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So tomorrow we’re going to the pumpkin patch to buy pumpkins so we can carve jack-o’-lanterns for Halloween. I’m looking forward to the day when my children are so old that we no longer feel obligated to make an annual trip to the pumpkin patch and pretend like it’s something meaningful. It’s always such an ordeal. I mean, driving out there is fine. But then you’re there, and if it’s not raining, it’s muddy, and everyone has to walk around searching for the perfect pumpkin, and then we have to take all the pumpkins to be weighed and bought and I always think, “I do not enjoy Halloween this many dollars’ worth.” And then we have to stand around and have a conversation about whether or not we’re going to pay more dollars so the kids can do a frigging corn maze or whatever, or we have to look at decorative gourds and homemade jam and whatnot, and it just seems to take forever. Why do we have to do these things? I DO NOT KNOW. Except that I do know why we have to do it. We have to do it because we’ve always done it and so it’s tradition and as soon as we stop doing it, the kids will know their childhoods are officially over and that will just depress everyone. Except possibly me because I really don’t want to go to the pumpkin patch tomorrow. At all.

So I’ve put on a couple pounds since I got back from Japan. I’m becoming aware of my stomach, which is never a good thing. I mean, is anyone ever strictly unaware of her stomach? I suppose I’m always some baseline-level aware of my stomach, but lately I’ve been hyperaware of my stomach, and that is what troubles me. I haven’t been exercising as much since we got home, and part of that is because I’m lazy, and part of it is because now that Princess Zurg has started college and I have to deal with her schedule, my free time has become more fragmented and it’s easier to let the day get away from me. Last year I had a good 5-6 hours a day when no one was at home. This year it’s like having a kid in pre-school again. PZ is in class 9 a.m. to noon, Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. (She has an evening class on Tuesday and Thursday.) Since she doesn’t drive, I have to drop her off and pick her up, and it really cuts into my alone time. It’s cramping my style, I don’t mind telling you.

But back to what I was talking about–I’m having trouble getting over the exercise hurdle, so I thought I would try to modify my eating habits. I don’t know why I thought I would try that. I guess I really, really didn’t feel like exercising. Anyway, I thought it wouldn’t be such a big deal to have a salad for lunch a few times a week, cut down on the carbs, etc. I mean, it’s not like I would be dieting, exactly. Except that I had a salad for lunch on Wednesday, and it immediately brought back all of the negative feelings associated with my horrible experience with low-carb dieting in March. Like, the whole time I was eating that salad, I was having PTSD symptoms. And afterward I was like, “Life is no longer worth living unless I can eat half a bag of Fritos right now,” and so that’s what I did.

I don’t know if you’re aware, but Fritos have a lot of carbs.

That’s the problem with low-carb eating. It’s easy to feel full if you shove a bunch of protein in you. But you can never feel satisfied. You can never feel joy.

So that’s my short-lived experiment with modifying my eating habits. Apparently I need to have a peanut butter sandwich more or less every day or I become suicidal. That’s what science has taught me.

What else can I tell you? I was gone a long time. Before I came back, I mean. For a while I was in Japan, but before that, I was just lazy. And depressed. I’m still lazy and depressed, but now I’m lazy, depressed, and blogging, even if it’s wrong. I’m trying to get back in the habit of writing, and it’s just really hard. I’d rather be eating Fritos right now. Or sleeping. I keep meaning to do other things, but I just don’t. My husband asked me the other day if I needed to be doing some mental health upkeep things, e.g. I dunno, therapy, and I was like, “Meh.” I mean, I could see my psychiatrist, who is also my therapist, but I don’t know that it would make any difference. I don’t think I have issues that I need to work through. I think I just need to start doing stuff instead of not doing it. Unfortunately, it’s so hard to do stuff and so easy not to. I use all of my “do stuff” energy to do the absolute minimum.

I keep hoping it’s just a phase. I mean, historically, I go through these periods of extreme sloth, interrupted by periods of productivity. That is, eventually, at some point, I become so disgusted with myself and the way I’m living that I just have to clean the house or whatever, because I just can’t stand it anymore. I keep thinking, “Any day now, that self-loathing will kick in and spur me to action.” I’ve been thinking that for most of 2016. Not panicking just yet, but historically speaking, this is the longest uninterrupted period of extreme sloth that I’ve experienced since…I dunno. Maybe ever. The worst part is that I no longer respond to nagging. Maybe I’m just too old and don’t care anymore.

But you didn’t come here to read my sob story. Or maybe you did. Well, in any case, I’m done for now. Is there anything else I can tell you? I could tell you about Japan, except I’m so sick of re-hashing my trip to Japan. I enjoyed our time in Japan, but I’m just done talking about it. Mainly because it was such a chore sifting through all the pictures we took and uploading them to our family blog, and I’m still not done with it yet. I keep thinking I’ll just power through it–power through a la Hillary with pneumonia–and get it over with, but whenever I get on a roll, I eventually have to quit because it’s time to make dinner or pick up a kid from school or put someone to bed or whatever, and it takes soooooooo much effort to take the job back up again. I think, “I have earned a break from this tedious task,” and I probably have earned a break, but maybe only a few hours, not a couple weeks, which is becoming my average length of break-taking.

Guilt just doesn’t motivate me like it used to. That is also never a good sign.

So it’s January. Crazy, huh? 2016. The year my oldest child graduates from high school (knock on wood). Hard to believe, especially considering that when I was her age, I thought for sure the world would have come to an end before now. Funny how life works.

I believe that when last we spoke—I use the term “spoke” loosely—I had just come from an appointment with the doctor who had bloodied my toe and prescribed me an antibiotic that I had to take for three months to kill a fungal infection in said toe (and wherever else it might lurk). Three months is actually a rather long time. I’m on the third month now. I was supposed to get my liver function checked once a month while I was on this antibiotic. Guess how many times I’ve had it checked. That’s right, zero. I would probably know if my liver were failing, wouldn’t I? I mean, by now I certainly would. If it were failing. Or maybe I wouldn’t. Maybe on the day I take my last pill, I will just keel over from liver failure. I suppose that’s not the worst way I could go. But I reckon that won’t happen. I really enjoy not having a fungal infection. At least I hope the fungal infection’s gone. My toenail hasn’t really grown back yet, or really grown at all, frankly, but the doctor did say it would take about a year. In the meantime I have a somewhat awkward pedicure. Good thing I do my own pedicuring.

