Dumpster Fire

Sometimes dark humor pulls a girl from dark days into the light. Some days dark humor provides enough to keep me putting one foot in front of the other. My little one introduced me to term “dumpster fire” the other day, and I’ve adopted it as the perfect descriptor for my state of mind. And also, I found three different Bitmojis to illustrate. Here’s one–

While my husband was hospitalized, it seemed like a different household item went kaput each day.  When I arrived home from the ICU late the night of the accident, I clicked on the lamp on my nightstand.  The bulb buzzed for a nanosecond before giving up for good.  You might think I’d have done something so easy as change that light bulb, but I didn’t even have that in me.  How many electricians’ wives does it take to change a light bulb??? More than one anyway.

Getting dressed the next morning, I pulled the cord of my closet light, only to have the cord shake loose from the fixture and land in my hands. How does one dress for a day in the ICU anyway?  Now I couldn’t even see into the closet, but I know that at that point, I couldn’t have cared less about my outfit.

Since the day, the side mirror from our car was smashed off (surprisingly not my doing), the dog knocked over a table lamp, pieces and parts scattered, my car battery died, my car’s backing camera is on the fritz, the dog went through a window screen, the rain gutters overfloweth, and a panel of glass from our back door shattered and fell to the ground.

My baby FaceTimed me while I idled in my husband’s hospital room asking how to put a temporary patch on the window.  When I reported back, Tom instantly went into obsession mode, cooking up an idea to replace not only the single panel of glass, but also to replace the entire six-panel leaded frame with a custom art glass piece to fit the colorful theme of our house.  Any modern designer would burst into heart palpitations seeing our orange living room, inside of an avocado-colored dining room, cider-tinted kitchen, and golden hallways and basement.  WE love it, but then we don’t pray to the HGTV 2019 color palette the way the rest of the world seems to.  Anyway, Tom had an idea.  And at that stage in his recovery, whatever idea he held was locked in with a death grip.

Tom phoned a stained glass artist with whom we met shortly after his homecoming.  Tom described what he’d envisioned (it WAS awesome!), and the glass artist returned some sketches.  Together they came up with a clean, colorful, beautiful design.  Fabrication began and yesterday, six-plus weeks after concept, the glass was installed.  It turned out exactly as I’d seen it in my mind, better really.  It turned out exactly as my husband had hoped, and he smiled each time he walked past it since the install.

His accident occurred over two months ago already.  So much has happened since that first day.  So much needs yet to happen to find equilibrium again. A bright new window maybe triggers brighter, less dumpster-y states of mind?? That’s my hope.

I’m pathetic company these days, even my friends are tired of me. And while my social calendar wasn’t exactly buzzing from May 7 til now because, you can imagine, my time’s been heavily booked otherwise, I’m not seeking company either.  I know I’m a super downer. I find myself reliving the accident, well reliving MY experience of the accident quite a lot, and I’m sad.  A lot.  And, as I told a friend, I feel like any trace of complaint I would voice is a betrayal of the HE DIDN’T DIE lottery ticket I held back on May 7. 

And I’m mad.  A lot.  The incident was truly accidental; I know this.  I haven’t for one second believed it to be anything but an accident.  My husband apologizes over how the accident has changed my summer plans, and I’m practically shouting back that the accident changed OUR ENTIRE LIVES!!

I knew we’d get here, here being the period of time just west of imminent danger–when the relief of having survived is supplanted by rehab and the reality of the permanency of his injuries. And though I am no fun whatsoever, I am so damn happy I still have a husband, because it wasn’t a guarantee.

My friends say I’m strong. I want to want to feel happy and normal-ish, but instead I kinda want to slog through a pool of woe-is-me for a brief while. I know I should want to be dancing on rooftops, thanking the stars above (and oh, every day til this week, I have been!!), but meh is me.

To me, this window represents light and cheer and holy crap, he didn’t die. I call it the “You Didn’t Die Window” and I love it.

Let there be light. Please.

Dude, We’re Getting 72.7% Of The Band Back Together

It’s totally normal to wake with jolts of anxiety over a concert, right?  I’m unsettled, like despite my pleas with my favorite band to keep playing as long as is humanly possible (which, thank you, Tyler, you did announce to a crowd of several thousand people last July that you would, we totally heard it!  Oh, and by the by, it’s not like they actually listen to me personally) you just feel something’s not perfectly copacetic with your universe, and what if this is the last time I’ll ever get to see them?  What if I wake up tomorrow and everything has changed?  What if I sleep through my flight?  What if it snows and my flight is canceled?

I’m  watching my dog sleep–it’s 3:38 AM and so should I be sleeping, but the bully named insomnia claimed victory in tonight’s battle. My mutt looks like an angel–peaceful cycles of puppy inhales and exhales, all four paws racing as he chases bunnies in his doggy dreams, and I think I would love nothing more than to kiss his squishy face just above his eyes right now.  Then I remember the terrorist he is in daylight, and question “Who hates their dog?”  Oh yeah, it’s me, I’m that horrible person engaged in a love-hate relationship with her dog.  I love him.  I hate him.  I love him.  Ask me again in two minutes.  What is wrong with me?

