Home isn’t just where you keep your socks.

I’m in Texas again, whiling away the hours until I leave for Scotland on Tuesday and working on minor renovations—and major cleanings—in my family’s new house in Seminole, Texas. It’s an odd house, with an impractical floor plan and an excessive number of doors leading outside, and when I got here the floors were completely covered in dead insects.

Truth: I’m not brave enough to open all the cabinets and find out what’s living inside them in order to clean them. Sorry, Mom, but most of that is going to be on you when y’all move in.

Anyway, I’m currently curled up on one of the new couches in the living room, and Dad’s not home yet so the house is quiet save for the box fan I have going across the room and the rattle of the AC vents. It’s…strangely pleasant. Strange because it’s a pretty big change from the chaos and familiarity of the house in California.

But that house has never truly felt like home. The people living there, they’re home. But the house never has been.

I don’t know how your memory works, but I often have strong audial memories, and they’re unfailingly linked to a specific location, usually just one specific glance of a specific location. So I was remembering listening to an episode of some TV show my siblings were watching—Stuck in the Middle on Disney Channel, maybe?—and I was framing the memory in terms of where I was sitting when I heard a particular bit of dialog, when I realized that I was putting myself in the house we moved out of over four years ago, and I heard the episode this summer. My dreams are like that, too: present day occurrences that take place in my childhood home.

Buckboard Drive just never became home.

And I was sitting here just now, listening to the quiet and contemplating the book I’ve been reading, when it dawned on me: this place feels like home. I have been living here since Monday (four days!) and it already feels like home.

And not just because I have my stuff spread out all over the living room (which is functioning as my bedroom.)

I kinda suspect that’ll change when this place is filled with the noise of my family, but it’s a nice feeling for now.

I think…I think it’s because this summer has been so much chaos that I’m just desperate to find a norm, some constant that I can cling to. I know that’s why I’m looking forward to school starting again, even though I’m totally not looking forward to school.

Seminole’s a quiet little town, seemingly equal parts prosperous and poor, and I’m beginning to get the gist of navigating here. Walmart is tiny, probably the tiniest Walmart I’ve ever been in, meaning that I actually had to go to a grocery store to get a lot of types of food instead of just hitting up a one-stop-shop.

I dunno. Small-town life just feels…right.

That sentiment is doing nothing to quiet that little voice inside that insists that I’ve chosen the wrong career path because theatrical success means moving to a theatre hub which means moving to a city. Is Melissa a city girl? I don’t think so.

So…what? I dunno.

I dunno, I dunno, I dunno.

(Also, Word doesn’t know that dunno is an actual thing. Whatever, Word; not knowing that you’re wrong doesn’t make you any less wrong.)

Dad and I have been talking a lot lately.

Not surprising since it’s just the two of us here right now and we keep driving the three-hour round-trip drive to Lubbock.

But, yeah, we’ve been talking.  About a lot of things, but my 5-year plan has come up more than once. It’s all so confusing. But whatever happens, I think I’ll be in Abilene awhile longer. Which is cool. I’m cool with Abilene.

The sun’s getting nearer to setting and I think Dad’ll be home soon. I never know exactly; his work schedule isn’t consistent and then he’s got to drive a ways to get here.

Today I decided that I wanted to name my future dog Toaster. I can’t remember why. I don’t think I knew why. I also don’t know when I’ll get a dog because HSU is dumb and doesn’t let dogs live in campus houses. Which is dumb.

I guess I’ve rambled my way out of pertinent things to say.

Like I said in the beginning, I’m leaving for Scotland on Tuesday and I’ll be there through the 14th. If you want to follow my adventures, I’ll be (trying) to keep everybody updated via THIS OTHER SCOTLAND-SPECIFIC BLOG. I could’ve used this one, but…for why? Plus, this way everything’ll be better organized when my sentimental self wants to reminisce someday. So follow my Scotland blog and have yourselves a merry little Christmas…er…evening. Have yourselves a nice evening. That’s what I meant.

– Melissa E
Check this out! It’s Irish music, rather than Scottish, but I love it.

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the post i actually got typed up (instead of just thinking about it)

Life is never planned.

I mean, perhaps your parents planned to have you, and maybe you even came at the time they were hoping you to.

(I was 10 days late, but born around the time of life that my parents were hoping to have kids. My younger brother was a surprise baby.)

But what I actually am talking about is our absolute inability to dictate how a day is going to transpire.

