FEEL GOOD FRIDAY: Urs and Crafs.


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by Dave Markwell

The day began as a dud and pretty much held its course firm. The rain did not stop. In fact, at times it conjured up grainy images of the Gilligan’s Island opening when the Minnow was getting tossed around in the turbulent sea. The sun was vacant, with not even a sliver of bright light to deliver any hope. It just plain sucked.

Days like this affect me. I get mad. By mad, I mean angry, not insane. I get impatient and frustrated and live with a furrowed brow. I have self-diagnosed “seasonal affective disorder.” Using this confirmed malady used to garner some sympathy from my wife, but like other things, this, too, has lost its cuteness to her. Now, she just tells me to “shut up and deal with it,” when I start complaining or just mope around the house. No one much cares that the weather has such an impact on me, though this is likely due to the fact that they think it sucks, too.

On days like this, I only have one remedy. This is to bust the glass on my “emergency kit.” When faced with a prolonged absence of any substantial sunshine and my disorder begins to really wreak havoc on my relationships, I turn to my old “tried and trues.” I slip a little Jimmy Buffet into my CD player and pull on my old Snoloha hoodie and let it go. I feel the beach and the warm sand and let thoughts of a beach bar and a boat drink carry me away with the tide. I sit in my chair and let the soft, tropical breeze sweep me into a better state of mind. If I can’t change the actual state I live in, I can change my state of mind. And I do, happily, both for me and those around me.

While lost in my little island fantasy, I opened my eyes to the cluttered house and saw a small plastic bin sitting on the table, no doubt left there by one of the two big-time mess-makers in my house. My kids CANNOT put anything away after using it, EVER. I have yelled and I have cried trying to impart some small lesson in tidiness, though as I trip over my shoes left in the middle of the floor, I understand that their sloppiness is my fault. Add it to the list.

As I looked at the plastic bin, I noticed the words “urs and crafs” scribbled in black Sharpie on the side. “Urs and Crafs,” what???, I wondered. Then, though still mired in the hole of my climatic depression, I began to laugh. “Urs and Crafs” is “arts and crafts” as spelled by my then four, now twelve, year old son. He was very phonetic in his early writing efforts and has delivered some legendary notes. I forget these beautiful things and am pleasantly surprised when they reach out and smack me out of a bad day.

The afternoon, from this moment on, was transformed. Though the rain continued, I felt better. This simple, little mood-shaking moment changed things. Simple, little mood-shaking things always change things. It is important, when faced with these things, to accept them and let them do their thing. Don’t fight them. They are bigger, stronger and better than any troublesome BS we deal with. Open eyes see many things and most of them are pretty great.

The rest of my day carried on without incident, except for getting yelled at by my wife for leaving my shoes in the middle of the floor.

[EDITOR'S NOTE:"Feel Good Friday" is a regular column written by Des Moines resident Dave Markwell, who extols to all neighbors: "Enjoy where we live. Put your feet on the pavement and truly feel how great it is to live here!" Also, you can "friend" Dave on Facebook here. Or work out with him at his new exercise company Waterland CrossFit!]

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