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Category Archives: Health
First off, let me begin by thanking you all for making time in your busy schedules to attend this Family Meeting. I know that since the acquisition of the Nintendo Switch last quarter, many of us have been swamped with Mario Kart and the subsequent onslaught of Mario Kart trash talking.
However, with a new year upon us, I thought it would be a good time for the four of us to sit down and assess, as a family, how we’re doing. Especially as we enter, let’s see… *checks clipboard* …yup, year three of this godforsaken pandemic.
Now, we’ve pushed this off for far too long, so to help keep us on track, I will be using this free employee performance review template I found online. I think we can all agree we don’t want this meeting to devolve into the Good Winners & Losers Discussion/Tater Tot Dodgeball Disaster of 2020.
Alright, let’s see, let’s see. How about we start with something easy? Ah, here we are…
Attendance. Well, pffft. I mean, I think it’s fair to say we’ve all excelled at that. What with all the remote schooling you two did last year, and Daddy working from home since…forever? With his office just RIGHT HERE in the living room. Always typing. And talking with his ZOOM VOICE. When are you going back to the office again, sweetie? Not until spring now? Ah. Awesome. Awesome. Well, it’s a good thing that constantly being around each other in a somehow eternally shrinking house makes the heart grow fonder then.
Okey-dokey, moving on…
Demonstration of core values: Hmm. Do we have core values as a family? Honesty? Meh, I suppose. Cheese? Is that a core value? We did expand to two cheese drawers in the fridge last year. One for fancy cheese and one for peasant cheese. That counts, right?
Communicates clearly: Oh, well, overall I’d say we’ve done pretty well with this one. We are definitely loud. In fact, it’s hard not to hear all the communicating, as our neighbors have informed us many, many times. …What’s that? Ah, yeah, I suppose I could growl less at you. It just gets the point across so effectively, you know? Can I at least hiss? Yes, you can hiss back.
Requires minimum supervision: Nope. Fail. You all fail. Moving on.
Responsiveness in a timely manner: FAIL. Moving on. …Oh, you disagree? Really? Remember when I asked you to clean all the comic books out from under your bed? Three months ago? MOVING. ON.
Works to full potential: Ugh. Who has the time? Next…
Problem solving: This one I feel we actually did pretty decently. We fixed the off-balance dishwasher with the sugar canister and those two menus from Pini’s. The duct tape is holding up the towel rack quite nicely and you can hardly notice the big hole in the ceiling since we glued that piece of cardboard up there.
Takes initiative: I’d like to give a special shoutout to our kindergartner on this one. She definitely took the lead in demonstrating that you can both figuratively AND literally climb the walls if you have a wanton disregard for any and all household items. AND that swinging from the chandelier is not just a fun expression for having a good time. Yes, you’re still grounded.
Deals with conflict: I’ll be honest, we could all use less swords in this area. And Nerf crossbows. Speaking of which, how did we amass so many crossbows? Eighteen seems a bit excessive.
Listens and shows respect toward fellow group members: Again, this is an area that could use significantly fewer weapons.
Suggested areas of improvement: All? Probably starting with pants. We should definitely be wearing them. Oh, and how about screen time? I’m told there should be limits. And our eating habits could use some tweaking. You guys call cherry tomatoes those gross red grapes. Well, yes, I agree, they are super gross but the point is to at least make the effort. I mean, haha, we can’t always behave like we’re living through a pandemic.
What’s that? The numbers are going up? Oh, record high numbers, in fact. Everything is in danger of shutting down again? Hospitals overflowing because of the Omicron variant? Wait, what? Now there is talk of a fused “deltacron” strain?
BIG CURSE WORD.
No, you can’t repeat that.
Alright everyone. Pants back off. Who wants a brick of cheese for dinner? Brick of cheese? Brick of cheese? Maybe with a side of box o’ wine for mama? Of course we can play Mario Kart while we eat. I look forward to crushing all you losers. But first, has anyone seen my sword?
It was still dark when I opened my eyes. Which was unsurprising. It’s always dark whenever I open my eyes these days. Now is the winter of our discontent and raging insomnia, as the old saying goes.
Or something like that.
But this dark was a different kind of dark. This wasn’t my usual infernal and endless 2 a.m. dark. I didn’t recognize this dark. This dark had a bit of, was that, no…a hint of dimness? I started to turn over in bed to look at the clock, ruthlessly crushing the hope that was struggling to rise in my chest on my way.
