Dog Farts and Peacocks

I’m surrounded by dog farts and peacocks. To be clear, they aren’t actual peacocks (I’m not a fan) but rather representational peacocks. To be crystal clear, the dogs farts are real, not representational and quite abundant. I’m reading Flannery O’Conner (yes, again, or rather, still) with a highlighter, in bed, under my blanket that mysteriously matches “A Good Man is Hard to Find and Other Stories” (A Harvest Book edition). So mysterious. And my poodle is on the end of the bed farting because, and I think this is the correct answer, he hates me.

It’s midnight on a Saturday, or maybe it’s Sunday and this is my life now, and I wish it were a folly, a joke, a side-splitter, but it’s real life and as we know real life can, at times, be just as ridiculous as art.

That is all.

Good day, Madams and sirs.

M.

Mysterious…

Sleepy Time

A Klonopin, two sleep aid tablets, and a melatonin gummy, that’s my sleep regimen. I’ve been talking so much about sleep lately, or lack of, that I’d thought I’d share my concoction. It’s not perfect, in fact some days it’s not even good, doesn’t work. Makes me very tired, then goes away. Maybe my body adjusts? Either way, a Klonopin, two sleep aid tablets, and melatonin are my best friends.

Last night I took my concoction and went to bed. I read for an hour, no sleep, then another thirty minutes. Finally, my eyes just sort of closed. An hour later I was wide awake, looking at the clock. Midnight. Great.

Tossing and turning ensued, and by 4:30 am I decided to call it a day. I got up, took a shower, and was just about to get clothes on for the day when I thought maybe I’ll try to lay back down. Luckily I fell right to sleep this time, and slept until it was time for my doctor’s appointment. Probably what had been keeping me up anyway. Stress. Huh! It’s a bitch.

Hope y’all are sleeping well! If so, can you catch up on some for me. I’d appreciate it.

M.

I’m Vintage Now

I had a random memory today of rocking in a rocking chair of my very own when I was little. I’m not sure how old I was, maybe four, and I had on a blue sailor dress and it was my birthday. I’d just plopped down in the rocking chair made for someone like me (a kid) and I rocked and reached television. I’m not sure where the rocking chair came from, but I faintly remember what it looked like so I welcomed the internet in to help search. And I found the one closest to the rocking chair in my memory.

My rocking chair looked like this one. I think it might have been from The Cass Toy Company, at least that’s what internet sleuths before me have said. The company burned down before I was born, but it’s possible, and likely, this was a hand-me-down, or a garage sell find.

Anyway, I’m wishing I had that little chair now. Some of that four-year-olds energy, and just a smidge of that “vintage” charm around here.

By the way, I had to Google “vintage” in order to find this rocking chair from my childhood. What the hell?!

Maybe, probably we are all vintage by this point.

M.

Keeping On

It’s the middle of the night and I’m awake again and I need to pee but the dog is laying on my leg and she’s breathing hard, those quick, hard puppy breathes that mean she’s sleeping soundly and I don’t want to wake her. We don’t all need to be awake. We don’t all need to be prowling around the house in the middle of the night.

I’m two books in to this semester and I’m having bad dreams. Maybe not bad dreams, but certainly strange ones. Dreams about ghosts, and kudzu, and pits that are black and don’t end. I’m dreaming about the Civil War and death, and I’m seeing relics from another time.

I’m fighting back a bout of lows that always comes this time of year, but some years I don’t have the time for it to come and this is week two of my MFA program and I’m two books in, 10 articles, three discussions, a handful of Zoom calls, and I’m tired. I want to sleep most of the day because I’m awake most of the night and this cloud is following me around but I’m managing. And I’ll manage. Until I won’t anymore.

I’m crossing my fingers for December.

Keep on keepin on, y’all.

M.

