I thought for a few days I was in the midst of a strange allergy attack. Part of me still thinks this. Another part, the part that just woke me up at 5:50 a.m., hacking on my own sinus goo, thinks I just have a nasty little cold. Change of season, right? Who knows. It is seeming like the third sinus infection of the winter. Or not. On the couch, drinking hot tea to melt the goo away, writing on 20/20. Not such a bad thing. If I could get up at 5:30 every morning, there’d be no end to what I could accomplish. Maybe I could even start making art again. Get to the studio by 5:45, paint for an hour and some change, home by 7:30, when everyone starts stirring.
Work is still happening, which rules. I now have enough office costumes to wear so that nobody has to see me in the same thing twice in a two or three day period. The girls are now always staying in preschool from 9:30 till 3, three days/week. Beenie even naps there — she NEVER naps at home! The thing is, though, she doesn’t really need to nap. It’s just the culture of class that everyone passes out, so she figures she isn’t missing anything, and joins in. Makes bedtime challenging if I can’t get her outside running around somewhere, but I’m glad she can shut down for an hour or so during the day without too much hassle. Speaking of bedtime… 10 p.m. is an unacceptable bedtime for the little peeps, which is what it has become since daylight savings time kicked in. Need to trick their bodies into thinking it’s an hour later than it really is. Hopefully things will flow into a normal schedule by next week. Will try to wake them up early this morning to see if that helps.
What’s been happening? My mom is feeling better after about 6 weeks of shingles misery, so the girls and I traveled down to suburban D.C. to visit for a day the past two weeks. They love their grandparents. My mom’s illness came at a time that the entire Mid-Atlantic was shut down for 5 weeks anyway, though, so the timing was at least not entirely inconvenient. It is hard for me to believe how much snow was on the ground three weeks ago. Mountains of the stuff. I thought it would be May before it all melted, but I think most of it is gone now. Just the rain remains. And memories of being sick and cooped up with three other people in the exact same boat. Our little row house boat. There was only one day of real *lose your shit and kill everyone* mania, where I wasn’t sure all four of us would make it through The Shining, but here we are, somehow still speaking and interacting with each other. Amazing. We survived the BLIZZARDS OF ‘OUGHT TEN.
I have two paintings that sit in my friend’s studio, untouched for months. The Puddle painting and the Octopus painting. The Octopus is a commission for my sister-in-law’s cousin’s wedding present. I believe if the piece gets to the newlyweds by May, it will be within the good taste range of not later than a year after the blessed event. I’d say the painting is 95% done. Needs some color tweaking, but I think that could be accomplished quickly. If I could ever break away from my familial and job duties long enough to do anything. The puddle painting has less of a deadline. This piece started out as one thing and has become something very different. I like the transformation, but really, it needs some attention. I’d like to finish it in the next few months and ship it west. Hell, I’d like to ship myself west.
Chim chim cherrie.
Everyone loves you when you’re a freelancer. Or temporary. There’s a certain Je ne sais quoi about someone who isn’t in the office from 9-5 every day, won’t always be available for meetings unless you give them lots of notice. I’m still the new girl in town. I know it. I see the tired eyes of the full-time office workers. My eyes are tired, too — not from sitting under florescent lights all day, knowing there is no end to this existence — but from being woken up two times every night to get certain 3 year old ladies to the potty. Still, though, I am not yet a known entity. In many ways I don’t want to be known, or owned, as the case may be. I like being hourly. Some weeks I can make lots of moolah, hopefully balancing out the weeks I just can’t do anything because my girls have infected me with numerous illnesses. I like not knowing. As long as I complete my projects when I say I will, I hope things will continue to run smoothly.
That’s what I’ve been up to, ya know. Working. The ladies have been going to school from 9:15-3, MWF. That gives me four solid hours to either go into the office to work, or work from home. I like both. What has changed is this: time they are spending in school has transferred from time I spend cleaning the house, or going grocery shopping, or writing my blog, to doing web stuff, trying to make a buck. Attempting to appear bona fide. For real.