In the A.M.
I had slept through the night?
I looked at the clock again.
I had slept through the night.
I slowly sat up, careful not to disturb my husband lest his symphony of snores prematurely end before the big fart finale. I shuffled to the kitchen in my slippers. I started making the coffee, almost as though in a daze.
What is this odd feeling?
Is this…not tired?
Is this what feeling well-rested is like?
Like waking up not wanting to punch the world in the face?
As the last of my peaceful drowsiness wore off, I realized that was indeed what I was feeling. I smiled. This is what it must feel like to be a Disney princess. Those birds singing outside? That chubby squirrel eating a stolen bagel outside my window? Any moment now they would beg to come inside so they could help me get dressed.
Soon thereafter my kids woke up, rubbing their eyes and scratching at their bedhead.
“Good morning, my babies!” I cheerfully bellowed.
The kids froze, confused. Who was this creature smiling an authentic smile in front of them? And what happened to the swamp witch they called Mom?
Then, to really terrify them, I made an actual breakfast. Using the actual stove. And pots! And pans!
When the kids threw dual tantrums over being told to brush their teeth (a daily morning ritual) I did NOT scream back this time. I just gave them space to have those Big Feelings. Like one of those parents who actually read a parenting book.
My husband made three dad jokes that morning. I laughed at all three. And pinched his butt when he walked by me to get more coffee.
Later, we went to the library to pick up a stack of books.
“Can we stop at a playground on the way home?” the kids asked, already bracing themselves for the obvious “no” headed their way because one, it was 28 degrees outside and two, I wasn’t wearing my out-in-public “good” sweatpants.
“Sure!” I exclaimed.
“Really!?” they exclaimed right back.
We got home. I made hot cocoa. And popcorn. And let them have cookies because life is meant to be lived!
“You’re the best mom ever!” my son yelled as he threw his arms around my waist.
“I know, right!” I happily hollered back. “Now, what do y’all want for dinner?”
“Can I have sprinkles on mine?” asked my daughter, allowing a bit of hope to slip into her voice.
“You bet your sweet redheaded tuchus you can!”
She jumped up and hugged me too.
Oh, the person I could be if I got a good night’s sleep every night, I thought to myself as I did ALL THE VOICES during bedtime storytime. If I didn’t have to ration my energy throughout the day. If I could regulate my emotions (or even just one emotion occasionally). If my brain worked as designed instead of being held together by metaphorical duct tape and Elmer’s glue.
Maybe it won’t always be this bad, I tell myself as I get ready for bed. These are extraordinary times, and not in the good way. But maybe it’s getting better. Maybe I can be my old self soon.
Maybe sleep will stay this time.
Maybe every day can be like today.
I close my eyes.
And welcome the dark.
“So, how are you holding up?”
A bit tired.
I mean, it could be worse.
I have it better than a lot of people right now.
Well, I just got done Googling “can you die from insomnia?” so, you know.
We’re ordering pizza for the fourth night in a row.
I just don’t understand. Any of this.
Wishing I could afford therapy.
I miss nouns.
Can a person’s soul be exhausted?
I had whiskey for dinner.
I feel so helpless.
What even is reality?
I’ve got all these projects I’m working on so, you know, staying busy.
I just want to go somewhere. Do something.
Everything is so surreal. I can’t even go on social media anymore.
I miss people. I miss my family.
Just, I mean, what the $#@%?
I’m fine. Really.
So help me I will murder the next person who suggests the solution to everything is more kindness in the world.
I had wine for breakfast so…pretty good right now.
I can’t concentrate on anything.
I hate humans.
I’m feeling cautiously optimistic for once.
I doomscrolled all night, how are you?
I’m fine. It’s fine. Everything is fine. Wait, what was the question?
I honestly don’t know. I haven’t stopped drinking eggnog with a 40 percent ABV since the day after Thanksgiving.
I can’t stop crying.
As well as can be expected considering it’s just endless darkness and everything is bleak and I’m stuck inside forever with only my family and panic and dread as constant companions in this nightmare dystopia we are living in but hey, I’m just going to keep making this popcorn for my children’s dinner while crying a bit and using every ounce of willpower I have to stuff these feelings way, way down into the cellular soil of the body where tumors start.
You know, I’ve decided I’m going to make the best of this.
When does it get better?
Survival mode. Just endless survival mode.
I’m horrified. But no longer surprised.