Storms

It’s another 4:00 am post. I’ve been waking up each night at 3:00 am, and tossing and turning, waiting patiently to fall back to sleep. Last night I read, tonight I’ll write. Maybe tomorrow I’ll just stare blankly at the cracks of light in the curtains until my eye lids get heavy and my breathing slows.

Yesterday would have been my daughter’s ninth birthday. I’m supposed to have a daughter. Jackson is supposed to have a little sister. She should be nine. Playing Minecraft with her brother, asking for dolls, crazy over the Korean pop bands, or maybe just learning how to braid her own hair. I don’t know. I don’t know what daughters do, or like, or how they live.

Tonight I’m stuck in this same spot. I’ve been here before. I’ll be here again. The weather is changing. There’s are two storms coming up the Gulf. And I just don’t know what daughters do. I’m sure I’ll get more time to think about it. I hope I’ll get more time to think about it. Just not at 4:00 am.

M.

So Common…

The first semester of my MFA program starts on Thursday. I spent yesterday combing through syllabus after syllabus, trying to figure out why the hell I am even doing this, and not one syllabus gave me an answer. What good are they if they can’t answer the mystery of my current life’s question? Bleh. I did start to get organized, and I did freak out and sorta scream-cry into my fan like Tommy Boy when he’s doing the Darth Vader thing. It sorta came out like, “LUUUUUUUUKE, why are you doing this to me?!” Turns out the Force couldn’t give me an answer either.

Most of this week’s work is standard, run-of-the-mill, first week stuff. Introductions, why are you here, what do you plan to get out of this program, on a scale of 1-10 how much do you LOVE Eudora Welty? That sorta thing. But I did stumble upon one project that a professor wants me to do that sort of peaked my curiosity. It’s for my creative non-fiction forms class. She wants us to keep a commonplace book. A what now? That’s what I said. A commonplace book. A commonplace book is just a notebook, or a moleskin, or a word doc, or a stack of notecards where you write down ideas, quotes, conversations, etc that delight you, amaze you, amuse you, etc, etc. With me now? I was all, Ohhhh, yeah I have like eight of those! I didn’t know they had a name.

I routinely use the “Notes” app on my phone. Or I take a picture of a page of the book I am reading, or a fold the corner down. Sometimes I think, hmm, I should get a recorder for this shit. Sometimes I just text Jerimiah. I will be all, “…my mother’s refrigerator in Chiang Mai, Thailand…” and he will be all, “Huh?” And I’ll be all, “It’s for me to remember later.” So yeah, I’m versed at this, but keep it all in one place? That might be the hard part.

So I started thinking, where is somewhere I could keep this Commonplace book? Should I do notecards, should I do digital? Turns out yes, because I have to turn in my Commonplace Book at the end of the semester and it has to be at least five pages, single-spaced. Well, shit.

So I decided since I come here every day, why don’t I just make a commonplace book on this here blog. So I did. It was easy. So now you have access to my crazy random thoughts–as if you didn’t before–and I feel more organized. Look at that, us working together.

Love you guys so much.

M.

One Day Accident Free

I worked in a factory once. It was a plastic, heat, 3M something or other factory. The point is I worked in one. A place where you had to clock in and out. A place you were assigned a pair of safety glasses (in my case two, because I dropped the first pair out of my pocket and ran over them), and there was a sign that hung above the entrance that said, “__ Days Accident Free.” I always liked that sign, mainly because it usually have a high number in the blank spot, something like 88. None of that has anything to do with what I’m here to tell you today, except that maybe if I had a sign like that in my house it would say, “__ Days Anxiety-induced Drinking To the Point of Vomiting Over the Side of the Hot Tub Free” and I’d currently be wiping the slate clean to start over at 1 again.

These are some rough days y’all. But as I laid in my bed Saturday night, or really early Sunday morning, and watched it spin around me I certainly remember a loud, booming voice coming out of somewhere to say, “Hey Girl, you’re too old for this actual shit.” And that voice was right. But here’s the thing, I didn’t intend to drink that much. And honestly, factually, I didn’t drink anymore than I normally do, but I did forget to eat dinner.