I miss this, though. I miss having an hour or two, once or twice a week to tidy up, drink a cup of coffee, think about stuff, by myself. I lost this part of my life this past summer when daily naps disappeared, then again, when I started working more and they started staying in school longer so I could work longer, so they could stay in school longer… uh oh.
Nothing creative has happened in weeks. Nothing creative will happen again, until it does. Until it must. I’m going to go downstairs, get a big glass of water, take the last pill of my latest course of antibiotics, and lie in bed. No cocktails, no stretching or thinking. Just laying down on my bed. Waiting for someone to wake me up to piss. I am happy last night/this morning revealed nothing more than a light dusting of snow. Thanks, mother nature. And I am also glad my daughters are healthy again, back in school, and generally wonderful. Both stripped five minutes before we went upstairs for the bedtime ritual tonight, ‘swimming in the pool’, which meant jumping naked off the purple chair in the living room, onto a pile of pillows they set up as ‘slides’. Brrrr!
Yes. It has finally happened. After what seems like months, but in reality has been about two weeks, I am ALONE. Quietly, sweetly, unbelievably alone. It is fantastic. It is incredible. Silence. The fact that my left ear is still clogged is enhancing the silence. All I can hear is the clickity click of my fingers hitting the keyboard. Just unscrewed the top of my desk so dear husband can whittle down the side a bit to accommodate the new, LOCKING file cabinet we got at Ikea this past weekend. For over two years, since the ladies became mobile and huge enough to rifle thru the shit on my desk, I know where absolutely nothing is. Especially important things that I should know about. But after today, I’ll put important things in my new locking filing cabinet, then LOCK IT UP. The next step to regaining small portions of my sanity will include keeping the keys in one place and not losing them. It is so easy to lose everything. I do it almost every day.
What kept us in our house for so long? No school, no work? The scourge. You know the one of which I speak. I was chatting with my doctor Monday as she faxed in a prescription of antibiotics for my ear infection, sinus infection and pink eye… she said when her now college aged twins were in their first year of preschool, they were sick EVERY MONTH for a year. But then they didn’t really get too sick afterward. A whole year. My girls have been sick pretty much every month since they started school. We get a week or two break here and there, but it’s been constant since September. And they infect their father and me. I can’t remember being this sick on a regular basis since I was a chain smoking, drunk 20something person, staying up all night doing god knows what, working shitty jobs by day. But damned if I didn’t look gooood! Skinny, spiky red hair. Somehow the sickness rarely got in the way of dragging my sorry ass out of the house to have some fun. Oh thin, glamorous, well-lived youth. I’m glad I had one! A nice long one, too. Makes me not resent the insane responsibility that has been thrust upon me (that I unwittingly thrust upon myself) and my husband. I’m too tired to be resentful. Besides, I’ve had some great years. And these child-full years are great, too, in their own way. Just different. And endlessly, germoriffically ill.
Now we’re all just hangin’ out, waiting for the 6+ feet of snow that have been piled onto every corner just to clear off the streets, to melt. I figure a few 70 degree days will take care of it. So we’ll be clear, when? Mid April? Maybe May?
Yeah, we did survive yesterday, barely. Today the sun was shining in a clear, blue sky. I did some research on tropical beaches to go to, which are unaffordable to us. I did find a small amount of comfort in the fact that there were pictures of white sandy beaches and deep blue water awaiting someone. I’m gonna shoot for a weekend trip to NYC to visit an old friend in March. Let’s all cross our fingers I can make that happen. Bolt bus is $20 each way or less, so all I’d have to spend would be food and subway money. Hopefully I’d just be lying around my friend’s house, spending nothing. And sleeping. I’d like to sleep.
