Saturday, October 29, 2011

The things we chant when we're overexcited

It's hard to get in the mood for this:

When the outside of your home looks like this:

And your child is chanting, "Yah! Santa's coming! Santa's coming!"

I don't mind the snow, I'm just a little surprised by it. The last time it snowed before Halloween it was 1996. I was at college in upperstate New York. I remember it distinctly because I'd been walking home from a Halloween party with a group of friends and I fell into a snow-covered shrub.

My costume had been Shooting Star; my weapon had been a toy gun full of vodka—cheap vodka—that I'd refilled all night and shot into people's mouths. (If you're going to a party and don't know many people, I highly recommend this costume as a way to quickly make friends.)

As I lay in the shrub, one of my friends shouted, "Fallen star! "Fallen star!"

Drunk people are so funny.

They pulled me from the shrub. When we got to the next party and I discovered I had pieces of shrub stuck between my teeth, someone was even nice enough to floss my teeth with strands of my hair.

Hey, I didn't have to tell you I fell face-first.

What about you? Are you looking out your window as the snow falls, reminiscing about your favorite Halloween costume? Or are you lying on the beach drinking a Bahama Mama?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Appreciating the small things: When your grief harmonizes with the season

I want to thank everyone for their kind emails and words on my last post (in which I sniveled all over my keyboard about the passing of my cat.)

In all seriousness, I expected a few snarly comments along the lines of "Get over it, it's a cat!" mainly because I had said that very thing to my college roommate when she described the passing of her beloved childhood cat.

(So now you know, when I was in college I read poems like "Having it Out with Melancholy" and laughed at other people's pain. Child of divorce? Who, me?)

For the last few days Chuck and I have been curled up on the couch with the cat that's, um, still alive.

It's been comforting to hold her but I won't lie, for one passing nanosecond I did ask Chuck what his thoughts on taxidermy were (I couldn't help it, Martha said everyone's doing it).

Chuck looked at me like I was crazy.

Rightfully so.

It's going to take some time to get over this loss. After curling up with this

for the last 10 years, I find myself somewhat obsessed with all things soft and knitty. I've been searching my house—in vain, of course—for substitutes. I keep wrapping myself up in sweater coats. I bought myself some chunky knit gloves at H&M:

I guess I should be grateful it's not mid-July.

Junior's been handling the loss of our cat quite well. After the dead-cat-in-the-trunk episode, I worried he might need therapy. Or at least a therapeutic session with a hand puppet. Nope, he looked at our Calico on the couch and said, "I'll watch animal shows because she likes them. But if she begins to like PBS Kids, that'd be great."

Ah yes, television. Saving the lives of cats and preschoolers one household at a time.

(Could someone knit me a cat for Christmas?)

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Late Sunday night post. Sigh

This weekend was a very sad weekend. We had to put down one of our cats.

It was this guy:

Aka the Butter Thief. Aka Fatass. Hairball. The Jerk.

I had terrible names for him and often (read: always) hated the amount of vacuuming I had to do because of him (despite using the Furminator), but nothing could have prepared me for the profound loss I feel.

In January, when the Mulletville Lite vet removed a cancerous tumor from his side, he said the cancer had metastasized. He gave him six months to live. I should feel grateful he lived five months longer than he was supposed to, but I don't. He was only 10.

My heart is broken.

So is his sister's. She's been staring at the yard, waiting for him to come back for dinner.

Before I had children, I would spend entire Sundays curled up on the couch with the cat. He was warm, fluffy and malleable. When you are in your mid-twenties and have a day to spend on your couch watching movies, nothing compares to having 25 pounds of purring fur stuck to your side.

Years later, after Chuck and I got married, he would spoon Chuck in bed. I'd literally wake up to find the two embraced like lovers.

In the last two months, the cat's health went downhill quickly. Once plump and lazy, he became thin and lazier. On Saturday, it was clear he was in a great deal of pain. I crouched down next to him. Pet him. Said good-bye.

Chuck came back from the vet an hour later. With the cat in the trunk.

