What to do when a bird gets stuck in your house

time to catch up
23 September 2008, 5:53 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , ,
Ayan is writing a list of 100 things about herself and is up to 31. I told her I think that by the time she gets to 67 things may get difficult, though she shows no sign of slowing down. She’s trying to get me to do one too, but I’m resisting, afraid it’s only going to get down to one-upping each other. Besides, my party tricks are unimpressive; I can’t burp the alphabet or turn my eyelids inside out. My index fingers are bent, though, and I can balance a Nalgene on my head for more than five minutes.
On Tuesday nights we go out together; on Wednesdays I have a date with myself. I pour wine into a great big glass, cook things we never eat together (sautéed beets, and that’s it; a bowl of oatmeal with cottage cheese; couscous with raisins and almonds and cumin), watch Mad Men and talk to myself. I am closetly single, I think, and relish these nights alone with Moose the cat and being unwatched. This indulgence is silly (what, really, do I do differently?) and real – but only recently have I admitted to myself; I sleep differently without R too.
I got home with a heavy soul; the day’s stresses many, insignificant but stackable until they were both taller and louder than I. Ready to lash out or curl in on myself, I was dreadful and not fit for company. But waiting for me at home were treasures and surprises sent from the women in my family – cookies from Mom, trinkets from Jax and Leigh, a singing birthday candle, sweet notes around. Lola’s mom died on my real birthday and devastated me, so this was my second shot. As before, there were tears again today, but today’s were welcome.
My mom’s birthday today, and when I called her this morning, laughing and squinting at the early fall mist, I regretted not being there with her. What’s the use of having five children if you spend your birthday alone? But I’m headed to Idaho tomorrow, for a memorial service for Lola’s mom, and the obligations of friendship trumped the Midwest. Every once in a while she speaks with my voice, and it gives me pause, makes me feel more connected to the earth. The temperature changes in this part of the lake, and I’m seeing underwater with goggles this time.
Can’t really revise the words tonight, like all those months, there must be one or two where you are drunk and must rely on word count alone to get to the daily requirement. It’s occurring to me, for the first time, that there really weren’t those others, reading these words, that the drive for expression doesn’t require admiration, that the adjustment to living for the sake of others’ supervision and revision is an illusion. Ah, shit, that it is difficult even to type correctly; this even at Lola’s mom’s funeral service, an event full of wine, love, laughter, and life.
It’s early, and quiet; the kids, on their east-coast time schedules, woke up at 4am and wanted to play. I had been bumped out to the couch, which doesn’t mean much except that I was (not) sleeping right in prime play zone. Their parents, Lola’s brother and his wife, tried so hard to keep the two little ones quiet, but kids are ultimately entropy makers, and weren’t having anything to do with such plans. They were whisked off site to breakfast, but at 6:30am, I am wide awake and there is no going back to sleep off last night’s excesses.
The endless road unfurled in front of us, and I could feel Lola’s sadness settling on top of her chest. She had lived for four and a half years in this ‘before,’ even relishing it at the time, knowing that ‘after’ would last much too long. Her fingers trailed in the breeze outside the car window. She was getting farther and farther away from her mother, and panic feathered her hands until we both realized we were holding our breath for ages. Mike exploded in an exhale in the back seat. “Two miles this time! I made it two miles!”

I felt like utter crapola for most of the day, having smuggled in an alien of food poisoning back from the memorial. I was up for hours last night, fever soaked dreams keeping me and R awake for the balance of the evening. One where I was buried beneath the cairn, one running behind the rental car back to Boise – they all ended with me clutching my drenched shirt and crying silent tears.

I hauled myself into work at 7am to finish a grant, bleary-eyed through budget numbers until I could crawl back home to chamomile tea and Mad Men


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