Sometimes everything goes right.

Sometimes everything goes wrong.

Sometimes life balances precariously in the middle of absolute disaster and absolute ecstasy and there’s nothing but the color of your lens on life to decide which way the scales are going to tip.

Speaking of scales, my youngest sister is learning to play piano and I wish she had a keyboard with headphones.

It’s how you view life that mixes up everything.

Today I got paid way too much to move furniture, far too little (in my opinion) to work a few hours at renovating a house my dad is trying to sell, I took a lovely (though belated and short) nap, and watched bits and fragments of rather uninteresting movies and TV shows on Amazon Prime.

Six months ago, today would have been a bust in my eyes.

Two months ago, I’d probably be curled up in a corner somewhere, trying to remind myself that things are never as bleak as I make them out to be, pep talking myself with the good that I could recognize from today and trying to reason that the good at least balanced out the bad and that today was at least counts as neutral.

Today, however, isn’t six months ago. It isn’t two months ago. It’s today. Here and now in the present.

Today, one of my favorite quotes comes from Owl City: “Every mushroom cloud has a silver lining.” (Which I think maybe I’ve quoted within the confines of this blog before, but it’s still one of my favorites so I’m going to risk redundancy which isn’t really a risk because I have no shame about repeating myself when I’m safely within the confines of my blog.)

Today, I’m fully capable of laughing softly at the misfortunes of today, of grinning joyfully at the unexpected pleasures of today, and of sending nonsense text messages that have very little to do with anything at all sensical.

Sensical is a word. Because nonsensical is a word. Because I say so.

I found a picture last night of a trio of meerkats, dressed and ready for a wedding. There was an officiating clergyman, wearing spectacles and clasping his bible; a bride, clad in a lovely dress and veil and holding a bouquet of roses in her gloved paws; and a groom, spiffy in his tux and bow tie and carrying a rather too large ring in his mouth. It is one of the odder sights that my phone’s screen has presented, but I find the nonsense of the thing perfectly delightful. It made my night last night, and continues to prompt an idiotic grin from me whenever I catch sight of it.

I haven’t really planned for most of what has gone on in my life recently.

Granted, I planned to come home for the summer.

Hallelujah, I’m home for the summer!

And I planned to spend time with my horse.

One forgets the possibility of being so sore after riding until she quits riding for almost a year and then suddenly resumes it with ferocity…

But I hadn’t really anticipated how much adjustment it would take—on the entire family’s part—for long-absent sister to reintegrate herself into the unique (and sometimes volatile) mixture of personalities and emotions within our household. It’s like a daily experiment, and because I never liked science, I never know which chemicals are going to make the other ones explode. Actually, it’s nothing like science. I just felt like saying that. On the bright side, I think all four siblings are on speaking terms with me at the moment. Unless I’ve missed something. Which is entirely possible—life seems at times nothing more than a mad scramble to try not to step on toes.

I also hadn’t really prepared myself for what an analogy of myself my horse provides. Granted, he always has reflected (quite clearly) all the worst parts of me in his stubborn insistence to do things in his own way and his ability to just barely toe the line while still asserting his control over the situation and other lovely tendencies like that, but so long out of the saddle let me forget what a humbling experience trying to work with a horse is. Particularly a horse whose poor training is entirely upon your own head. This summer is going to be a mad scramble to teach an old horse new tricks. Specifically, how to do some very basic maneuvers without grinding his teeth at me.

I have a confession to make:

Humankind is not as idiotic as I usually assert.

It’s only that most of humankind is totally idiotic.

I just keep meeting the exceptions.

I maintain this position because social media and news headlines are both full of records of people doing stupid, stupid, stupid things. Occasionally even my friends decide to dabble in mainstream idiocy and do stupid things. Me included.

But that’s an exception.

Just like the non-idiots are the exceptions.

Hear me: I’m not definitely calling you an idiot. Just vaguely alluding to it in a way that hopefully won’t offend you but will instead demonstrate my general disgust with the majority of society.

We should all keep ducklings to snuggle with.

Ducklings make everything better.

Except for soup.

Never put ducklings in soup.

That’s just cruel and unusual.

Life doesn’t go exactly as we intend it to. But whether the glass is half full, half empty, or full of idiots, God is good and, if you’re looking, you’re sure to glimpse that.

Blessings,
Melissa

Watch this if you need a smile. Also, I can sing ALL of it, including the onomatopoeia and the too-fast-for-belief monologue.