Anyway, that was November. Let me tell you what happened in December. First I got my braces off. No, I’m not kidding. It actually happened. That makes my time in braces a mere 4 years and 10 months, rather than the 576 I was afraid it was going to be. It was a Christmas surprise. I went in for an adjustment and my orthodontist said, “Well, you still have this one millimeter space that hasn’t closed yet. I’ve tried everything I can think of, but I can keep trying, if it’s bothering you.” I said, “Of course a one millimeter space bothers me. How could it not? It’s a whole FREAKING MILLIMETER. What the hell am I paying you for?” Just kidding, I didn’t say that at all. I told him the truth, which was that I wouldn’t know a one millimeter space from a half-millimeter space, and in fact I had not noticed this gaping chasm at all. So in that case, he said, we could go ahead and take the brackets off and make my retainer that very day. America!

I was hoping I’d look different when the braces came off, but it turns out I don’t really. I look pretty much the same. That’s okay. Better than looking worse, I guess.

Well, the second thing that happened in December was I got in a car accident. That’s neither here nor there except that it means we had to get a new minivan. Yes, I totaled another car, but I swear it wasn’t on purpose. Of course, if I’d known what a nice minivan my husband was going to buy… Just kidding. I totally wouldn’t have totaled the car on purpose. Car accidents are horrible. I’m beginning to feel like I just shouldn’t drive anymore. I’m sure my insurance company agrees. On the other hand, if I have to drive—which I do—I don’t mind doing it in a new minivan. (Except for that crippling paranoia I feel every time I go out on the road.) It’s much fancier than our old minivan. For one thing, the windows roll up and down, and all the doors open. Not only do the doors open, but they are automatic doors. I even have one of those fancy key fobs that will open the doors remotely. Of course, I am constantly opening the wrong side of the car because I can never remember which simple diagram represents what, but I figure I’ll get the hang of it eventually.

The bad news is that the check engine light went on about a week and a half ago. The good news is that the car’s still under warranty. The bad news is that the part that has to be replaced is hard to find, so the car’s been in the shop since Monday and will probably stay there for a while. In the meantime, we are making do with Sugar Daddy’s car, which, I have to say, does not seem nearly so fancy anymore next to the new minivan. It does have heated seats, though, which the fancy new minivan does not. SD’s always depriving me of these little things so I don’t get too spoiled. Speaking of spoiled, we are not really making do with just SD’s car, but we are relying heavily on my mother-in-law being willing to drive him to and from work. Proximity has its privileges, that is fo shizzle.

I said “fo shizzle” the other day and Princess Zurg thought it was really lame. Well, duh. Of course it’s lame. I’m 44 years old, obviously I am saying it IRONICALLY. Also, because it’s kind of fun. Because I’m 44 years old and I don’t give a crap anymore about sounding lame.

Or being lame, for that matter. You might say that I have finally embraced lameness as a way of life. I wouldn’t say that I endorse lameness as a way of life, but I probably could fool a lot of people into thinking I do, what with how intimate an embrace lameness and I are currently entangled in. So maybe the “fo shizzle” isn’t ironic. Maybe it’s whatever it has to be.

Currently, I feel like a day has been a success if I didn’t take a nap during it. By that standard, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday have all been successes. I think. I don’t remember taking a nap yesterday. If I don’t remember it, it probably didn’t happen. No, I’m sure it didn’t. So, yes. Unmitigated successes, all three days. Can I make it four? Only tomorrow will tell.

I used to feel like a day was a success if I’d a) not taken a nap, b) exercised, c) did enough housework to make myself upset, and d) taken a shower. Showering can seem like such a burden sometimes, although in the end I’m always glad I did it. I have never regretted taking a shower, as far as I can remember. I have oft regretted the shower not taken. Let this be a lesson to you, kids: there is no substitute for personal hygiene. This paragraph has inspired me to slightly raise the bar for a successful day: a) no nap and b) at least one shower. Actually, (b) can compensate for want of (a) in a pinch, as far as I’m concerned. But by this standard, two of the last three days have been double successes.

It occurred to me the other day that I am probably depressed. I’m not sure what to do about it. My depression is sort of like my teeth—it used to be horrible and untreated. Now it is treated, but there’s still this one millimeter space I can’t seem to close no matter what I do. Actually, it’s more like a three or four millimeter space because I do notice it. I notice that I don’t write anymore, and I don’t have aspirations or plans, and I don’t have any close friends. If I wanted to be social, who would I call? If something wonderful happened to me, who would I tell?

I don’t like to complain about these things because it seems pretty douche-like to have a comfortable lifestyle and a minivan I don’t deserve and say that it’s not enough. I’m sure 95 percent of the world would like to be as unhappy as I am. There’s an old Far Side cartoon where two cows are in a sitting room or parlor or whatever; Mr. Cow is reading the newspaper and Mrs. Cow (wearing pearls, as I recall) is holding a martini and she says, “Wendell, I’m not content.” That is me. That has always been me, actually. I used to expect more from myself—or rather, I expected that eventually I would produce more, or contribute more—to my family, to my community, to humanity in general. But I seem to lack a certain essential quality—the quality that causes people to accomplish things.

I’ve tried to look at myself in a more charitable light. My mother, for example, was not a person of great accomplishments—I mean, most people aren’t, when you come right down to it—but you wouldn’t call her life a failure because what really matters in life, I think, is relationships, and she was a people person. I am not a people person. Even when it comes to my kids, whom I love—and who I think love me, most of the time—I feel like I don’t measure up. I mean, I’m not a failure as a mother. I’m not ridiculous enough to think that. Although I might be a failure on some level—I’m afraid I haven’t instilled the value of work in them, and it’s probably too late to make a difference on that front now. My credibility is completely shot. The ladies at my church have a book group, and every year they get together and pick the books they want to read that year, and there are always tons of suggestions in the self-help genre. This is where I differ from most Mormon women, I think. Self-help books don’t inspire me, they just depress me. Really, is there any hope for a woman who is depressed by good advice?

Well, this blog took a turn for the dark at some point, didn’t it? It’s a good thing I don’t have anything to prove. That I have embraced my lameness, as it were, because this post is lame. On the other hand, I did not have to take a nap in the middle of it, so SUCCESS.

I’ve decided that September is a good time to make resolutions, rather than New Year’s, because it’s when the kids all leave the house for a few hours a day and I have some space to think about how I might make life improvements. Also, it’s nearing the end of the year, and if my September resolutions fail, there’s always New Year’s just around the corner.