That was...unexpected. Especially when Junior wanted to see what the big deal was. (Ever try to say one more good-bye to your dead cat in the trunk while your four-your-old is yelling, "Can I see? Can I see?" If you have, please email me. I'd love to hear how you handled it.)

We buried the cat at the edge of the yard. We said a prayer. The stone we chose as a marker looks like a crouching gray cat; over the last few days I've looked out the window quickly and tricked myself into believing it's him.

I want to hold him again. I want to have a whole Sunday to curl up with him. I want to take back every time I shooed him out of the kitchen because he wanted to eat again (who cares if he was fat?).

I want to lay my head on his belly and hear his deep purring.

Now that you're thoroughly saddened (or laughing at me for bawling uncontrollably about a cat), I want to share a piece of a poem I have loved since college. It's by Jane Kenyon, and it's a stanza in a poem entitled "Having it Out with Melancholy." It reads:


The dog searches until he finds me
upstairs, lies down with a clatter
of elbows, puts his head on my foot.

Sometimes the sound of his breathing
saves my life -- in and out, in
and out; a pause, a long sigh. . . .

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Things that hurt. A lot

When your 9-month-old has teeth, he will probably bite you.

It will hurt.

When your 4-year-old sees that your 9-month-old bit you and did not lose bed time story privileges or endure a time out on the stairs, he may bite you as well.

That, too, will hurt.

You may look down at your naked shoulder and, seeing the teethmarks, liken it to a gnawed-on ear of corn. You may be bemused by that, as you marvel at the never ending body slam that is motherhood (my flesh? My braincells? My sleep? But of course. Please, take it all).

Or you may just be pissed.

Either or.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

If you need to tell the world about your potatoes, who am I to write a blog post about it? (I'm Mrs. Mullet, that's who!)

When I read back over some of my older blog posts, I'm struck by how much bitching I do. (Shut up, Chuck.)

I'm tired. I'm late to work. My husband doesn't clean up as much as I do. I hate the witch-cat I hung by the mantel.

Wah wah.

Granted, my complaints are legitimate. I work full-time and have two children under the age of five. I am tired. I don't lay out my clothes the night before, nor do I pack my lunch in advance. I am late.

And Chuck. Even though I tell him on a daily basis that I need/want him to do more around the house, his idea of doing is very different than mine. For instance, when he says he'll do the dishes, what he really means is he'll do them in a few weeks.

Know what? I don't have a few weeks. I need to make my lunch for work and I need a clean knife. One.Clean.Knife.

See? Legit.

Still, I've been thinking a lot about my outlook. Mostly because Chuck and I have a friend—let's call her Shits Rainbows—on Facebook who has made it her mission to sprinkle her 400+ friends with healthy doses of I'm-so-happy-to-be-alive-I-need-to-profess-it-on-Facebook.

She's so sugary happy that Chuck and I actually call each other during the day to snicker over her status updates. Stuff like:

"Just baked fresh muffins, my friends. The smell of apples is in the air. A bird is chirping outside my window. The sunbeams are illuminating my foyer. Savor each moment!"


And: "My six-month-old little prince and I are off to the grocery store! Cooking dinner tonight for the love of my life. Lighting candles. Baking fresh bread and garlic mashed potatoes. Great end to the weekend. Life is good!"


It never seems to end.

Many times I have thought about canceling her updates. I just couldn't take her singsong enthusiasm for the most banal of activities. Grocery shopping with a baby? Shoot me. And why the hell did people need to know she was making garlic mashed potatoes? Why weren't regular spuds good enough?

(I swear, this is the shit that keeps me up at night.)

After a few months of having her sunshine in my feed, though, I noticed something happening. I noticed that her sunny outlook was making me think about small moments I'd had that I could kinda sorta maybe be more appreciative of. Not on Facebook, per se, but in my own consciousness.

Moments like tickling Diddlydoo after his bath. Like hugging Chuck—really hugging him—and feeling like he is still my best friend. Like loving my mother because she does my dishes and vacuums even while she's calling me an asshole because I tell her not to do so much.

Was I stopping to appreciate the small, happy moments enough? Was I sharing enough of the good stuff, or was sarcasm blinding me to the beauty of my sunbeam-lit foyer?