I got so angry I threw my phone at the TV.
There just aren’t words anymore.
I’m numb. Completely numb.
It has to get better soon.
Will it ever get better?
I am dead inside.
I’ve been reading a lot of pretty mom blogs lately. You know, those blogs written by moms with shiny hair and actual fruit bowls on their tables? (Filled with fruit they actually eat.) The moms who have probably never told their preschooler “oh, bite me” as a rebuttal during an argument. (She won, by the way.) The moms who actually earn money from their writing? (Dirty accusing glare to all the people not reading this.)
And right now, all the pretty mom blogs are doing a “what I’m thankful for” post. All of which have some version of this sentence: “This year, perhaps more than any other year, it’s important to focus on what matters most in life and remember that we should be thankful for these things, not just on Thanksgiving day, but every day.”
However, they’re not wrong. This has been a rough year for all of us. So maybe it couldn’t hurt to focus on what really matters, even though it goes against the very most basic core of my entire personality.
And thus, I present, the 20 things I’m thankful for in 2020.
- My health. Which is good. Despite my body being composed mostly of coffee and whiskey.
- My husband and our two wonderful children. They mean everything to me. It’s so nice to have everyone home all the time, working and learning remotely. And I mean, all the time. All the time. ALL. THE. TIME. And even though the little one threatened to kill me the other day (it was veiled but it was definitely a death threat) we couldn’t be closer. So close. All the close.
- A roof over my head. And it doesn’t even leak. And below that roof are walls and floors. Filled with mice. City mice. Who will never leave because nothing scares them and they are much, much smarter than we are. Although I haven’t ruled out making them chip in for rent.
- My dog, Buffy. Who at 15 is alive and healthy(-ish) and still loves to go on walks. I know you’re expecting me to say something snarky here about him but honestly, what kind of monster makes fun of a beloved elderly dog that has been a constant companion and who has farts so rancid they make rotten eggs smell appetizing.
- Nature. Majestic, beautiful nature. So majestic and beautiful that I don’t even mind the mountains of Claritin I have to snort like cocaine every morning in order to step outside.
- Technology. For all it has done, especially during this pandemic, but mostly because it has allowed me to lock myself in the attic and have happy hour over Zoom with my friends while my children wail and bang on the door.
- Speaking of which, my friends, both near and far. All of whom don’t bat an eye when my humor goes to a dark, dark place.
- The sound of my children’s laughter.
- The sound of my children sleeping.
- The sound of my husband yelling at my children because they won’t listen to me.
- Did I say coffee yet?
- Food. Because it’s good. I don’t know. I’m losing steam. Twenty is a big number.
- Oh! Peace. That’s a thing that’s always on these lists, right?
- Deep fried stuffing balls. They are the best thing I’ve ever created in my life (my kids coming in at a really close second though).
- Alton Brown’s Thanksgiving turkey recipe.
- Alton Brown.
- Oceans. They’re super cool.
- That 2020 is slowly marching toward its death.
- All y’all. The ones who read these ridiculous things week after week. And on purpose, no less. Thank you, truly, from the bottom of the pit where my heart should be.
Due to my position as a feral housewife who writes about her family, I am often asked by people what advice I’d give to someone who was unsure about having children.
OK, technically no one asks me that question but it seemed like a good opener and I have been itching to use the phrase “feral housewife” ever since I encountered it on a random Internet meme. But if someone DID ask me this question, my answer would be this:
Are you ready to make three meals a day, every day, for probably the rest of your life, only to have each of those meals verbally eviscerated by tiny personal versions of Gordon Ramsay? No? Then get you a dog and prepare to live a happy, peaceful life.
If yes, my sincerest apologies in advance. I recommend stocking up on boxed wine and designating a drawer in your fridge as your “stress cheese” drawer now before you even get started.
See, no one warned me and my husband that children expect to eat all the time. Nor that they also hate any and all food. Oh sure, our friends and family might have mentioned their children were “picky” eaters but we, in our sweet, innocent naivety, didn’t realize “picky” is code for “eats three things but not really even those things.” For example, my children only eat chicken nuggets, macaroni and cheese, and fish sticks (but not THAT kind of fish sticks, the other kind). Oh wait, sorry, they also say they like pizza. Except they don’t really like pizza. My first grader only eats the crusts and my preschooler makes me scrape off all the toppings and sauce so she can eat the dough underneath. Because they are monsters.
