Confessions of an incompetent homeowner

Photo by Joshua Rondeau on Unsplash

WHEN I GOT DIVORCED AND BOUGHT A HOUSE, my ex said to me, “I can’t wait until it snows and you have to shovel. I’m going to bring a chair over to sit and watch!”

Yes, he had done most of the snow removal during our marriage, but it’s not…

The value of examining your core beliefs regularly

(Photo by Daniel Mingook Kim on Unsplash)

The world is flat.

Applying leeches will get rid of a patient’s illness.

If someone takes your picture, they’ll steal your soul.

At one time, each of these statements was believed by groups of people. Today, we scoff at these theories because we know them to be untrue.

But the…


From strangers to teammates: the magic of common purpose

(Photo by Daniel Frank from Pexels)

A quick trip to the fitness center tonight turned into a life-saving adventure that brought together a motley cast of characters who dispersed as quickly as they banded together.

As I cut through a gentrified 1940s neighborhood to avoid closed roads, a mottled, shaggy dog trotted toward me, right down…


Hope you enjoyed your retirement. Now, back to work!

“Would you like a hot apple or cherry pie with that?” Photo by Roland Kay-Smith on Unsplash

In a stunning move, the Biden administration today unveiled a plan to end labor shortages, which have plagued restaurants, retail operations, and the trades over the past year.

“Throughout history, the American people have applied creativity and pragmatism to solving problems,” said President Biden. …


Coping strategies for fellow strugglers

Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

It happened twice in the last 12 hours: once in a restaurant bathroom and once at the grocery store bottle return station. And it’s happened hundreds of times before.

I approach a sink, place my hands under the faucet, and the water magically turns on. A modern engineering miracle that…


A woman who found good and wonder in everything

Photo by Belinda Fewings on Unsplash

When my mom passed suddenly three weeks ago, our family was stunned. We expected her to be around a few more years, but we have come to accept that it was her time. My brother, sister, and I each shared stories of our beloved mother at her funeral. …


And, of course, she left us with a story

Mom, mid-laugh. Photo by Andy Greenwell.

We got the call Tuesday morning. Mom had passed overnight…very suddenly. She was 88. She had some health issues, but nothing imminently threatening. We thought we had three or four more years with her. At least.

As with every aspect of her life, even her death was a story. She…

Sometimes, it’s not about us

(Photo by Joshua Olsen on Unsplash)

“Do you like your job, Tina?”

My grandfather asked me the question at dinner after my first day of a professional conference — my first as a young communications pro. I’d found one in Phoenix so that I could stay and spend time with my grandparents. They’d moved there after…

Space + air = life

Photo by Christina Victoria Craft on Unsplash

I lay still in a reclined chair, a clear plastic hood inches from my face. The sound of my own breathing was absurdly magnified inside the bubble. I could hear nothing but rushing air, labored and echoey. Would there be enough air for me after the next breath? Or the…

Sometimes all you can do is be strong

(Photo by Janosch Diggelmann on Unsplash)

My beloved’s mother is dying. Her incredible strength is fading — a stoic woman whose own mother died when she was five, who lost her daughter to a drunk driver, who raised a special-needs son in a small, rural town with no support or resources, who helped three children become…

Tina L. Smith

Writer, humorist, animal lover, lifelong language geek (er, I proofread for fun). I write on diverse topics that catch my fancy. Everything but haiku(tm). [she]

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