This decision comes after months of procrastinating–no, make that years. Years of procrastinating getting on with my life now that I’m no longer changing diapers and breastfeeding and cutting up people’s food all my waking hours. Well, I sometimes still cut up people’s food. But not as much as I used to. Technically, I’ve made this decision about a billion times since my youngest started first grade, but it’s the implementation that I’ve procrastinated. Of course, the resolutions are always changing. One day they’re modest, the next unrealistic, the next somewhere in between. The problem is that I can’t seem to accomplish anything, regardless of how small the as-yet-hypothetical accomplishment may seem.

Which means that while I started this post with the intention of talking about resolutions, writing that last paragraph pretty much talked me out of ever trying to do anything ever again.

So if you’ve been wondering what I’ve been up to since I got jaw surgery and fell off the face of the (virtual) earth (or, you might say I virtually fell of the face of the actual earth, I don’t know), that’s pretty much it. When I’m not numbing my pain with frivolous, non-productive activities or the reassuring routine of laundry and dishes, I am more or less losing hope of contributing meaningfully to society ever again.

Since my family is supposed to be more important than anything else I have to do with, hopefully my children will do better with their lives than my own example has taught them. (That was meant to be a sardonic comment, although I do hope my children engage life more successfully than I have. Fortunately, only one of them seems to have inherited my mental instability so far. So, you know, #hopeisalive.)

I’m afraid they’re all going to turn out to be crappy housekeepers. Let me give you a quick update on our experiment with firing the housekeepers: All of my worst fears have come true. I’ve known for the last several years that the main argument for keeping the housekeepers rather than doing the housekeeping myself was the enforced schedule. I knew I could never maintain a schedule on my own. I would need the support of everyone else in the family, and since that support did not seem to be forthcoming, I kept paying professionals to come clean my house even though they sometimes didn’t do such a great job and preparing for their visits was causing me to have mini-nervous breakdowns fortnightly. When the kids took over the bulk of the chores that the housekeepers once did, it seemed to work out pretty well for the first five months. I was astonished, actually, at how well it was working out, and I was so much less stressed than I was when I had the housekeepers.

Then in June I had the jaw surgery, and that was the week I stopped vacuuming regularly. I was absolutely unable to vacuum that week because I was unable to do just about anything but drink things through a straw and lie in bed and be miserable. That was okay. Anyone can afford to skip vacuuming for a couple weeks. Unfortunately, two weeks later I was physically able to vacuum but still very tired and psychologically depressed because I was still in pain, not sleeping well, and the only thing I had to look forward to was drinking chocolate protein shakes. HIGHLIGHT OF MY DAY. So vacuuming was not on my list of things to do because basically nothing was on my list of things to do, including the tidying that should have preceded the vacuuming, including the nagging and threatening of the children that could have substituted for doing all the tidying. If I were a good parent, instead of a hopeless one, I would have insisted that children could not do x (desirable task) before doing y (undesirable task). The trouble was, it was summer, and the kids were always around, and the only thing I wanted more than for them to do their (and my) chores was for them to get out of my face for a while. So if they got invitations to go with friends somewhere, off they went, even if they hadn’t done their chores, because I was too tired and unhappy and hungry to listen to them whine and complain about anything, let alone EVERYTHING.

Eventually, after what felt like the longest six weeks of my life that didn’t include high school P.E., I was able to eat real food again, and that’s when things should have gotten better, since at least I was no longer hungry. If you have enough to eat, you should have enough energy to do whatever needs to be done. Unfortunately, by that time the house was in so much disarray and the constant presence of other people was driving me so crazy that I didn’t even know where or how to start getting everything under control again. The thing about dependent children is that they always need things (hence the term dependent). Every time I thought about cleaning the kitchen (or whatever), I’d think about how I would start doing something and someone would inevitably need me to drive them somewhere or make them a sandwich or play Monopoly with them or explain the meaning of life or whatever, and that would disrupt my flow and everyone’s-just-going-to-mess-it-up-anyway-so-why-bother–and I just wouldn’t begin. Well, there’s no surer way to accomplish nothing than by not beginning in the first place, so you see where I went wrong. I’m not making excuses. I’m explaining myself.

The solutions to my problems are obvious. Even I can see them. It’s the execution that’s elusive. Probably because I’m deliberately avoiding it.

The thing I hate about housework is not the cleaning and scrubbing. (Well, except for the shower and the bathtub. I freaking hate cleaning the shower and the bathtub. I’d rather scrub a million toilets.) Cleaning and scrubbing feel like actual accomplishments. It’s the management of possessions that overwhelms me. Six people live in this house, and I’m in charge of managing all of their possessions. I can already read the comments: “You should not be in charge of managing all of their possessions. Everyone should be responsible for managing their own possessions.” Yes, but you’re describing the world that ought to be, and I’m describing the world that is, so bear with me.

Earlier this year–or maybe it was last year–I read somewhere about a book called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, and I got it into my head that I should read it because maybe, unlike every other book about organizing and changing your life, this one would actually be magical. I don’t know what hallucinatory drug I was under at the time–aside from the fact that books about organizing rarely tell me anything I don’t already know, I learned from actually visiting Japan that I don’t have a culturally-Japanese bone in my body–but whatever it was, it couldn’t have been too debilitating because I didn’t actually buy the book, but I put myself on the three-mile-long waiting list at the library because let’s face it, the odds were against it being actually magical. You might say I left it to fate. By the time it was my turn to borrow this allegedly-magical book, I was already completely free of my delusion. In fact, I’d considered taking myself off the waiting list several times, but for some reason I didn’t, and because I actually had the maybe-magic book in my possession now, it seemed foolish not to actually read it.

Well, I read it, and let me tell you, this woman has a lot of great ideas for decluttering and organizing your life if you live alone. I can see it working perfectly for someone who only has to manage her own possessions. It is completely unworkable for someone who has to manage (to at least some extent) six different people’s possessions and whose management style of her own possessions is partially dependent on the fact that she has five other people’s management lifestyles to compensate for. The guiding principle seems profound and life-changing, initially: Don’t keep anything in your life that does not spark joy. Well, sure. Why would you want anything in your life that doesn’t spark joy? Unfortunately, sometimes you don’t have a choice about keeping things in your life that don’t spark joy. She acknowledges this, I think, at some point. I would hate to mischaracterize her writings or her philosophy. I think she accounts for things like toilet paper by reasoning backwards that a life without toilet paper would be significantly less joyful. Not that she actually writes about toilet paper. I’m just giving you an idea of how she might have dealt with such mundane essentials. Unfortunately, there are things other than mundane essentials that must stay in one’s life despite their failure to spark joy and despite their tendency to provoke actual sorrow. Here’s what’s on my living room floor right now:

A socket wrench–does not spark joy, but I assume my husband would be very upset if I just tossed it. I have no idea if my husband is responsible or not for it being on the floor, but there it is.