But here’s the other thing: I’m drinking more than I usually do these days. I suspect a lot of us are, and we need to keep an eye on that, ya dig? I was reminded yesterday. And I know what you’ll say: You’ll say, “Yes girl, me too!” Or maybe you’ll say, “Ohnothankyou I don’t drink and you shouldn’t either.” Or maybe you’ll be like, “This shit is rough. It feels like there is no end in sight and every once in awhile we need to let go of some of that control we so desperately try to give ourselves when the world feels like it’s spinning out of control, and for some of us it’s shopping online, for others it’s smoking that one cigarette you have hiding under the loose 2×4 in your shed, or maybe it’s a bottle of wine with your husband in your hot tub once a month. Whatever it is, we need to be okay with doing it. Every once in awhile.” Is that you? Did you say that? I hope so.

I hope so.

In this shitty, upside down world, I’m okay with my choices. Honestly. If I wasn’t y’all know I’d tell you so. But I’m not okay with pushing 40 and being hungover. Nay, nay. That shit’s for the birds. I’ll be keeping my wine hand light from here on out. And you, well you watch yourself too. And remember, I’m always around to talk.

Stay safe and sane, y’all.

M.

Political Masking

I can’t sleep. It’s three am, and I’m awake watching the light from the window stream in. The light is different out here in the country. It’s softer. It’s the moonlight. Starlight. It’s the things you can see more clearly in the dark. I’m in bed, awake, thinking about kindness. About masks. About how different the world suddenly is for my child. But mainly I’m thinking about kindness.

The fact that wearing a mask for public safety right now is a political stance, or an opinion, or a whatever the hell it is, is making me very upset, and I think what it boils down to is kindness. Not niceness, not a performative act (although shame might be the driving force for some people to wear one), but rather the ability to think about someone other than yourself. If your concern with wearing a mask is your freedom, or how you look in one, or how it will negatively impact you, you’re completely missing the point of the masks. This isn’t about you, it’s about us, the collective. It’s about saving as many fragile lives as we can. It isn’t about you, it’s about your friend’s great-grandma, or your sister’s mother-in-law, or your child’s friend with a compromised system. It’s about wanting everyone to survive this. It’s about doing the most good for the most amount of people, which is probably why you’ll find mask-wearing will fall along political lines. The most good for the most amount of people, yeah, we don’t all want that. And I’m just laying here tonight, watching the moonlight stream in, and I’m wondering how we came to a point when genuine kindness, generosity, and care for humankind become a political stance. Maybe it always has been, I was just too naive to notice?

Take care, be safe, wear a mask, stay home if you can.

M.

Little Noises

Click, click. Tap, tap. Sploot. Click, click, click… These are the noises I hear at night when I am trying to fall asleep. I’ll be so close to sleep. My eyes closed, rolling back toward my brain from under my lightly pulled lids, then I will hear it. The click or the tap or the sploot. I open my eyes wide, cock my head to the side, grab hold of my husband’s sleeping arm. Do you hear that, I’ll whisper. He will respond in a snore. I’ll move my eyes toward the ceiling, imagine a squirrel scampering quickly over the layers of pine needles I haven’t willed myself to clean. It must be squirrels, I think. Then I lay my head back on my pillow, close my eyes, and try again.

I hear the noises, but the truth is, they aren’t there. They are part of a dreamlike state I get to before I fall over the cliff into dreams, into tossing and turning, sweating myself awake. The noises aren’t real, that’s why my husband doesn’t hear them, why my dogs are never jumping around barking. There is not really a click, or a tap, or a sploot. It’s all in my head.

