Handling My Business 

If you know me in the flesh-and-blood world, you have probably heard me say more than once that I need a cabana boy. I say that somewhat embarrassingly often. I say it when I’m feeling overwhelmed with all the things I need to carry or all the things I need to keep track of, or all the things that need doing around my house. I say it when I wish I could just sit down — or, preferably, recline — and wave dismissively at some ready, willing, and able soul. To just say, “Handle it, handle it!” in the fashion of Mayor Burnside from Robert Guillaume’s Benson. (And I specifically wish for this assistance in the form of a cabana boy because … why not? Why shouldn’t my “handle it” guy be an attractively-muscled, scantily-clad young man? Seriously.)

Today I sat down to my microwave-reheated lunch, took a taste, and sighed. On Sunday I made a big pot of pumpkin, sweet potato, peanut soup. And last night I made some whole wheat biscuits. And today I put some sour cream in my heated soup and that took the soup from “okay” to “perfect”! It’s not super cold today, but the warmth and crushed-red-pepper-supplied heat of the soup felt like wrapping up in a fuzzy blanket on a cushy couch.

And I thought about what I’m calling out for when I say I want a cabana boy. I want someone to take care of me, want someone to step in and make sure that I’m going to be comfortable and well-fed and that details like bill-paying and tax-filing will just happen off-stage where I don’t have to worry about them. I want to be taken care of.

And of course, what is true is that I have to be my own cabana boy. No one is going to step in and hangle any of the myriad things that need handling.

And that’s exhausting — yes, this is kind of a companion piece to my “wine + popcorn = dinner” post from a few nights ago. It is exhausting. And I get it wrong a lot of the time. Really wrong. I don’t cook, I don’t get enough sleep, I don’t keep up with my chores at home … I don’t and don’t and don’t.

And I feel the difference. In my level of exhaustion, in my disappointment with one more lunch from the Japanese bakery, one more slice of pizza with watery sauce, one more over-priced salad. I feel the difference in how cranky I get.

But today I tasted that first spoonful of soup, and I was hit by the realization that this has to be a big part of what self care means for me. Yes, I need sleep, and I need time with my family and friends and time to write and quiet time at home … but I also need this back-to-basics kind of care taking. Feeding myself is such an obvious thing … but it’s also easy to push aside when I don’t have a lot of time. So lately I’ve been making time. Making time to cook for myself, being sure to bring healthy snacks with me to work, always having fruit in the house … That, as much as I might be grateful to have someone step in and handle things, I don’t need a cabana boy. I already am my own damn cabana boy. I know what I need, and lately I’ve been doing a pretty good job of making sure I get it. It’s still a lot of work — I’m nothing if not high maintenance — but I’m worth it.

It’s the 10th annual Slice of Life Story Challenge!

Head over to Two Writing Teachers to see all of today’s slices!


12 thoughts on “Handling My Business 

  1. I want the recipe for your pumpkin-sweet potato-peanut soup for my own self-care. Have you tried a nice frittata? Eat a third, hot from the oven, for dinner, eat the other two thirds room temperature (or reheated if you like) for two lunches. Eggs, potatoes, and whatever other vegetables you like to add: mushrooms, sweet peppers, zucchini, fennel, set in the pan, top with some cheese, then under the broiler for a few minutes to brown the top.


    1. I’ll send you the recipe. It’s surprisingly easy to make. And I love frittatas. I went through of phase of making them obsessively a few years ago. I was remembering that last week when I made myself a quiche (zucchini, sun-dried tomatoes, red peppers). I’ll have to make one soon!


  2. I just wanted to say that reading this made me cry. I absolutely needed to know I am not alone in this but I have never found the words like you have. You had me at cabana boy! I swear I could taste the soup as you described it. Be good to yourself:)


    1. Thanks for coming by to read. And I’m glad you like my cabana boy idea! 🙂 I hope you are good to yourself, too. We may not get to have cabana boys, but we can find little ways to pamper ourselves, right?


  3. Ha! At one time or another, especially when we’re feeling stressed and overwhelmed, we would all appreciate having our very own personal cabana boys! (Did you grow up in NY, BTW? Brooklyn? Cabana is such a NY term for me!) And, you’re right. We need to be our own cabana boys – take care of ourselves. Do some small, but significant things that will help us take care of ourselves. Enjoy!


    1. Hi, Elisa. I did grow up in New York … but upstate, not in the City. I live in Brooklyn now, however. I don’t remember when I started talking about cabana boys. It may have been something I learned here!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I hear you on the cabana boy. But at the end of the day, self care is the best care. We need to take the time to do for self, and do it right.

    I will say homemade soup sounds like the perfect thing as we’re bracing to be hit by more snow soon. Maybe I’ll make a pot of stew instead.


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