A three-hole punch–does not spark joy, but my joy is significantly dampened when I find myself, from time to time, needing a three-hole punch and being unable to find one. Up until looking down at the floor just this minute, I had been wondering where this particular three-hole punch had gotten off to. There isn’t a particularly good place for storing it because it’s kind of bulky and doesn’t fit in any drawers because there’s too much other crap in my drawers. I don’t know who left this three-hole punch on the floor, but I would be curious to know where they found it.

A USB cord–does not spark joy because I don’t recognize it as a USB cord to one of the devices that I use. I assume it belongs to one of my husband’s devices, but I don’t know which and I also don’t know why it’s on the floor, unattached to any device.

Princess Zurg’s jacket–sparks joy for Princess Zurg, but often gets left on the floor because it’s too much trouble to put away in the actual coat closet, which is jam chocky full of jackets and coats that spark varying levels of joy among different household members.

A Scooby-Doo Monopoly game and a Duckopoly game–spark joy for Elvis, who loves Monopoly in all its forms. Does not spark joy for me personally, as I dislike Monopoly more than almost any other game on earth, but I assume it’s on the floor because there is not enough room in the game cabinets (yes, we have more than one) to fit all of the Monopoly games we own, let alone all of the other board games we own. Some games are just always going to live on the floor, until we get rid of some games or get rid of some bath towels and bed sheets and convert the linen closet into a game cabinet.

Mister Bubby’s leather portfolio–does not spark joy for me; used to spark joy for Mister Bubby, even though the zipper broke on it about a year or so ago, but he had to switch to an ordinary three-ring binder because the Organizational Nazis at his high school have decreed that everyone needs to have the same organizational system regardless of personality or preference. Granted, this new organizational systems is probably better than his previous organizational system (stuff everything in the leather portfolio until it gets too full and then cull and start over again, looking classy all the while because it’s leather and doesn’t fall apart like your traditional three-ring binder, except for the zipper thing)–but MB has always been very sentimental and doesn’t like to let things go, even after they are no longer of use to him. He also doesn’t like to put things away.

A children’s magazine–does not spark joy for me, but sparks some joy for Girlfriend, who actually reads it. Unfortunately, she likes to keep all of her magazines rather than recycle them (unless she’s actually outgrown them, like with her Thomas the Tank Engine magazine–I tossed a bunch of them last spring, it was awesome). In her defense, she does actually re-read them. However, there is not enough space in this house to store all the reading material any one of us might re-read someday. This is the number one reason I bought a Kindle. Actual books used to spark joy for me, before I started drowning in my own (and everyone else’s) possessions. My Kindle is probably the one thing standing between me and literal suffocation. (Yes, literal. I was an English major. It’s been good for one thing.) It is the one area in which I have been able to stem the tide of material acquisition.

Princess Zurg’s old tap shoes–have always sparked joy for me because they’re cute and remind me of why I took up dancing late in life, but I should probably get over it because Girlfriend’s feet finally got too big to wear them (and theoretically learn to tap dance) and they’re just taking up space on the floor because there isn’t room in our shoe shelves to hold all the shoes we actually wear, let alone the shoes no one can wear. So here is the one object I have named thusfar that actually sparks joy for me, and it is the one object I have decided I should actually get rid of.

I see that this post is now over 2,400 words. If it were hard copy, it would be sucking the joy right the hell out of me.

 

One week from today I have my jaw surgery. I’ve been planning this surgery for so long that I forget it isn’t common knowledge among everyone I know that I’m getting it, and I will make some casual reference to having surgery June 10 and people be like WHAT SURGERY!! and when I explain, they all look and/or sound horrified, like they can’t believe I’m about to do something so grotesque. I have always said that I’m looking forward to it being done, not to doing it, but the closer I get to actually doing it, the more nervous I am. And it doesn’t help that everyone around me is horrified at the prospect and it’s not even their jaw in question.

I’ve never had surgery before. I’ve never been under general anesthesia. Now that I’m about to have surgery, I am starting to be scared. Well, last week I was starting. This week I am pretty firmly in the Scared category. Who knows what kind of basket case I’ll be next week. It’s not like I think I’m going to die. Usually I have to be under water before I start considering death as a possibility. Good thing the surgery isn’t going to be performed at sea, I guess. I’m mostly worried that I’m going to have the surgery and regret it later. What if it’s a Monkey’s Paw surgery? It’s supposed to correct my bite and relieve my TMJ symptoms, but what if it doesn’t help? What if it feels weird? What if I look weird? What if my lower jaw randomly comes unhinged at some point in the future? I admit that last one is a long shot. I’m just throwing fears out there. I already know it’s going to hurt like a melon farmer for about a week, but what if it hurts longer? How many weeks before I can chew again? I know what the doctor told me, but I always take what doctors say in terms of recovery and multiply it by at least one and a half. (My orthodontist said I’d be in braces for about two years. That was four years and four months ago, so you see why I have trust issues.) When am I really going to be able to chew again? What if I break my newly-rearranged jaw the first time I eat steak? Worse, what if I break it eating a protein bar, before I’m able to eat steak? What if I have to re-learn how to chew? My lower jaw has never been properly aligned with my upper jaw—how am I supposed to know how that works?

People are surprised to learn that my lower jaw needs to move forward about a centimeter because I don’t have a weak chin. My profile looks normal. Not that people with weak chins—is there a more scientific, PC term for that? I feel like there must be, but as I get older, I’m losing more and more of my words and I have less and less patience for Googling—have abnormal profiles. But if you look at me from the side, you can’t tell that my lower jaw is a centimeter behind where it should be. Which makes me wonder how it will look when it is where it should be. I move my jaw to line up my lower teeth with my upper teeth—which does NOT feel remotely normal, by the way—and I can’t really see a difference, so hopefully I will not end up looking like Jay Leno or something. My dears, I have enough problems.

I am feeling very unattractive as of late, for reasons having nothing to do with my jaw. It has mostly to do with age. I have not aged well. I saw my before pictures at the orthodontist yesterday—that was only four years ago, and I looked so much younger. Not young, not by a long shot, but so much younger. Now I look old, and the frown lines I’ve had since I was five have all gotten more pronounced. I’ve never had a super-great face, but for a long time I did think it looked okay. I would say even at 35-36 it was looking all right. Now I look in the mirror and think, “Who is that hag?” RHETORICAL QUESTION BECAUSE I KNOW. Part of me is holding out hope that somehow, miraculously, I might look better after my surgery. I mean, the insurance company is treating it like the dental equivalent of a boob job, so I feel like I should get some cosmetic benefit. But I don’t imagine I will. Maybe getting rid of the braces will help. I’ve been told that will eventually happen someday too, hopefully before I turn 50.