This happens to me in times of stress. I hear things that aren’t real. Bacon sizzling in a pan. A wayward footstep. For years my doctors have blamed it on my medication. Auditory hallucinations they call it. Here, try this new pill instead. Only it isn’t the medication. The medication is doing it’s job. It is making me function all day. Allowing me to smile, even when I don’t want to. Allowing me to stay focused and motivated. But at night, when my brain is refusing to collapse into sleep, when the stress of the day catches up to me, then I’m on my own.

And all I can think right now, today as I wait to fall asleep in a cocoon of safety, my home alarm set, my husband sleeping quietly next to me, my son tucked safely in his bed, my two overly-anxious dogs at my feet, all I can think is, if I’m hearing clicks, taps, and sploots, what are other people hearing?

Hope you get some sleep today, friends.

M.

Instant Regret

  • When I say yes to a flavor shot in my iced coffee at Dunkin’
  • When my stomach has been rumbling and I trust a fart
  • Yelling, “Turn it up!” as I dance on a bar after three shots of tequila
  • Answering the door
  • That fourth enchilada
  • Every time I say, “I can help!” at a PTO meeting
  • “Ohhh, this gives me an idea! I’m gonna need some Sharpies.”
  • “What?! Me? I’ll be fine in the morning! Yes, another glass of wine!”
  • Open>Excel
  • Answering the phone for a number I don’t know
  • Answering the phone for a number I do know
  • Sign-up for a 20% off code
  • Using the bathroom at a Captain D’s
  • “What did Daddy say? It doesn’t matter, sure do it.”
  • Buying anything in a BOGO deal
  • Chinese food
  • Trying “something new” at Great Clips
  • Sign-up Genius
  • Horseback riding
  • Screaming, “Ain’t no laws, when you’re drinking Claws” as I jump off the roof of the dock
  • Agreeing to a dance off
  • Taco Bell
  • “We need another dog…”
  • Crawling out a bathroom stall in a Southern Missouri Quik Trip because the latch wouldn’t give and I had a panic attack thinking I’d be trapped forever
  • Offering to babysit
  • Scuba diving
  • Getting a pint of Ben and Jerry to limit myself, then eating my pint and my kid’s pint
  • “Let’s do the Couch to 5K!”
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  • Sitting on the ground criss-cross apple sauce
  • “I should be able to flush this toilet one more time…”
  • Trying a new recipe
  • Vacationing anywhere in Louisiana
  • Agreeing to donate to a canned food drive
  • Zoom
  • Jumping on the trampoline after I’ve had babies, and vodka
  • Vodka, all kinds
  • Attempting to teach my son the “Thriller” dance on a rainy night
  • Screaming, “You don’t know who Ronnie Milsap is?!” at someone I just met
  • Girls’ Night Out Painting Class
  • “Are you still watching?”
  • Free Trial!
  • My third Diet Coke

Be safe out there, y’all.

M.

Spinning Flower Pinwheels

A funny thing happened on the way to ambush Jackson’s teacher’s house with flowers and signs under the cover of darkness: We were almost spotted! Let me back up. Yesterday we did a car parade in front of Jackson’s teacher’s house. It was an idea from one parent in the class, facilitated by another parent, and communicated to the masses by me. It was a week-long negotiation of emails, time slots, text messages, and pure craziness–but it paid off big time! That’s another post. This one is about the night before the parade.

Jackson and I got this great idea to place 25 flamingos in his teacher’s yard the night before, with a sign that said, “The rest of the flock will be here tomorrow.” Funny, right? Well we had this idea on Monday, and when I tried to order 25 flamingos I couldn’t get anyone to promise me they would be here by Thursday. So we moved to Plan B: 25 spinning flower pinwheels from the Dollar Tree, with a sign that said, “Thanks for helping us grow!” Sweet. Not as funny, but definitely cute. And it did the trick! The next morning a surprised Mr. Budd filmed his front yard and shared it on Class Dojo with everyone. He was incredibly touched by the gesture, but what he didn’t see was the chaotic lead up to this picture-perfect moment.

