The Disagreement

May 31, 2020

Dear T.S. Eliot,
You got it wrong, dude. Wrong, wrong, wrong. At least 2020 says so. April is not the cruelest month. The onus is on May. May was, for lack of a better term, wreckage. It fucking blew. It blew in the same way April did and then decided to add on a few more juicy, filthy tidbits for us to chew on when we didn’t expect it. I expected April suckage but man, May had something to say.
I’m still trying to wade through the message. I think my waders aren’t deep enough, though.
What I do know is that we are supposed to be celebrating in Maui right this second with our high school graduate and friends and family and clearly we aren’t doing that. We’ve already mourned the loss of it, along with a bunch of other things that seem petty to be pissed about.
That stuff sorta goes to the back burner after this month.
We’re headed to the beautiful Colorado mountains for a couple of days to clear our minds and unclench our nerves and expand our hearts back in our body. We can’t really do jack squat up there except hike in the spring wildflowers and sit and watch the rivers run. There will be bonfires and bonkers squirrels that make us laugh and deer that make us hold our breath. It’ll feel good to hold our breath for something that simple.
We’ll be back.

 

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I Need Cleats

March 20, 2020

I’ve been down with a virus. Not the virus; I suspect this one’s a variation of the flu, that morphing jerk. And yes, I did get vaccinated but the flu is a morphing jerk. I’ve been down for a week and am starting to feel human again and isn’t it funny how we don’t realize how down we’ve been until things start to blow over?

I still have the night sweats but I am not waking up drenched. Just unpleasantly wet. I’ll take it.

The worst and most persistent symptom I have is guilt, because just when all of the true information about the coronavirus broke, when they canceled school and people stormed the Bastille for toilet paper and Clorox wipes, I was out. My kids took care of me.

Actually, that’s bullshit, but they did check on me and took complete care of themselves and then when my husband came home after a full day’s work and medical briefings/meetings/utter panic, he took over. I didn’t feel lucky but dang. Lucky.

***

Can’t think quite clearly still, but I’m rising.

***

I’d wish for Mama right now, because couldn’t we all use a little clutch in a hard hug and the particular pattern of a mother’s hands on your back? Then again, I know that what she’d really be doing is calling me twice a day to remind me to wash my hands and do I need food because she’s hoarded it for years in the basement and yes she has toilet paper and can she drive up and spray the children with bleach? It would annoy the bejeezus out of me but I miss it. I miss the her of it.

***

I think some of you know that my Daddy-o is in Hawaii right now, being his rebellious German self. He’s 85 and had absolutely no fear of flying to paradise because news of Covid-19 was just beginning to thunder and he believed in the president with every red inch of his MAGA hat. Yes, he owns one. Yes, he wears it in public. Yes, I love him so much I could choke.

He was supposed to be in Maui with his friend Harold, who he’s been friends with since 1960. 60 years of friendship and they still kinda like each other–isn’t that something? Both of them have lost their wives in the last couple of years. First Daddy, then him. Harold was supposed to tag along with Daddy-o for a couple of weeks, although there was no way Harold was walking on the beach 6 miles a day like my father does, but they’d adjust. Harold didn’t go. He didn’t feel well. Today, we heard that Harold is in the hospital and tested positive for Covid-19. He’s the first person we know who’s gotten it. We aren’t optimistic. The guy is in terrible shape. Daddy is a believer now. I have no idea what to say.

***

There’s a lot I don’t know what to say about but here is what I do know. We need each other.

***

We are all soul-sick and heartsick and worried and it feels absolutely shitty to not know what’s coming our way. It’s all so slippery and messy and I want to be the adult. I need to be the adult. I will be the adult.

I’m digging in.

Somebody send me some cleats.

***

Update to the update on Harold Watch. Turns out, both doctors were correct. He’s got both Covid-19 and bacterial pneumonia. Not the news we were hoping for.


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I just can’t.

 

I think that a lot these days: I just can’t.  (have been thinking it for months, if I’m honest.) In a way it’s almost a relief, admitting that you can’t, although of course you don’t allow yourself to CAN’T. You know better than to do that. You can listen to the can’t but if you surrender to it, you’re fucked. You know this.

So you focus on the things you can do. You can get up in the morning–kind of crucial. Take care of the people you love and remind yourself that they actually do appreciate that you showed up. You show up for the dog, because he needs you and actually is excited to see your slack-ass every time you walk in a room and that kind of devotion is gold.

You can do the work. The physicality of it. Wash teen stank out of laundry, carefully pack lunches, clean up all things dog, remember to stock the pantry with snacks and plenty of water. You load the coffeemaker every night so it’s ready in the morning because–essentials. You call your father and ask about his day. You check on the homework but not really because they tend to do the damn thing anyways.

You’re there but you aren’t and you’re trying to be okay with this.

You’d kind of hate yourself if you allowed yourself to. But on that matter, you really know you can’t.

I’m trying to take the can’t as a sign that I need to be still. Or at least, more still. Which means listening and waiting a lot and those aren’t exactly the easiest things. Not when your brain seems to be flammable and how on Earth can your mind be so hard-wired to run when the rest of you cries Uncle?

I am sitting with the still until it becomes evident that I have to dig through it.

I’m listening.

Something’s coming, I’m sure of it.

Right?

 

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