It is hard to look at Caitlyn Jenner on the cover of Vanity Fair and not feel like that bitch needs to keep her makeover to herself.

The problem with not being young is that whatever you can do to make yourself look better takes a lot more effort than you have the energy for. And probably professional help. I would probably have to go back to school to learn how to be pretty at this point. I’m only focusing on my outward appearance because my soul is empty, just so you know.

But enough of those superficialities. Let’s talk about how the orthodontist has ruined my last week of eating normally for who-knows-how-long by putting new hooks on my braces. I presume they are there for surgery-related purposes. Isn’t it funny how un-curious I was when they were doing this to me at the office yesterday, and it’s only now I can’t eat without feeling like I’ve got razor wire in my mouth that I wonder what the crap this is for? This is why I haven’t made more of my life, you know. A profound lack of curiosity when it matters most. But I digress. Tomorrow I have to see the oral surgeon for a records and x-rays or whatever appointment. I don’t know what’s going to happen to me then. Hopefully nothing horrible. I’m sort of counting on the horrible stuff not starting until next Wednesday. Who wants to take me out for lunch?

Two days after my surgery, school lets out for the summer. Whee! This is where having a mother-in-law who lives half a mile away comes in handy. In case you were wondering, this summer is scheduled to suck. THROUGH A STRAW, FOR ABOUT SIX TO EIGHT WEEKS.

So we are now five months into our No Housekeepers experiment, and I have to say that it is looking less promising than initial data suggested. The bathrooms are starting to get a film. I had to buy a new vacuum cleaner because the Kenmore died RIGHT AFTER I bought new bags for it. Yes, that’s how old our vacuum was—it actually used bags. Now I have a Shark Rocket or something, and I admit, it’s pretty awesome. For a vacuum, I mean. I reckon it can’t help being awesome compared to a fifteen-year-old Kenmore. It makes me feel really old, getting excited about how easily it maneuvers around and under my furniture. I’m like George H.W. Bush marveling at the supermarket scanner. What won’t they think of next. So yes, the floors still look great, because I’m doing them. Actually, they look better because I’m doing them. The stuff the kids are doing, on the other hand, is not quite up to snuff. It’s not cutting the mustard, if you prefer a different outdated phrase. And now that I don’t have complete strangers coming into my home fortnightly to judge me, I’ve sort of let some other things go. Like, I don’t really care if the coffee table gets cleared off because as soon as I clear it off, everyone dumps more crap on it, so screw it. No one ever visits us anyway.

Well, I’d like to think I’ll talk to you gentle readers again before my surgery, but considering this is my first post in about a month, I advise against holding your breath. Who knows when we shall meet again? But I promise you that if I end up with a freakshow jaw, I will blog about it. Never you fear. My friends, adieu.

I don’t know yet. In January 2014 I wrote two posts. Can I break that record for January 2015? I think I can. I know, that’s big talk for someone who only has nine days left in the month, but what can I say? I’m feeling cocky.

Shall we make it more interesting? In all of 2014 I wrote fifteen posts. Can I break that record? Can I double it? Can I triple it? Is there any limit to how much better a blogger I can be in 2015 than I was in 2014? I think not.

Here are some things that have happened so far in 2015:

* I decided to give up my housekeepers in favor of having my kids clean the house. I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking one of three things:

1. “Have you adopted new kids?”

2. “What’s the matter with you?”

3. “What took you so long?”

The answer to #1 is no, I still just have the original kids, and no, they haven’t undergone radical personality and temperament changes recently. But I was getting tired of the fortnightly stress of clearing all my surfaces in preparation of having them cleaned professionally. Plus, Sugar Daddy and I have noticed that the quality of the work has gone down over the years. Not that I blame the housekeepers for losing their motivation to make everything sparkly. I lost the will to clean my house just a few short months after we bought it. Why should a total stranger have more incentive than I? Plus, they can probably be forgiven for thinking we wouldn’t notice. There are six of us here and we’re obviously slobs. Sometimes there is ketchup on the wall. Not that the housekeepers have ever tried to wash my walls, but when you see a thing like that, you might think, “Why do I even bother?” I mean, that’s what I think just about every day of my life.

So it got to the point where I figured it wasn’t worth the money or the hassle, and SD hit upon the perfect incentive to get the kids on board with our new plan. If they do all their chores, we’ll take them out to dinner. If they don’t do their chores, he’ll take me out to dinner and they can stay home and eat macaroni and cheese. Now, my kids happen to like macaroni and cheese, especially if it’s out of a box, but what they don’t like is knowing that they could be out eating at a restaurant but they’re not. My kids are such entitled narcissists. It’s about time I used it for my advantage. Unfortunately, I had heretofore been unable to think of something they would want more than to sit on their fat cans playing video games. Money means relatively little to them. They like money, of course, but they don’t need money. They know we’re going to feed and clothe them regardless of what they do. Even if I decided to get all hardass and tell them they’d have to start paying for their own food and clothing, they’d starve and go naked just to spite me. Then CPS would come knocking on my door, just when I’d finally gotten them to leave me alone. But they love food, especially when it’s not cooked by me. SD has promised them that the quality of their dinner will match the quality of their housecleaning efforts, so we’ll see how much fine dining we end up doing.

The first week we went without the housekeepers, I decided to do the cleaning myself, just so I could get a handle on what all the jobs were and figure out what I could realistically expect the children to do. Oh, boy, never again. I’d forgotten how much it sucks to clean the bathtub and shower. I mean, I remembered that it sucked, but I’d forgotten just how much. This was definitely going to be a job for someone not me. I spread the cleaning out over a couple of days, which was actually much less stressful than prepping the house for the housekeepers to do it on the designated day. (That was another annoying thing–they were very unpredictable; they always came on a Wednesday, but it could be at 8:30 a.m. or 4:30 p.m., you just never knew.) Vacuuming was also much tiring than I remembered. I mean, I had certainly vacuumed in between housekeeping visits, but only quick jobs, and only downstairs. Vacuuming one’s entire house properly is rather a workout. I suppose it doesn’t help that my vacuum weighs about six hundred pounds. That might be an exaggeration. I’ve never been very good at estimating.