First, there was Jerimiah and me in the Dollar Tree, a place I’m a little freaked out to go into when there isn’t a global pandemic happening. We had our masks on, our hand sani in our pockets, and we looked EVERYWHERE for those spinning flowers before we were about to give up. Walking out the front door I did one last turn to see and BOOM! they were right at the front door. Palm to face. So then we loaded up on 25 of them, some cardboard, balloons and streamer (for the car) and maybe some candy, who can be sure? What?! EVERYTHING IS A DOLLAR THERE, Y’ALL!

We get home and have all sorts of ideas. Pinning names to the flowers, making the flowers spell something out, wild, wild, ideas. Near hour two I had a breakdown of sorts, as I do from time to time, and said, “Listen here, assholes! We are gonna go over in the cover of darkness, stick these in the yard, and run away frantically. We aren’t doing any fancy shit.” I was really just talking to myself at this point, because Jerimiah was grilling steaks on the patio and Jackson had already checked out. So that’s just what we did.

At 9:45 pm we left our house for his teacher’s. He lives approximately two minutes from us (hey, we are a neighborhood school, okay) and when we got there we did a slow roll by to scope things out. Now it was apparent by this point that I was the only one who had done any sort of “stalking” for nefarious purposes. Jerimiah didn’t understand why were doing a “stakeout” and Jackson was basically the loudest person I have ever heard in my entire life. To make matters worse, Jackson had dressed in camo and a cowboy hat. ??? The lights in the house were on, so we drove by a second time and this time stopped short of the Budd house and Jackson hopped out to gather some “intel.” Just as he jumped out I saw Mrs. Budd’s shadow walking through the house and I rolled my window down to signal to Jackson to get back into car. He saw me and yelled in our general direction, “WHAT, MOMMY? WHAT ARE YOU SAYING?!”

At that point I made Jerimiah back up the street. He was like, “Isn’t this more suspicious?” Ugh. Then we agreed we were just too early. So we did what anyone would do: We went to Dairy Queen. In the DQ line we debated Raspberry Blizzards, decided on code names (Eagle Eye, Momma Bird, and Falcon) and Jackson tried to incorporate number codes. He was all, “Code Three means imminent danger, okay? Okay, Momma Bird?!” and shit like that. Jerimiah decided we did in fact need to be organized, and I took the springy, red DQ spoon and stabbed him directly… just kidding. I said, “That’s what I’ve been saying,” while I cracked my knuckles loudly on the dashboard. We made a plan.

We’d park facing the front yard, the wrong way on the street. It is a quiet cul-de-sac, so no one would see us, or even care. We’d turn our lights off, obvi. Jackson would go first, put the first sign up (the one for Mr. Budd’s kids) and take just a couple of the spinning pinwheels, which at this point were hanging on by a thread, having been moved into a box, out of a box, pushed, shoved, hidden, gathered up, slammed down. Honestly we were expecting a lot from Dollar Store spinning pinwheels. Then Jerimiah and I split up the remaining pinwheels. I held mine in my hand, and he stuck his in cup holder because he was the driver. Okay. We had ice cream. We had a plan. It was go time! So we immediately drove back home, because Jackson ordered a fucking large and I was like, “Did you actually order a fucking large ice cream at 10 pm on a Wednesday?! You need to save half of that!” So he needed to get it into the freezer. Then, ahem, we were off again! By this time it was 10:15 and we thought certainly Mr. Budd would be sound asleep. No. Nope. Lights on. Same deal. But honestly it was now or never.

We rolled down the street, lights off, Jackson’s nervous shaking leg smashed into the back of my seat, spinning flower pinwheels poking my legs, and parked where we had discussed. Jackson got out of the car, slammed his door shut, Jerimiah winced, I screamed “JESUS!” and he started toward the yard. It was at this point that we realized he had left his sign and spinning pinwheels in the damn backseat. I rolled the window down and whisper-yelled, “What the hell man, full hands in, full hands out!” Then Jackson, from two yards away, in the Budd’s front lawn, yelled back, “WHAT? MOMMY WHAT DID YOU SAY?”

