Sunday, December 03, 2006

List of Haves and Wants

I snagged this list from Suze, and immediately grokked its contemplative nature of self-discovery. If you are so inclined, consider yourself tagged. Enjoy!

Five things I want but do not have:
1) A garage. I'm tired of having walnuts fall and dent my car, and I'm tired of tracking mud into both car and house when the weather turns shitty. I hate scraping in the winter. I would love to take down the big pine tree in the back yard and have a 2-car garage built in its stead. Simple, clean lines that evoke the quasi-folk craftsman style of our house, two storeys, with a studio on the 2nd floor. We could move ALL our music shit - books, flutes, drums, keyboards, all of it - to that space, and really feel like we had a place to be to get work done, a place we could LEAVE when it's time to "come home."
2) A new Kiss album, by the original Kiss members. Little esoteric here, since this isn't something I really CAN have. But, while I'm sure would be nice to have Peter, Paul, Gene & Ace drop their inter-band B.S. and just put out an album with contributions from ALL members, each playing & singing songs. I really feel like that is what I've missed the most about Kiss since the late-70s: at least the impression of unity and equality. I love the 80s stuff as well...but the nothing-but-Paul-and-Gene-songs only goes so far.
3) Tenure. My job is great: I teach classes I really like, and I'm having a ball with my private composition students. And I know that most workers don't have the kind of reliable job security that tenure represents. Whatever. The job I'm in, tenure is there, and it's kind of the "golden ring" all professors strive for. I want it. I've been at CMU for nine years, and there's no real worry that I'd be let go. But...well, there's always that "but," isn't there? If I had tenure, not only would I have that job security, I'd also have that implied pat-on-the-back we all seem to secretly crave from our employers.
4) More time to write. I want to write symphonies, and pop songs, and chamber music, and etude books for every instrument that introduces young players to modern music in a way that doesn't scare the shit out them. I also like being lazy, and watching movies, and spending time with friends. Hmmm...what to do, what to do?
5) A usable basement. Don't get me wrong: I love our house. Built in 1900, it carries a lot of old-school charm and is VERY amenable to renovation. But, the basement is this mish-mash of poured concrete, block, stone, and (frighteningly) wood. I visit friends who live in newly-built houses of such bland disposability...then I go down into their luxurious basements with 8' ceilings and smooth walls & floors, all dry and just WAITING for a home theater, recording studio, exercise room...and I get all jealous. Maybe I could somehow build a large underground complex UNDER our house, stretching all over the back yard. And put a garage right over top. (See item #1 above.)

Five things I have but do not want:
1) A black walnut tree. See above with regards to my dented car. Beyond that, the nuts themselves are a total pain in my ass (and back!) as I have to pick them up a dozen times a year, and in the fall they keep us awake when they bang on the porch roof all night long. It draws a huge oodle of squirrels from all over the county, who, having depleted the nuts in short order, set forth to rooting around for my tulip bulbs. The long leaf stems clog up my gutters, leading to occasional water in the basement. I hate to kill a VERY healthy tree for seemingly petty reasons...but I want it gone. Yesterday, if possible.
2) A mess o'grading. Yeah, I know, it comes with the job...but, I really do resent having to take THIS much work home with me. Tess and I are grading fiends; when friends of ours talk about all the time they have to read, or play video games, or go out clubbing, we just freeze our faces into a rictus of a grin and get out the ol' red pens and settle in for a cozy evening of correcting the mind-boggling array of mistakes and grammatical mishaps our students present to us. I suppose we could simply NOT give homework...but then, what do you base a grade on? If you feel so inclined to riff on the subject of eliminating grades altogether, feel free...been there, done that.
3) Middle-aged flub. Yeah, okay, I should stop eating cheese and dark M&Ms. While I'm at it, I should have the metabolism I did when I was 21. Joining a gym should help, and really, I don't need Usherian washboard abs...I'd just like to feel toight like a toiger again. Whatever.
4) A long commute. 45 minutes each way, and yeah, I live where I do by choice. I also sometimes appreciate the "alone time" that driving can deliver. But, if we could each live 15 minutes away from work (maybe by folding the map somehow?) there would be more time for writing. Or reading. Or staring adoringly into each others' eyes...whatever! Just less time on my car-seat-flattened ass! Especially when the roads start to get slick. 'Cause, yeah, that's what I want to do: slide off the expressway for a tenure-less job. Moving on...
5) Anal retentiveness. I like my personality, but sometimes I wish I could just be a little more "go with the flow" in terms of life. As it is, I like to know where I'll be, what I'll be doing, and when I'll move on to the next thing. I like order, and schedule, and finishing one thing before moving on to the next. If plans change on me suddenly I get antsy, and I let those changes throw my whole day out of whack. Lighten up, Harding. It's...okay.