Anyway, I’m getting off the subject. This week was the first week the kids have had their new chores. So far everyone has completed theirs except for Mister Bubby, which is typical. In his defense, he doesn’t get home from school until after 4 p.m. and he had to go to his church group Tuesday evening, and he had jazz band until 5 p.m. Wednesday, and it is finals week. In his non-defense, he had Monday off school and spent the day playing Super Smash Bros., so whatever. And tonight he has a trombone lesson. Oh, well.

That was a long bullet point. The others will be shorter, I’m sure.

Just in case you’ve forgotten, the topic is what has happened in 2015 so far.

* I cleaned my kitchen floor today. You might think this should fall under the housekeeping section, but it’s actually something quite spectacular and special. This is one of the things that the housekeepers never did very well. It wasn’t really their fault; they were probably used to mopping floors that actually come clean with mere mopping. Our kitchen floor is the original linoleum–or vinyl, I guess, not linoleum–that went down in 1987, so you can imagine what sort of shape it’s in. Now imagine something worse than that. That’s our floor. It has absolutely no protective coating left, so you have to use a great deal of elbow grease to get dirt and food stains off. If there’s one thing my housekeepers aren’t contracted to do, it’s use elbow grease. At least not on kitchen floors that don’t appear to be worth saving. But whatever. Who am I to complain when I can’t be bothered to do it myself? Except I did do it myself today, after I had already worked up a good sweat vacuuming my entire house (with a 600 lb. vacuum). I had to get down on my hands and knees and use a scrub brush. I’d scrub off the first layer of dirt, mop it away, and then get to work on the second layer of dirt. It was tedious. But the floor is as clean now as it’s bound to get, ever. Do I want to give this job to someone else? Yes, very much so. But let’s be realistic.

Will the kitchen floor get scrubbed again in 2015? It remains to be seen.

* I taught Sunday school to a bunch of teenage boys for a couple weeks. For the past three years SD has been our ward Sunday school president, and last month they made him the stake Sunday school president, so technically he’s not in charge of Sunday school at the ward level, but the new ward Sunday school president was out of town for a couple weeks, so SD was continuing to take responsibility for the ward Sunday school classes, and since they were short a couple of teachers and SD couldn’t take any of the classes himself (as he used to do) because he was gallivanting around the stake teaching other wards’ Sunday schools, he volunteered me as a substitute. That was kind of him. Well, he told me I could say no, but I didn’t, so there I was.

It was actually a very nice group of fifteen-year-old boys. I had never taught that age group before, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. Don’t worry, I didn’t try to be cool or anything. I’m not a complete idiot. The new Sunday school curriculum is pretty bare bones. It’s supposed to encourage discussion. Unfortunately, this was a rather quiet bunch of fifteen-year-old boys, and I’m a quiet 43-year-old woman. I’m not very good at facilitating discussions under the best of circumstances. But it wasn’t a complete disaster. That was due mostly, I think, to the boys being such good boys. I noticed that this one boy kept turning to the guy next to him and showing him his phone and they were sort of whispering together, or whatever the masculine equivalent of whispering is, and I figured they were just discreetly distracting themselves from a very dull Sunday school lesson. As a Sunday school teacher, all I really ask of my students is that they be discreet while they’re ignoring the lesson, so I wasn’t upset or anything, but then I happened to hear what they were saying, and they were actually talking about the lesson. I won’t lie to you. It kind of freaked me out.

* Also while my husband was off gallivanting about the stake performing Sunday school responsibilities, all of the ward organists got sick or were out of town. Since my husband is one of the ward organists and was not sick or out of town but otherwise indisposed (see: gallivanting, responsibilities thereof) but nevertheless felt obligated to fix this problem, he volunteered me to play piano for sacrament meeting (since I don’t know how to play the organ and indeed have never so much as touched an organ with intent, so a public meeting wouldn’t be the best place for me to start). I don’t ever mind playing the piano. I am competent enough that I don’t embarrass myself, but people are used to having the organ, so I felt very conspicuous. Well, beggars can’t be choosers. Everyone just had to deal with the situation.

The opening hymn was “I Believe in Christ,” which those of you who are Mormons know is the longest hymn ever written and is only bearable when it’s played at a brisk tempo. I prefer to think of it as a joyous tempo, myself. I mean, do you believe in Christ or not? Then let’s get on with it. Those of you who are Mormons also know that most Mormon congregations have never met a hymn they didn’t want to sing at half-speed. Maybe this is true of other churches too, I wouldn’t know. But SD has always insisted that no matter what tempo he and the music director start a song at, the congregation ends up slowing it down; it’s unavoidable. I never had reason to doubt him, but after my experience on Sunday, I knew exactly what he meant. It’s like the lotus-eaters out there. It’s very difficult not to succumb. But I have very strong feelings about the proper tempo of “I Believe in Christ,” so I persevered in my resistance, refused to fall asleep at the keyboard, and finished about 30 seconds before the congregation did. I’m just kidding. I made them work for it, though. Keep up or be left behind, kids! Piano players can get away with crap like that. #StandingForSomething

* I actually haven’t done very much in January, and not much has happened to me. And now I have to take my kids to Grandma’s house for dinner. Gentle readers, adieu.

Did I scare you? You thought I was dead, didn’t you?

Actually, you probably just thought I’d given up on blogging forever (finally), and you were right. Mostly. I mean, I was pretty sure a couple days ago that I would just never post anything on this blog again because, well, look at me. I mean, look at the blog. It’s just sad. It makes me sad to look at it. Why didn’t I find some way to go out with a bang? Probably because I’m not very good at big productions. I’m good at excelling in small, insignificant things. And you just never know when you’ve written your last insignificant thing. But I digress. The point is, I changed my mind. I changed my mind just now, because for some reason I am perpetually signed in to WordPress, so whenever I visit another WordPress blog, I see the header with my username and whether or not people have been commenting and/or following me. I am apparently still getting lots of followers even though I haven’t updated this thing since…well, I guess it was June. Seems like longer. Anyway, that’s not the point. I’m still getting followers, but I’m assuming most of them are spambots because that’s who most of my commenters are. I haven’t investigated this to know for sure because I’d rather maintain the illusion that there’s a possibility at least some of them are actual people. But the comments are getting to me.

It is the best time to make some plans for the future and
it’s time to be happy. I’ve read this post
and if I could I want to suggest you few interesting
things or advice. Maybe you can write next articles referring
to this article. I wish to read more things about it!

I liked it better when I was blogging in obscurity and no one commented. This is like flies laying eggs on your decaying flesh. Gross!