I started flailing my arms around in the car, and Jerimiah calm as a cucumber said, “It’s time,” and quietly opened his car door. I grabbed my shit and jumped out, as Jackson came running back YELLING, “THERE’S SOMEONE ON THE BACK PORCH!” In which I asked, “How the hell can you see the back porch? You’re freaking out, man!” All while Jerimiah was already putting spinning flowers into the ground. We joined him. Finally.

At this point I don’t know what happened. I had convinced myself that the street light coming from the top of the hill was a flashlight, and OMIGOD who was walking their dog at 10:30 at night?! And Jackson had placed his stuff, so he was just wondering around making loud noises. We gave it one last look, glanced up at the house, didn’t see anyone, and booked it to the car. I got there first and opened the passenger door to see, you guessed it, spinning flower pinwheels on the floorboard. I screamed, legitimately screamed, and grabbed them up and shoved them at Jerimiah who was trying to get into his seat. “What the…?” he started. “They are yours, they fell out of the cupholder,” I said. Then he sat and looked at me for a full second, in which I 100% thought we would sit there and argue over if they were in fact his from the cupholder, or if I had simply forgot a couple of mine. Instead, maybe because the urgency took hold, he ran away with the damn spinning pinwheels.

So there I sat, alone in the car, when it occurred to me that I had no idea where Jackson was. That’s when I heard him yelling, “Code 1! Code 1!” from the middle of the street, which if I remember correctly, means “All Clear!”

That’s it, that is how we pulled off the spinning flower pinwheel front yard at Jackson’s teacher’s house. And it was worth it.

Thanks, Mr. Budd, for being the kind of teacher who deserves 25 $1 spinning flower pinwheels in your front yard. We are glad we didn’t get caught. And even though it was hot mess, we’d do it all over again any day.

M.

New Office, Who Dis?

We finally broke down and made Jerimiah a home office. I know, I know, why did he not have a home office, Missy? Well, because he never asked for one. He’s one of those people who can do things in any space. He can fall asleep, for example, sitting upright, with two dogs fighting over a stuffed porcupine, while Jackson plays trumpet behind him, and I yell from the kitchen about what that damn smell is. So it’s safe to say he can work, well, anywhere. He has a laptop, an iPad, and a mobile dock he can connect his laptop to anywhere he needs to. He isn’t a complainer. He’s happy in lots of places and spaces, and there have been a lot of spaces.

In the fall he set up a hasty office in the basement, when his actual office was going through a remodel and they had to work from home for two months. He went to IKEA and bought a cheap desk, brought his chair from home from work, a couple of monitors, and set up shop in the basement across from Jackson’s Lego Table. Eventually, when his office was reopened, his “desk” BECAME the Lego table. So when he was told he’d be working from home back in March, we improvised. We took the pub table that was in our basement, and stuck it in our extra room upstairs. Boom. He worked at it for a few weeks, amid old Halloween decorations and boxes of scrapbooks, before I noticed him setting up shop at the dining room table.

Finally he looked at me and said, “Umm, can I sit at your desk for a bit?” When I inquired he said the pub table wasn’t really conducive to what he needed. Then I appropriately freaked the fuck out, and told him he needed to tell me shit like that. I felt horrible, banishing him away from the living space, so I did what anyone would do: I dropped hard cash on a whole office suite for him (that I picked out), forced him to rent a U-haul, and made him move incredibly heavy furniture all day on a Sunday to make him an office. Duh.

I actually gave him my office, which is really supposed to be the dining room, but it is the smallest dining room I’ve ever seen. So I took the extra room upstairs which was really just full of old Christmas tubs and two to three piles of clothes that don’t fit me anymore. And now here we are. I feel better, he can actually do work with spreadsheets, and multiple screens, and, I dunno, an abacus or whatever he uses, and I am upstairs remodeling a spare room into my office. And I’m secretly really happy about it, and my office is way better than his now, but shhhh, don’t tell him that.