Adding insult to injury were all the parenting books we read (ok, the one parenting book we kind of skimmed) that insisted family mealtimes are of the utmost importance for a child’s development without ever once mentioning that the majority of those family mealtimes would be spent arguing over how the pasta smells gross and the meatloaf looks like dog poop.
Then there’s all those pesky doctors insisting on the importance of children eating a varied diet full of different vitamins and nutrients in order to be healthy. LIES. All of it. My children are somehow still thriving and with a seemingly endless supply of energy despite not knowing the difference between a tomato and a watermelon.
They don’t even have scurvy and I’m pretty sure they should have scurvy by now. My daughter licked an apple six months ago and it’s the only vitamin C she’s had since. I’m not saying science is wrong. I’m a big believer in science. I’m just saying that while man cannot live on bread alone, little boys apparently can because science simply cannot compete with the stubbornness of children.
I used to enjoy cooking, you know? I found it calming and at the same time creative. I found a quiet joy in chopping and a contentment in coming up with new menu ideas. A chef transforming ingredients into life sustaining works of art for the people she loved.
But now? I am merely a sweaty, red-faced short order cook, taking the same orders in a gruff manner day after day and barking out names of dishes for my husband to whisk away to our unhappy regulars.
Perhaps that’s why it all came to a head a few nights ago. Maybe that’s why after enduring meal after meal greeted with that same look of disgust and disappointment on their faces, I lost it. Or possibly those selfish little picky weasels had it coming.
Whatever it was, I snapped. Over an hour making dinner from scratch, all of which was greeted with groans and anger. ANGER. They didn’t just not like my food, they were angry I would even present it to them.
So I did the scariest thing a mom on the edge could do. I swallowed my own rage and looked coolly at them. Then, in my calmest voice, I said…
And their dinner went into the trash can.
Dramatic, sure. But not if you view it in context. That context being my first instinct was to throw open the window and hurl the plates even more dramatically through it.
Oh, you should have heard it. The howling, the wailing. How could I do that?! What will we eat now!? We were going to eat it, we swear! Can you make us something else?
To which I answered, easy, nothing, don’t care, nope.
Now, I’m not naive enough to think that this little episode will change much of anything. But when it comes down to it, that’s not the point. The point is it felt really, really good and I’m smiling even now as I type this and remember the look of horror on their little faces.
And now I can go back into the kitchen with a bit more serenity, a bit more of the old me who loved cooking. Because should they keep complaining, I still have my “dramatically throws food out the window” bit. Then, after that the roof. Eventually I could hire a crane and drop the plates from there.
The possibilities are endless, really.
Oh, Mystery Bruise
There you are, yet again
And there have you always been
For at least as long as I can remember
Which, granted, isn’t that long
Ever since my memory was obliterated by the incessant demands
Of tiny, adorable humans
They who sprung loudly from my loins
Ginger haired and exhausting
My mind now filled to capacity
Each and every day
With tasks both mundane and material
That are involved when raising juveniles not quite yet delinquent
Big. Purple. With a hint of bluish tint
Ringed by an unholy yellow
You loudly announce your presence, oh, Mystery Bruise
With every disrobement
With every bathroom trip
There was a time when my thigh was flawless
Oh, twas a sight, ye youthful femur o’ mine
Alas, now the top of that ham
Is the heart and hearth of your home
Oh, Mystery Bruise
Whenceforth you came? Why do you stay?
I have heard tale of your existence in others
On the side of the hip
Or the shinny shin shin
Enfolding the feminine forces in this world
Who already fight all kinds of unseen battles
Every day, and every sleepless night, and every in-between
Yet your mystery grows, Mystery Bruise
Your origin a puzzle wrapped in an enigma
Smothered in a conundrum and sprinkled with mild violence
Did it happen when a toddler used my body as a trampoline?
Or when a preschooler made of all points
Used me as their amusement park?
Are you the result of that stupid end table
I keep running into?
Or perhaps from that time I bumped into the steps while running to stop the children from hitting each other
With actual weapons?
Is it all the bile rising up to the surface from all the curse words I swallowed?
Or from all the screams I buried down deep
Each and every time they howled how they hated me
Because the grilled cheese had the wrong cheese?
(As if any cheese any time any place could ever be wrong)
Is it the homeless ink from every lost chapter I never wrote
Because as soon as they see the laptop they lay across me like pampered cats?