You may have noticed, if you are a blogger that I have historically followed, that in addition to not blogging I am also not commenting on anyone’s blog. This is because I’m also not reading anyone’s blog. This is not because your blog no longer interests me. This is because I am intentionally not paying attention to anyone’s blog because it reminds me that I’ve left my own to die, and that makes me sad. I would be less sad about it if I had replaced blogging with writing in some other form, but I really haven’t written much of anything since the kids got out of school. For one thing, they hog all the computers. For another thing, I’m busy. For the most important thing, I’ve been lazy. How can I be both too busy and too lazy? Well, I’m not simultaneously. I’m alternately too busy and alternately too lazy. And intermittently without a computer because my kids are computer hogs. I can’t seem to convince any of them that this computer is actually mine. It belongs to me. My husband bought it for me with his own money. I’m the one who married him, not them! But they don’t get it.

That’s why I should probably get a job. One of many reasons, but that subject depresses me too.

Anyway, I know this makes me a fair-weather internet-friend. You should see how I’ve been letting stuff go on Facebook too. I’m sort of over feeling guilty about it, though, because really, there are so many ways I’ve failed others in real life (i.e. off the internet) that I just can’t afford to indulge any feelings of remorse over anything anymore.

I might be turning into a sociopath. I understand those are usually born, not made, but I might be the first self-made sociopath. That could be the title of a new blog. “Self-made Sociopath.” I’m considering it. Don’t steal it until I say it’s okay!

When I think about it, there are a great many things I could be blogging about right now. For one thing, I recently got back from my first camping trip in 25 years. Maybe 27 years. In fact, I’m pretty sure it’s been 27 years. Maybe 29. All this counting is making me feel old. Anyway, I’m sure you’re dying to know how that went.

Okay, I’ll tell you.

The last time I can remember camping is when my family (all of us except my older sister, who was working that summer) went to the Grand Canyon. That wasn’t the only thing we did that summer. It was just the most noteworthy thing.

I kid you not, one of my kids just came up and asked for the computer. Just now. ARE YOU FREAKING KIDDING ME? GET A JOB!

Anyway, that summer we went to the Grand Canyon was the summer we trekked all over the Western United States. We started in Southern California, where we lived, drove out to the Grand Canyon, went up through Utah and Idaho, where we saw relatives, across through Washington, where we had more relatives, and down through Oregon, where we had yet more relatives, and back down through California again. While in Utah we visited the Salt Lake Temple. Just the outside, just for a little while. We also might have had relatives in Utah at that time. I can’t remember for sure. What I remember most vividly is driving through Las Vegas around noontime and there were five of us crammed into a Dodge Vista wagon with no air conditioning. This is where my hatred of Las Vegas was born. (My hatred of cars without air conditioning had long been established by then.) It doesn’t seem quite right to me now that we should have been in Las Vegas at all. It’s neither on the way to or the way from the Grand Canyon. But I’m 99% certain this was the same trip because when else would we have been in Las Vegas? We don’t have relatives there. I also remember that we had lunch at an A&W and they served me a root beer in one of those glass mugs, which I reckon they don’t do anymore, but the point I was going to make was that the mug had lipstick on it. I did not wear lipstick. Now that I think on it, it could very well have been an Arctic Circle. We didn’t have either of them in California, but I’m almost certain it was an A&W because of the root beer. I used to drink root beer. I don’t anymore. Not because of the lipstick incident but because I probably drank too many of them when I was younger and now they just taste kind of gross to me, unless they have ice cream in them. But I really do digress this time. How old was I? I want to say 15. I’m 43 now, so that’s 28 years ago. (Gee, one of the few numbers I didn’t guess.) Except for when we stayed with relatives, we were camping.

Camping was what my family did instead of staying in hotels. I can’t recall ever camping in the same place two nights in a row. I don’t think we did. Why would we have? We had places to go–relatives to see, canyons to visit. Anyway, my family camped A LOT when I was growing up, always on the way to someplace else. We never really camped just for the sake of hanging out in nature. It was just that camping was cheaper than a hotel. Don’t get me wrong–my father loved camping. He was a boy scout. He loved the nature. My mother did not so much love it, but she was a good sport and she didn’t like spending money either. (More to the point, she felt guilty about spending money, but that’s another story.) The only time I can remember staying in a hotel when I was growing up was when we moved from Oregon to California and we stayed in a Holiday Inn in the Bay Area, courtesy my father’s new employer. Otherwise, it would never have happened. Let me tell you, the Holiday Inn was my idea of luxury for many years. To this day I have kind of a soft spot in my heart for it, although my last stay at a Holiday Inn Express was less than ideal.

But anyway–yes, camping. We did it every year. Every. Single. Year. The thing I remember most about it was blowing up my own air mattress. These days you have these new-fangled battery-operated pumps to blow up air mattresses. You also have much better air mattresses. Back then it was the kind of air mattresses you float in swimming pools and we had to blow them up with our own breath. You should know that I was well into my thirties before I successfully inflated my first balloon with this method, so you can imagine how much work it was for me, as a mere child (or sullen teenager) to inflate an entire freaking air mattress. Actually, by the time I was a sullen teenager, I had given up on blowing up the air mattress. Actually, it may have been on this Grand Canyon camping trip that I decided I wasn’t going to bother with them anymore BECAUSE THEY ALWAYS SPRANG A LEAK AND I’D WAKE UP IN THE MIDDLE OF THE NIGHT ON THE HARD GROUND ANYWAY SO WHAT WAS THE POINT. I was also on my period during this camping trip, so that made everything extra-delightful. (I’m sorry if you’re a dude reading this and needed a trigger warning before that sentence, but on the other hand, maybe you should just grow up. I’m the one who really suffered.)

So that is my prior camping experience, in a nutshell. Now a foundation has been laid so that I can tell you how I, a grown woman of 43, got suckered into making a camping trip–a four-day camping trip–and how that went. Stay tuned, gentle readers. Same bat time, same bat channel.*

*Same bat channel. I can’t promise the bat time. Heck, I can’t even guarantee that I’ll update in less than a month. But I will. I promise!**

**A promise is not the same as a guarantee. Promises are frequently broken. You never hear about a broken guarantee. Probably some legal thing.

I keep hearing and reading different places that all children want is a (relatively) small amount of a parent’s undivided attention. The “undivided” part is key: you can’t be looking at your phone or reading a book or doing any other thing while you’re interacting with your child. As long as you give said child your undivided attention, they will be satisfied after, say, fifteen, twenty minutes.