So there you go. I’m wallpapering llamas to my book shelves, and there is legit a chandelier hanging above my desk now. I know you think I’m kidding, because who the hell needs a chandelier over their desk, but, umm, I do. I’ll share pics when I’m done sorting my books into alphabetical, color-coordinated stacks.

Meanwhile here is what I managed to hastily cobble together for my husband, and you guessed it, he’s as happy as a number-crunching clam.

M.

Galileo Thermometer, to know when I walk into the room…
Brass telescope given to us by a former employer, Mary Kellogg-Joslyn.
My grandfather’s radio and a vintage Boston Pencil Sharpener, the Kansas model.
Pics of our favorite city.
Winnie found her spot.
I interrupted an important meeting with my picture taking: Sir Duke, Lady Winifred, and Daddy. Credenza in the back is as heavy as it looks.

Wallpaper

One of the first stories I read in a college lit class was “The Yellow Wall Paper” by Charlotte Perkins Gilman, and I’ve always remembered it. If you haven’t had the pleasure, please partake. It is a short story full of madness and powerlessness, a true Gothic Lit masterpiece in my opinion. And since it was published in 1892, there’s the whole portrayal of female oppression and societal expectations, you know early feminism. Good. Good. Good.

In short, the woman in the story is sent to a house for a “rest cure,” you know, she’s mentally unstable and her doctor/husband thinks she needs sunlight and rest, because that’ll fix ya right up, when really she just needed to stab her doctor/husband. Anywho, she starts to actually go crazy cause he keeps her in one room. The room has, you guessed it, yellow wallpaper. And as the days go on, and she starts to really lose her shit, the wallpaper “changes,” and suddenly she thinks she’s trapped in the wallpaper! Haha. What a silly girl!

Missy, why you telling us this? Listen, y’all I’m way into wallpaper right now. I’m not sure what sparked it, but I’ve been researching it, perusing wallpaper sites, googling things about how many square feet one roll can cover, etc. etc. I’m on a mission to wallpaper my office and I’m pretty close to figuring this whole thing out. But I think what is really happening is that I’m pretty close to losing my shit. I think it falls in line with me not dealing with the real shit of the world right now, sorta like if I keep my mind and fingers busy on a project, I can forget the world is horrible. Yeah, that’s it!

But even as I lay in bed at night and envision my dream accent wall, or a wallpaper shop that lets you design your own wallpaper, I still can’t shake the woman in “The Yellow Wallpaper,” her plight, her mental health, her asshole husband. Her life is wrapping itself up in mine alright. And yeah, I get the irony. The undertones. The whole shebang. But I’ll tell you one thing, I’m not buying damn yellow wallpaper.

M.

I Miss TJ Maxx

Why can’t I remember what I intended to do when I walked into the living room but I can draw, from memory, Rosie the robot housekeeper from The Jetson’s? Why can’t I sit down and actually write a piece of flash fiction that isn’t total trash, but I can watch seven episodes, back-to-back, of “Brick City” the docu-series about Cory Booker and how he changed Newark in 2008? Why can’t I concentrate long enough to play virtual games with friends for an hour, but I have no problem falling asleep halfway through my fifteenth round of solitaire on my phone? Why am I this person? Why do people put up with me?

I dunno, I’m stuck in my head again today, ya’ll. Obvi. I’m stuck and can’t find a way out. Yesterday I cleaned my office. I legit went through my desk drawers. I organized my paperclips. I ORGANIZED PAPERCLIPS. I Lysol-ed my desk, my keyboard, my chair, and my lamp. I ensured that one of my bookshelves was in order by color, while the other only had female authors on it. I placed hand sanitizer next to my screen. I did all this in hopes that I would sit down to write the next day and a wonderful little story or poem or essay would shoot out of my fingertips onto the screen and I’d be okay again. It did not happen.