Five things I do not want and do not have:
1) A treadmill. We waffled on this item as our "big gift to each other" this year, talking about how much we wanted to spend and where we'd put it. Then, we read in the local paper a story about how the Clinton Memorial Wellness Center had recently opened a fitness room that is open to the public, and all our planning got flushed. This new place is awesome: all state-of-the-art equipment, treadmills with individual TV screens, and a mess o'weightlifting machines. It's 5 minutes from home, and a couples membership is $350 a year. Done.
2) A bigger office. This seems counter-intuitive - perhaps especially to anyone who has been IN my little pie-slice of an office - but I love my space. It's little, it's cozy, and it's WAAAYYY down at the end of the hall, where no one comes unless they're coming to see me or to leave the building. I could stand some more bookshelves, but I don't need a grand piano, or a couch, or whatever. Let me be.
3) Pessimism. Again, that's a little esoteric; I'm just glad to generally be an upbeat, happy, grin-&-shrug kind of guy.
4) A debilitating or life-threatening affliction. Seems obvious on the face of it, but sometimes I take my general good health and mobility for granted. This item is especially difficult sometimes because, despite an overall optimism, I sometimes can be a bit of a hyperchondriac.
5) A pissy, manipulative boss. Some folks at work are at odds with our department chair, but I like the guy. He's big and bearded and amiable. He has back problems, which isn't great for HIM but gives us common ground. He likes me, and he likes the job I do, and he tells me so. That makes CMU a nicer place to work.

Five things I want to have...and do!
1) A happy & fulfilling marriage. I've been coupled a LOT of times, and many of those other girls made me think "okay, she's the one." Yeah. Not so much. I put off finding "the right one" a lot longer than most of my friends...but I've also spared myself a messy divorce or an unhappy home life. The security of coming Home - with a capital "H" - to someone I'm crazy about is better than any job tenure could ever be.
2) My grandparents. My mom was relatively young when she conceived, and her mother was even younger. Consequently, my grandparents are still in their seventies. There's a little age-induced dementia & general forgetfulness sometimes, but they're still here and I've gotten to know them as an adult...something most of my friends never had the chance to do with their grandparents.
3) Good friends. 'Nuff said.
4) My hair. God, that's vain! And, I've mentally moved beyond the point of thinking I'm defined by my ever-silvering ponytail.'s comforting, laying there all heavy & warm. Mildly receding temples aside, I'm pretty hirsute for late-30s. And, where it counts...which is on top of my head, and not sprouting out of my shoulders & lower back.
5) Anticipation. I'm lucky: a fun event for me is enjoyable for weeks before it actually occurs. This is especially good when the grading & other mundane day-to-day worries start to bog me down mentally. I can always think "Well, that's okay: in two week's we're spending the weekend at Amanda & Joel's, and we'll go record shopping and drink wine and all sorts of good stuff." Then, when the fun event is OVER, there's usually something still on the horizon, which keeps me from gettin' the blues.


Blogger Tess said...

Stare lovingly inyo each other's eyes?!

9:04 AM  
Blogger L*I*S*A said...

Isn't 'a mini Tess or Scott' missing from the Want, but Do Not Have list?

Just bustin' your balls...

9:16 AM  
Blogger Steph said...

Nice little positive addition to the original template. I'm working on my list now.

6:09 PM  
Blogger Suze said...

guess i better add the positive 5 things to my list now, lest i appear to be negative and cynical and shallow :)

8:13 PM  

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