A disturbing development in my life: It seems that in the 48 hours leading up to my scheduled housecleaning, I am apt to dream dreams about preparing my house for the housekeepers. In my dreams the house is always a wreck and I am overwhelmed by task before me (not at all like my conscious state—oh, wait). But I set about methodically tidying despite constant interruption and seemingly insurmountable odds. I work very hard. I am very stressed out. And then I wake up. The house is still a wreck, and I don’t feel well rested at all.
Et tu, subconscious?

People have suggested that my housekeeping service may be causing me more trouble than it is actually worth. Believe me, I have considered this. I consider it at least every fortnight. (Do you know how much I love the word fortnight? Such a useful word.) But I must conclude that the trouble is indeed worth it. Because I know myself. Without this enforced fortnightly stress, my house would never get cleaned. I would just lie down and die. Or I would try to lie down and my kids would pile on top of me and kill me. In either direction lies death. For me. And anyway, as much stress as there is, nothing compares to the sublime feeling of relief I feel after the housekeepers have left and the house is (momentarily) clean. It’s very much like having a baby. As horrible as labor is, it all becomes inconsequential once the baby’s born.

I really don’t want to take the analogy further than that.

Suffice it to say that my house is still in that just-cleaned stage and I feel like I can do just about anything! Aside from that brief period between 5:00 and 5:30 this evening when my ovaries took my brain hostage and I screamed at two of my children for failing to play Scooby Doo Monopoly in a peaceful manner and also at a third child for failing to stay out of the Scooby Doo Monopoly fiasco when I clearly had it covered with a full-scale freak-out. That was…a thing. I would say I don’t know what came over me, but I know exactly what came over me. SATAN.

(That’s my pet name for my ovaries.)

It’s okay, we all survived. And here we are. Well, here I am. The others, hopefully, are in bed.

Here’s a thing: I’m kind of stressed out about a couple other things. Elvis’s birthday party is on Friday. There will be many children there. We’re having it at an inflatable bouncy toy place, so it’ll be fine, but there will be many children there and I really don’t have the goody bag situation under control, i.e. I haven’t done thing one about the goody bag situation. Damn it all to hell, I really hate goody bags. I don’t want to repeat myself, but the goody bag problem keeps presenting itself, and so I have to say it over and over again: I freaking hate goody bags. I hate everything about them. It’s not just that I hate making them for my own kids’ parties. I hate that my kids get them when they go to other kids’ parties. I hate them on principle. And I hate them for themselves, for what they are—i.e. bags of useless crap that I become responsible for. I hate that I feel compelled to participate in this thing I hate, that I perpetuate the system. I hate that I can’t seem to break free. Mostly I hate not knowing what the crap I’m going to give these kids as a token of my appreciation for showing up and partaking of my hospitality that won’t cost me too much more money than I’m already spending on this god-forsaken party and that won’t violate my Prime Directive, which is “don’t inflict more crap on other innocent parents.” I always end up violating my Prime Directive. It seems like there should be a way not to, but I just…can’t…see it!
Gah! Goody bags. I hate them!

So that’s a little stressful.

Another thing that is stressing me out a little is that I have another clogging performance coming up on Saturday. It’s another retirement home gig, and it shouldn’t worry me because it isn’t that big a deal, but I’ve missed three of the last five practices (one for my daughter’s emergency psychiatric appointment, one for my dad’s birthday and one for my spring break jaunt to The Dalles) and I really don’t feel prepared. I was going to just back out of it—culturally, that is okay in this clogging group because people are really laid-back and informal, but so many ladies had already backed out and there are formations in these numbers and the woman who teaches our group was planning on me being in the formation, so…I just feel obligated. Moreover, maybe I just don’t want to have to back out. I want to be dependable. But I also don’t want to suck.

The last performance we did, back in December, was also at a retirement home, and I don’t mean to perpetuate condescending stereotypes about retirement home residents, but they tend to be very forgiving audiences. That said, the December performance was, to some extent, a disaster. For me personally. One number went reasonably well, but the other one was a disaster—an unmitigated disaster—and I still haven’t gotten over it psychologically. Every time we practice that number I have PTSD issues and I can’t remember any of the steps; it’s like my brain and feet don’t want to remember the steps—they just want to forget they ever heard of that number and pretend that December never happened because how could it if they never heard of that number? Exactly. So there’s that.

Yes, I mean that we will be doing that dreadful number again on Saturday and also a new number that I don’t quite have down yet. It is rather complex. The steps themselves are challenging, and then there are these formations. I have to tell you, in a dancing situation, there is almost nothing worse than facing the wrong way at the wrong time. I have that problem, and then I also have the problem of being on the wrong foot at the wrong time. This is not as obviously horrible from the audience’s perspective, but from the dancer’s perspective it is even worse than facing the wrong way at the wrong time because once you are on the wrong foot, it is hard to get back on the right foot again, and then you’re all confused and behind and it isn’t long before you’re giving up and thinking, “gah, when will this song be over so I can get off stage and stop humiliating myself?”

Such is the suffering of the artist.

Well, I’d blather on endlessly, but my husband is calling me and the longer I ignore him, the more he will think I’m ignoring him. Adieu, gentle readers, adieu.

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