Instead I trolled a poodle website and ordered my kid some clothes from The Gap.

The fucking Gap.

I haven’t shopped at The Gap since God-knows-when and it occurred to me that he needed new clothes for sixth grade and the first place I typed into the search bar was The fucking Gap. What is actually wrong with me? There are a million better places to shop for what amounts to a uniform, considering my kid only wears suits, khakis (not denim), and polo shirts. Like why the fuck did Target not automatically pop up in my history? What is happening?! Where am I headed? Gap Hell. That’s where. Then, just like that something happened in my head. I felt happy. For just a moment. And I thought what is this happiness I am feeling? Is this from shopping? Then it hit me, I miss TJ Maxx.

Four hundred dollars later. Jesus, I wish this was a joke. Four hundred dollars later, I successfully shopped for all of his back-to-school clothes, FOUR MONTHS EARLY, and then I was like what now? I can’t just go stroll through TJ Maxx. What should I do? Should I buy school supplies? Where should I buy them from? Office Depot?!

Two days later I bought new bedside table lamps. They are touch lamps. I ordered touch lamps from Amazon because I didn’t want to have to actually push the button to turn a lamp off anymore. It was too much. It was all too much, pushing switches to turn a lamp off?! What is this, communist Russia?!

I think I’ve reached that point in quarantine where nothing I do makes sense. The world is make-believe and the points don’t matter. Only in this case, it’s real money from my bank account and it, uhh, kinda sorta matters. Someone stop me. Someone tell me I don’t need to buy a case of wine because “The more you buy, the more you save!” Someone tell me to unplug. To delete my debit card from automatically popping up. Someone tell me, would barn doors be okay on my office or should I just install French doors?

HELP!

M.

Wandering Minds Want to Know

I can’t keep my head on straight these days. My mind is all over the place. Even with bumping therapy up to two times a month, and staying on top of my medication, I feel like I can’t keep my emotions and thoughts in check. Here is a list of things I was thinking about within a five-minute span of time this morning while I was “relaxing” and drinking my coffee:

  • The yard needs mowed
  • Call the hot tub guy about the new cover that is coming
  • Dinner?
  • Which dog pooped in the hallway?
  • Is it okay to let Jackson (my 11YO) study criminal justice when he’s in college?
  • Who was the guy the neighbors had to call the cops on last night?
  • Our governor is a nutcase
  • Did I register to vote absentee?
  • I’m glad my husband fixed the hydraulics in my office chair
  • I need to bathe the dogs today
  • When will it be safe to leave my house? May 30th?
  • There were 500 more positive tests over night here
  • Masks came in the mail!
  • Thank-you cards need to go out
  • Jerimiah ordered me new headphones
  • We need to legalize weed, and let people out of prison ASAP
  • Adele is so great
  • My hands are sweaty, but my feet are cold
  • Is it going to rain today?
  • Why can’t I write?!
  • How often do normal people poop?
  • Robin Williams was awesome
  • I’m gonna drink some wine tonight
  • I’ve been drinking too much wine
  • I need to organize my office
  • How much Tylenol is too much Tylenol?
  • Senior Citizens in nursing homes should be locked down
  • I hope we can still manage a “Fifth Grade Fun Day!” this summer
  • I need to start the Couch to 5K
  • What was that book I wanted to read?
  • I should text my friends and say hi
  • I missed that voting thing with Michelle Obama, I’m a loser, Michelle was counting on me
  • I wish I had a backpack leaf blower
  • What happened to Ben Folds?

That is a snippet of what I was thinking about. I couldn’t write the exhaustive list.

What is going on you guys? What is keeping your mind racing? Are you able to combat that feeling? What is working? What is not? What have you tried? What are you excited about trying?

Help.

M.