Or mayhap you are just a reminder that I am human, Mystery Bruise
And not just a mother
That I am not merely put on this Earth for their every whim and desire
The point is, oh, most mystifying of contusions
You’ve always been there for me
Just staring up at me every time I shower
A constant and only slightly concerning presence in a chaos-filled world
A reminder of some permanence in an ever shifting reality
Or maybe you are simply a visible representation
Of the bruises concealed in my heart
Your mottled surface itself an ode to the mysteries of the soul
An ever-present monument of why we love and fight so hard
No matter the reason, nor the cause
I want to thank you, oh Mystery Bruise
For always being there
Which I believe I already mentioned
But you’ll have to forgive me, for it has been a rough week
Of Remote Schooling
And of simply being stretched too thin
Which is why I am hiding in the bathtub with my computer
A little (lot) drunk and singing your praises
Because you are here and yet need nothing from me
Oh, Mystery Bruise, your silence speaks volumes
Salutations, precious scions.
I am writing this to you from the distant past. My greatest wish is that it reaches you one day. That the Internet, for all its immeasurable beauty and hideous flaws, still exists. Although only Amazon knows what will happen between now and then.
Where to start? Perhaps the beginning.
Another morning dawns. Gentle purple receding from the open wound of pink as tides of orange begin flowing in on a sea of puffy pillows. If there is one thing in The Unprecedented that hasn’t changed it’s how beautifully a day can start. It’s almost enough to make up for the fact that the rest of the day will be just like all the others.
In our Quadrant, the disease threat has lowered significantly but is ever looming. We are still in the earliest stages of Limited Phase 3. Restrictions abound. Face Coverings are still required. Droplet has become a dirty word.
We try to make the best of it, however. My mask is flamboyant and covered in sequins. On the Hard Days, I secretly pretend I am a superhero. Captain Extra. Why not? Fun is in short supply here in The Unprecedented. It’s important to steal joy whenever we can.
They have finally allowed us to consume some of our rations at the Eating Houses, although only in the Outside Zone. Many have rejoiced at this development but this has slowed down the neighborhood Banana Bread and Sourdough Black Market. No one has dropped off an extra loaf on the porch in weeks. I suppose it was inevitable. After all these months, baking can no longer compete with the allure of Doom Scrolling on our devices.
The Libraries have also opened albeit in Limited Capacity. If you stand in the Outside Zone, the Blessed Ones will gather the books you desire and place your Bag of Knowledge within the appropriate Social Distance Sector for you to pick up once they have retreated back within the safety of the doors. This small gift from the Re-Opening Committee is like a breath of fresh air when one is drowning.
The Remote Learning begins soon. The Educators have exhausted themselves preparing, faced with an impossible task. They are most noble, rising above and beyond and then beyond some more. Although I confess if I never come across the phrase “student log-in information” again it will be too soon. Cursed be thy passwords.
Those of us tasked with the homeside of Remote Learning have made a silent pact that Happy Hour will be whenever it is needed. We shall let the boxed wine flow unimpeded by the morality of who we were in the year of Two Thousand And Nineteen. Time and Units of Alcohol have become utterly meaningless in The Unprecedented.
Some of the people have begun forming Pods. Humans, now and forever more, are social animals. It is much needed, especially for The Small Ones, who have turned feral and have begun rejecting pants.
I confess, there are days when it all seems much too bleak. I do not know where we would be if we couldn’t turn to the Narrative Visual Arts for comfort. All hail the Streaming Services! Praise be to Hulu!
It is uncertain if we shall ever return to living in precedented times, but, lo, through the swirling maelstrom of this accursed New Normal, we humans still manage to adjust. Adapt. Evolve. Just like we always have. It is this thought, late at night, when the Insomnia strikes again, that brings a small measure of comfort. The thought I cling to as though to a dream, while images hazy with the mists of nostalgia begin wafting up from my subconscious.
Of the Before Times.
Back when Personal Space was something one took for granted, not something that was bitterly fought for and doled out like currency among one’s own family. Back when we worshipped such frivolous things as precious metals, instead of the life-giving force of Alone Time. The utter bliss of an Empty House. Only in The Unprecedented could Working Remotely be both a blessing and a curse.