More importantly, what would happen if I started blowing my happy chunks all over my friends on Facebook?

I set to task one day and wrote this:

I won't bore you with the responses I got, except to say that they ranged from "Who are you?" to "No really, who are you?"

That's okay. It really is. People want me to grumble and kvetch. Their false assumption that my life is rusty nails and burnt toast provides their insecurities and inferiority complexes with sustenance.

Simply, I feed their broken inner child. And I'll continue to do so. I can spit snark while nuzzling my noggin. My newfound love for the daily slices of Heaven in my life can be my little secret.

As can the fact that I still have Shits Rainbows in my news feed—and that she makes me smile as much as she makes me throw up in my mouth.

Ah, Facebook.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Well, I did take my pants off...

So, um, about that exciting night I was supposed to have...without the two kids or my husband or the cats or...wait, is that everyone living at my house?

Yes, Mrs. Mullet, it is. Even though I hung this witch-cat by the fireplace and give myself a heart attack every time I walk into the living room because I think it is a person

it is not.

(Mental note to self: Take down the damn witch-cat already.)

You probably want to know what I did. Or maybe—hopefully—your own life is so balls-to-the-wall exciting you could give a flying tortilla about what I did with an entire night all to myself.

I'm stalling. Can you tell?

I'm stalling because I...



I used my Get Out of Jail Free card to buy two Mums at a local farm stand. Then I drove home and was in bed by 9 pm.

And you know what? I'm still friggen tired. When does the fatigue pass? When?!

Monday, October 10, 2011

What I'd really like to do is sleep...

By fucking gawd I made it through another Monday.

Getting through the day kind of felt like sliding down a metal pole on my teeth, but hey—hey!—tomorrow is Tuesday, and you know what that means...

It means that Chuck told me I'd better not come home right after work. He wants me to spend the evening doing something for myself. He's going to feed the kids and put them to bed and he doesn't want to see me until at least 9 pm.

I should be thrilled, but I have no idea what the hell to do. Borders went out of business, so there goes the ever-so-cliche idea of sipping a latte while browsing through stacks of books. The local watering hole is way too local. I don't like strangers touching my feet, so no pedicure. I splurged on some fall clothes last weekend, so no more shopping for me.

The movies are too expensive. Ditto for a cut and color. I'm not looking for random sex, so cruising the commuter parking lots along I-95 is out. And I don't like horses, so there'll be no horseback riding.



Monday, October 3, 2011

Woe is a hoe named me

I have been struggling.

I have been sick. I have had to call out of work. Chuck has been sick. I have had to call out of work. The kids have been sick. I have had to call out of work. My grandmother was sick and my mother, our lovely free babysitter, had to leave to care for her. I have had to call out of work.

Some mornings I misplace my keys, and I am late for work. Some mornings I realize I have spit-up and boogers on my shirt, and I am late for work. Some mornings I simply lose track of time.

I am late.
I am late.
I am late.

Where is Chuck? Working. Always working. Trying to rebuild his career. His run of being a stay-at-home father will be short-lived this time. He has been out of full-time work since 2008. He wants more. He wants to be back in the saddle.

I support him in that.

But really, the madness needs to stop. After a bad run of morning tardiness I sometimes hide my purse and coat in the bathroom nearest the parking lot so I can walk the long halls to my office as if I've been in all morning. Then, after I've unlocked my office and turned on the lights and answered a few emails I go retrieve my belongings.

It's all a bit nerve-wracking. And I didn't even tell you about the day my mother was babysitting the kids and driving around Mulletville with them so they'd nap, and how she looked back and saw that Junior's face was covered in blood from a bloody nose and how she drove to my office because she was so scared.

I missed a meeting that day. I met her in the bathroom of Mulletville Corp. Cleaned Junior up. Bought him crackers from the vending machine. Held him. Kissed Diddlydoo.

Ah yes, the secret lives of corporate bathrooms.

Not as riveting as how to poop in a corporate bathroom , but hey you're lucky I showed up for this post.

Or maybe I'm the lucky one.

Make laundry fun — and punishable

I don't know why there's so much effing laundry. Yes, there are five of us, but we aren't going anywhere. Part of me feels ...