I’m cool with that.
    I think we’re all burrowing in, getting ready for winter, slowing down and getting real comfy with our sobriety wrapped around us like an old quilt. Let’s not get too comfortable though.


  5. You summed it up so nicely. “I’m learning to get over myself and think about other people first and how beautifully things turn out when I do this. This is not so hard to do, but it gets easier as I do it more.” I’ve been mulling over some ideas lately and you nailed it for me with this post. I just realized why I delay reading posts…. I like to see what’s on other people’s minds and what resonated in the author’s post. Back to the family … I shall focus on giving for the pure pleasure of giving. Thank you. Lisa


  6. It gives me a warm fuzzy feeling to know you had a wonderful time in Australia! 🙂 I agree with the folks above – sometimes a little kindness can open up the most amazing responses in others. Try chatting to the folk in Scotland omg, they go so out of their way to be helpful. It really is wonderful to experience.

    “I am becoming more comfortable letting people I trust know when I’m struggling.” This is a huge one for me, so it’s nice to know i’m not the only one who struggles with that. xo


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