When I first heard this, I admit that I was skeptical. In my experience, the more attention you give children, the more they want. Whatever amount of attention you manage to give them one day becomes the new standard by which they measure every other day. If you pay less attention to them today than you did yesterday, they think they are starving. Admittedly, though, it has been quite some time since I’ve tried giving my children undivided attention. Once I realized what what greedy little attention hogs they were, I started giving them mostly divided attention, or otherwise I would not have been able to get anything done. So upon reflection, realizing that I had twelve weeks of no-school days ahead of me, I decided I would try this undivided attention thing and see if it resulted in my children feeling attention-sated.

What this “give your child 15 minutes of undivided attention and they’ll leave you alone” theory fails to take into account is that it is impossible to give a child undivided attention if you have any other children in the house. Someone else always wants something while you’re trying to provide their sibling with your undivided attention. It doesn’t matter if attending to the other child takes only five seconds, if you’re only dividing your attention long enough to say, “Shut it! I’m paying attention to So-and-so!”–once you have divided your attention, the damage has been done. I guess a clock resets. Maybe. I wouldn’t know. After hundreds of hours of data collection, I have yet to give anyone fifteen minutes of undivided attention, and I have come to the conclusion that it just isn’t going to happen and I may as well start ignoring the children in favor of more rewarding pursuits.

(Just so we’re clear, I don’t actually tell my kids to “shut it.” Usually.)

My clogging group has adjourned for the summer–called a recess? Something like that. Usually we meet through the end of July because usually we perform at the county fair in July, so we are practicing up until then. But this year we are not doing the county fair because too many of us were going to be out of town that week. Also, several cloggers were heavily involved in the LDS Portland Youth Dance Festival, which finally happened a couple weeks ago, and after a year of constant dance-related toil, they were ready to take a sabbatical. So there has been no clogging since May ended, and my body feels deprived of regular exercise. My intention was to get a lot of practice in this summer so I’d be the clogging equivalent of tanned, rested, and ready come September, but so far there has been none of that.

The reasons for this are several-fold. No, actually, it just comes down to one thing: I have other priorities. There are the usual chores–laundry, dishes, shopping, cooking–and there’s the divided-attention-giving. That takes up a lot of time. But there are also things like eating and grooming. Some days I skimp on the grooming. Okay, let’s face it–most days I skimp on the grooming. Some days I don’t just skimp, but I skip the grooming. But other days I feel like if I don’t get some grooming in, I may lose my humanity. So I decide to groom instead of exercise because I only have  so much time. Is it worth it? I don’t know.

I’d muse on this some more, except it’s time to take Elvis to his swim lessons.

Sugar Daddy: Are you coming upstairs to sleep with me?

Madhousewife: No. I’m coming to get more laundry.

SD: You aren’t going to ravish me sexually?

Mad: No. I already did that.

SD: What? When was this?

Mad: Earlier. You were asleep.

SD: Did I enjoy it?

Mad: Oh, yeah. It was tons of fun.

.

I don’t know what it is about my husband’s presence that makes me especially unproductive. I should be more productive because he’s there watching me like a hawk, but somehow it has the opposite effect on me. Almost like I want to see how much sloth and bon bon eating I can get away with. I don’t know why I would do this. It’s not like I can enjoy sloth and bon bon eating when he’s standing over my shoulder (on the couch playing video games) like that.

Every day when my husband is home, he asks, “So what’s on your agenda today?” I hate that question. You know, this is why I didn’t become a teacher, because I didn’t want to have to turn in lesson plans in advance. It’s not that I don’t have any plans, but maybe I just don’t feel like sharing them. Or maybe I don’t have any plans and I’m just going to see what shakes out. Clean clothes and/or dinner? Perhaps. You’ll just have to wait and see.

I don’t know how I’m going to deal with his retirement. Maybe that’s when I’ll get a job.

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Yeah, that was funny.

I had a laundry dilemma earlier this week. When you have an article of clothing that is almost exactly half-black and half-white and you’re supposed to wash it with “like colors,” do you wash it with things that are mostly white, or mostly black? It’s cotton, if that helps you. In my experience, mostly dark tends to dull the mostly-light portions of clothing, but a big chunk of black in a mostly-light load just seems wrong. I did it anyway, in cold water. I don’t expect it to make much difference one way or another, but considering that it took me two days to come to this decision, I’m hoping Princess Zurg just doesn’t wear that shirt again.

I have to make myself lunch and useful, so I’ll just cut it off here. Gentle readers, adieu.

So this morning I had a 7:00 a.m. IEP meeting at the high school, which means that I got up much earlier than 7:00 a.m. than I’m used to getting. Like, maybe even a half-hour earlier than usual. Anyway, I needed time to make everyone’s lunches and whatnot. (You might be wondering if “whatnot” would include a shower, but, gentle reader, I’ll never tell.) The meeting went fine. So fine I even made it back home before 8 a.m.

Well, after the usual morning rituals, I decided that I was going to sit down and finish this romance novel I’ve been reading, so that I could concentrate the rest of my day on getting the house ready for the housekeepers. Yes, it’s that time of the fortnight again. A better strategy would have been to make ready the house for the housekeepers, then reward myself by sitting down and finishing my book. But strategy has never been my forte. I prefer games of chance. Anyway, I’m reading and at about 10:00 a.m., I get a call from the high school saying that Princess Zurg freaked out during one of her finals and is in a bad place and should probably go home. This was not how I wanted my third-to-last day of school to go. Well, whatever. I picked her up and brought her home. I had a brief heart-to-heart with her and encouraged her to do something relaxing because I was planning on doing something relaxing myself.

Which turned out to be finishing my book and then feeling tired, so I took a nap. I only slept an hour, but I had the most stressful dreams. First of all, the house was covered in ants. We’d apparently redecorated the kitchen, and it’s too complicated to get into, but suffice it to say, the house was COVERED in ants. For some reason, my dad was there. I told him about the ants. He said, “Are they coming out of the electrical outlets?” I said, “How should I know? They’re everywhere!” He said, “Well, they’re probably not going to hurt you. Just wait for them to go away.” Which is so typical of him. Anyway, I grabbed my purse and keys and went to the Target to buy new ant baits/traps/whatever. I couldn’t find any. Apparently Target was also redecorating, and lots of shelves were just plain empty. I went home in dismay, only to receive a phone call from the middle school from Mister Bubby, saying that whatever his language arts teacher told me, it wasn’t true. I asked to speak to his language arts teacher, but he refused. I hung up on him and called the school back and asked for his language arts teacher, but they said before I could talk to her, I had to give my son’s student ID. I said, “How the #@#% am I supposed to know that?” And that’s more or less where the dream ended, but dang it, I do not feel well rested.

And now it’s time to pick up my other daughter from school.

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