Such fools we mortals are. To not appreciate what we had while we had it. In another timeline, one that had not descended into its darkest depths, I would be forcing my Small Ones to brush their teeth right now and stuffing them into their Before Times clothes. Ones with actual buttons and zippers, instead of the ill-fitting mixed textile sacks we have grown accustomed to. My Quarantine Partner would be heading to work in the Away From Here while I walked the offspring to School. Then I would head to the Local Coffeeshop up the hill, for a pastry and a giant coffee and cloth-free conversations with friends.
There is no danish. Only Zoom.
Alas, I regret nothing. It has to be done. To protect the Vulnerable Ones.
In the end, let it be known there is still hope. There is always hope. If there wasn’t, I would not be writing this to you now. Humor is our preservation and Compassion is our weapon. After so much Devastation, I only desire, above all, that We can get our Shit together enough so that You, the future generations, may thrive.
Your Great Elder,
I always assumed I would have an arch nemesis someday. My personality kind of demands it. Obviously it would be someone who was cool and awesome, someone worthy of battling a badass antihero with a heart of gold such as myself. But also clearly someone with less wit and less awesome hair.
Imagine my surprise, then, when my arch nemesis turned out to be the sun.
Oh yeah. Let’s talk about polymorphic light eruption, kids. First, of course, by discussing what polymorphic light eruption sounds like:
A mildly successful electro pop duo.
A phrase shouted out by the Power Rangers.
Part of a convoluted plot in a sci-fi novel.
How forest fires on distant planets start.
What pretentious yet smart people call volcanic activity.
A cool space thing NASA discovered that you hear at the end of the morning news segment.
A horrifying space thing NASA discovered that you hear at the beginning of the morning news segment.
Now let’s discuss what polymorphic light eruption actually is:
Stupid people who develop a stupid allergy to the stupid sun out of nowhere.
It started last spring. I thought it was a fluke but then it happened again this year. It normally appears on the chest or the arms but I am one of the super lucky rare ones where I get the rash on my face. You know “Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark”? The scene where they open the ark of the covenant and it melts that Nazi’s face off? I’m like that dude three seconds into the scene but without the relief of my face ever actually melting off. Or of the sweet, sweet release of eventual death. I just have to sit here with my giant face rash, all red and itchy and poofy and on fire, and continue to act like a human. The good news is that after the rash goes away, which it only does if I avoid the sun for two weeks, it will likely come roaring back whenever I am exposed to the sun again. The even better news is that this will now likely happen every spring and summer until I die.
There aren’t charity runs for this skin disease. Probably because it’s mild and none of us who have it can be outside in the sun that long anymore. There is no cure and not much in the way of treatment. Probably because the universe is cruel and unfair and dumb and stupid.
It just really, really sucks and makes summer suck. Especially this summer. The summer of 2020, which was going SO WELL ANYWAY.
I love two things (besides my children and husband and fried cheese and blah, blah, blah). Those two things are running and going to the beach. Two things that are all the more important during this crap show of a year, since they are two things I can do outside and, as long as I avoid popular spots, without many people around. They are also, of course, two things that make it almost impossible to avoid the sun.
So, at this point, all I have left to say is, nice try, sun. And nice try, 2020. But you will not defeat me.
Oh no. No matter how many murder hornets, chicken sandwich wars, global pandemics, quarantines, racists, bigots, homophobics, sexists, economy crashes, vaccine conspiracy theories, entire continents burning, World War III threats, armed protesters demanding haircuts, actual alien footage, “Tiger King” documentaries you throw out. And no matter how much you turn my personal life into that level in Super Mario Bros. 3 where the angry cartoon sun is literally trying to kill you.
You. Will. Not. Defeat. Me.
And do you know why? Because humans are nothing if not adaptable. That is what we do best, in fact. That is why we are survivors.
So I will sit inside with my volcano face and I will keep writing and I will do my daily run at 4 a.m. to avoid the stupid murderous sun. And I will go to the beach. You hear me? I’m going to the beach and I will dress like Morticia Addams and I will totally pull the look off. And I’m going to snag bits and pieces of happiness whenever possible. I’m going to love what I should love more and ignore what I should ignore more and speak up against what is wrong more and support those who need my support right now.
Because I will not be defeated this year. Eight months into this horrific dystopian future and I now eat disappointment and threats of World War III for breakfast.
Better luck next year.
It was the title that came first. It floated up from the mysterious depths of my sleep deprived brain, like a phoenix rising from the ashes of a terrible night.
Or arose like a zombie. That wanted to eat my brain. Was eating my brain. Or something.
I’m so tired.