The weeks-long, snail’s pace strain of viral and/or bacterial shit pummeling my body into an inert blob of coughing spasms, congestion so entrenched I’ll never enunciate a clear p, m, or b again, strep-ish throat, and other super sexy symptoms loves me bestest.  It will not take its leave.

I have time for neither insomnia nor the modern plague.  You can’t reason with anxiety, and you can’t affect the longevity of your fave band by enveloping them in the bubble wrap of your good wishes. People, it’s show time.

Several weeks back (you can do the math here if you like) I rose to get my coat, and noticed the office countdown wall had been amended extra-special, just for me.  See, we’re educators, so we need things to look forward to more than other worker bees.  My friend Christine once stated, and I quote, “People who don’t hear the phrase bitch-ass motherfucker thrown at them in the workplace don’t need breaks as often as we inner-city teachers do.”  Preach, sister.  Anyway, one of my office mates, Melita, very quietly and much to my giddy delight added this.  I snorted.  My poor office mates tolerate encourage my crazy, and OK, I don’t mind it so much.  I do mind the use of bitch-ass MFs, four-year-olds telling me I get on their nerves, or eight-year-old girls blowing snot rockets on my therapy room floor while “sneakily” giving me the finger.  Like I didn’t see it.  Amateur.

I have this group of friends about whom I’ve written before–my Barenaked Ladies super fan friends, the #Ladiesladies.  Not a day passes that one of us eleven misses reaching out in some way to the group.  The #Ladiesladies are privy to an impressive volume of confidences, pinky sworn to secrecy.  We use our message forum to share our lives–the good, the bad, the ugly.

I’m closer to owning up to what I’ve been tap-dancing around: I may just be tilting a little closer to depressed.  Since my boy’s diagnosis, I’ve acknowledged a range of emotions here in print.  WordPress is much cheaper than therapy, and rereading my history on this platform evidences tremendous personal growth (and I’m not just talking the ten extra pounds–now down to seven, go, me!–of belly floppin’ here).  I’ve intermittently permitted that maybe, possibly, could be I’m depressed, or that I’d consider thinking that maybe I’m depressed during the last two years.  But over the last several months I’ve noticed how I’m not bouncing back like I typically do.  I don’t look forward to things with my customary energy and enthusiasm.  I don’t laugh as inappropriately or loudly as is my norm.  I’m still functional, and still appear mostly Wendyesque, so I don’t feel my malaise rises to the level of clinical significance.  I don’t know.  WordPress is cheaper than therapy, sure, but not quite as interactive or diagnose-y.

My #Ladiesladies probably see it.  They notice when I’m posting and responding less frequently.  We all notice that of each other actually, but no matter what, no matter what! we are there for each other.  They’re some of the first people I told about my son’s diagnosis.  “Hey guys!  How was your Wednesday?  My older son was identified with muscular dystrophy this morning.  I’m the walking dead.”  It actually did go something like that, though I don’t precisely remember.  What I do remember is that they were there.  They’re there when I’m sick or annoyed or worried.  And when I’m joyful or exuberant.  We’ve been together through broken hearts and broken bones–cancer, automobile accidents, the loss of parents and other loved ones, our babies’ first home runs, their dance recitals and choir concerts.  We represent two provinces and seven states–of all the gin joints in all the world, we found each other. To the actual Ladies, our band–these women who hold my hand as I peek over the precipice?  We are friends because of you.  Thank you.

Eleven strong last June, clad in our fuchsia team shirts, a few women asked us about us.  “Can we be in your club?” a woman asked of me outside one of the beer gardens. Someone tweeted, “Help a sister out, #Ladiesladies, I need in.”  “When can I get my shirt?” asked yet another.

You can’t.  And not because we’re some middle school junior bitch clique, no. You can love the band, and you can be their #1 fan in all the world (well you can think you are. . .  Even I am not top five, but really I think it’s because I am simply too broke to make it a full-time job), and I will look forward to seeing you again and again. Fans of our band, not just my inner circle, are good, good people.  It’s a blast to go to shows anyway, but those hugs and time spent at shows with people I’d otherwise never have known?  A gift.  Since my concentrated hobby ramped up to its current level of investment, I’ve asked my husband not to buy me material gifts.  My friends and the shows I attend with them are privilege enough.  He doesn’t get the band thing, but he doesn’t have to.  I do.  And that’s enough.

#Ladiesladies membership cards are worth their weight in platinum and out of print.  You can’t deny the oddest of odds–eleven random people with nothing but a shared musical hobby clicked. Eight of our eleven are making the run this weekend, only 72.7%.  Gonna miss my Amy, Jen, and Katie for sure–love you, friends!  But for the rest of us?  Let’s go, girls.  I need you to keep me strong.

It’s show time. #PlanesTrainsAndAutomobiles