Anyway, the point is. What is the point? Oh, right. The point is I know what you’re thinking. What is up with that title? It’s a funny story actually. It was the title that came first.
Wait, I already said that.
OK. Where was I? There I was, trapped for hours, trapped in a hell of my own making, when it came to me.
Box Spring Hot Box.
Heh. That’s really funny, I thought to myself. Although now that I’m writing this, it’s not quite as clever as it sounded at 3 a.m. It’s mildly amusing at best. But if I change it now then I have to rewrite the whole beginning and no one is really going to read this anyway except my mom so…moving on.
What is a box spring hot box, you ask? Well, it started out fine. Sweet even. A tale as old as sleep. I was gently nudged out of a deep slumber by the horrifying sensation that a presence near me was breathing heavily. My eyelids fluttered open to behold an extra from Stephen King’s “Children of the Corn” staring at me. Confusingly, this tiny devil mumbled something about having a nightmare and so I resisted the urge to dropkick the creepy face long enough to wipe the sleep out of my eyes and realize the monster was my own child.
So I let him crawl into bed with us. Just for a minute, I said sternly, both of us knowing that I am a gigantic liar, lair, stained pajama pants on fire.
So he hopped on up, laying on top of the covers and immediately taking up more real estate than was necessary for a 45-pound body. Meanwhile I scooched closer to my husband, who was blissfully snoring away on my other side, the covers wrapped around him like a tortilla. Meanwhile meanwhile, the dog, disturbed by all this commotion, sighed exasperatedly and scooched over as well, moving to lay at the bottom of my feet.
It was nice at first. Cozy. For a moment I even started to think I understood why all those hippies insist the entire family sleep in the same bed. I was surrounded by love.
And body heat. I was surrounded by all the body heat. Why was everyone giving off so much heat? Who decided 98.6 degrees is a reasonable number? It’s a ridiculous temperature for a human body. Why can’t we all be a balmy 77?
It was hot. So bloody hot. And I was trapped under the covers. I tried squirming out but was blocked by the headboard. The dog was blocking the southern exit and there was also the irrational fear that I would get stuck midway and end up roasted to death, cooked by my very own family.
Why didn’t I just wake one of them up, I hear you asking. Well, well, well, aren’t we just FULL of questions today.
Sorry. I’m a bit cranky. I don’t know if you heard but I didn’t get much sleep last night.
Anyway, waking up either my son or husband so that I could crawl out would have been the logical thing to do. Hence the problem. You’re talking logic. Logic at an illogical time during an illogical year. And, let’s face it, with a ridiculous specimen of a woman.
To my credit, I did briefly flirt with the idea of waking one of them up. Actually, I was so hot I downright seduced the idea of shoving them onto the floor full force just to feel fresh air on my body again. But then I looked over at my loud snoring burrito, who had been working round the clock from home for months. Stressed and exhausted. Then I turned my head to look at my very own Vitruvian Man, just splayed out in all his tiny glory, who has been struggling with a world that doesn’t make sense and nightmares of Mommy and Daddy getting sick. Even the hellhound at my feet, even if I was willing to crawl out that way, is about to turn 15. He’s been such a good boy, even though his hips hurt and we kept bringing babies home from the hospital without ever once consulting him.
They all deserved sleep. Peaceful sleep. Or so it seemed in my muddled mind at 3 a.m.
So I lay in my box spring hot box for the rest of the night. Alternating between analyzing my latest dream (playing basketball with Brad Pitt, where he kept making baskets by throwing the ball from behind his back all while discussing the writing of James Agee, whom I have never read) and replaying every embarrassing moment from junior high (which are numerous and still not funny to me yet).
Then, like a rainbow after the storm, my husband grunted and farted and I knew the long night had ended. I would soon be free. He was a mere yawn and unselfconscious scratch away from being awake.
And the point to all this is…
What is the point? There is a point. I came up with it somewhere around paragraph three. I need more coffee. Oh yes, the point is, I yelled at my kids today. For picking their noses and not cleaning their rooms like I asked. I was snippy with my husband, who made the mistake of standing there. I even had a very stern talking to with the dog who keeps aggressively shedding.
And so the point is I wrote this to let them all know how much I love them. Even when I’m cranky and tired and yelling. Love comes out in many different and often strange ways. Ways like staying up half the night because you just want the ones you love to find as much peace as possible in this world.
Although next time, I think I’ll just kick one of them to the floor and show them my love by getting a good night’s sleep myself.