I’m still pretty sick. Beenie’s pink eye appears to be going away, Mimi’s cold is not getting worse. Somehow, school is open tomorrow, but the fact that there is no way for a car to get off our street makes me think we won’t be there. Besides, nobody wants eye goo and snot and swollen lymph nodes up in their preschool. Gonna have to miss the Valentine’s Day partay. Add it to the hundreds of other school days they have missed. Good thing it’s cheap.
As hellish as the entrapment of the past week has been, in many ways, it has also been of some value. You gotta be able to come out the other side of this kind of thing. It can’t always be the worst thing in the world to be stuck in a house with your family. For me, I’ve been training for this past week for the past four years. In the house for days, weeks at a time, raising little kids. I’m used to this special type of torture, and like it in certain ways. It will make me appreciate the outdoors, once I’m feeling well enough to go outside. It will give me added energy in the hellish, sweaty, humid summertime to hit the playground ONE MORE TIME. I’ll think back to five or six feet of snow piled in between cars on our street, think how great it is to be able to leave the house when I want. I’m saving this blizzard memory to pull out on a 100 degree day six months from now.
Really. FOR REAL. Tundra livin’, y’alls. Right here. Charm City. Row house, Igloo, what’s the diff? Things is gettin’ all The Shining up in this shits, too. And I’m sick. Because the girls are sick. And spouse is getting sick. In a way, it doesn’t matter, since we can’t get outside anyway. The snow is covering the doors. It might as well be covering the windows. Quite a sight to see from inside our cozy row house. Here’s where I’d like to express my gratitude to whatever energy in the universe finds us in a safe, warm, electrified, interwebified, cable-riffic (though, honestly, I don’t give a rats ass about cable. fuck cable.) The water is working. I have cough medicine in the cabinet. Beenie got to the doc the day after the last storm, so we got antibiotics (that, of course, are giving her the shits. fuck you, antibiotics.) for her ear infection and pink eye. I’m sure I got what feels like strep throat at that doctor’s office. Somehow. We still have a roof intact. The basement hasn’t flooded. And I have not yet killed the other three people in the house, or the cats. Though there were times earlier today where I seriously wondered if that could be avoided.
Things move slowly when you live in the blizzard belt. Since it never snows here, till now, I don’t have proper winter attire. The boots I have are probably over twenty years old. They are too small. I think I gave away all my long underwear when I moved out of Chicago. “When am I ever gonna need that again?”
Ow. My neck hurts. I am going to look to tomorrow with some kind of hope, since today was pretty much shite. Tired, sick, disorganized, angry, trapped, sucky. Thursday won’t suck so much. Right? I want to give the girls haircuts, vacuum, clean the bathroom… oh wait, I’m sick. Maybe my goal for the day should be sleeping as much as I can. That seems like a less attainable goal, but you gotta have goals no matter what. Stay warm.
I bet hundreds, thousands of people all over the Mid-Atlantic of the U.S. are blogging-out over the mondo snow-blast that continues to drop piles of powder in the region. I suppose I will join the ranks. UNBELIEVABLE. Really. It started here around 1 p.m. yesterday and hasn’t stopped yet–it’s 1:55 p.m. now. 24 hours. Luckily, I purchased enough food Thursday to get us through a solid two weeks before the cats start looking like chicken. Hopefully we won’t get Donner Party levels of starvation here in the row house. There IS a grocery store about a seven minute walk from our house, so we may survive, if the shelves have anything left on them. Might take an hour to walk there in three feet of snow. Whatevz. We got food, the heat appears to be working (thanks, fifty year old, asbestos coated, barely working oil burner! kudos!), the girls are relatively healthy (however, Beenie appears to be sporting what I believe to be pink-eye as of last night…ugh), we still have electricity and really nice neighbors. I’m thinking of making some muffins this afternoon to share with the ladies on each side of us. Thanks for being great, Florence and Sue!
So, my painting studio wall seems to have been rented. Damned lack of money! I just can’t do it right now. Good pal, art mentress Jiyun says that my finding myself again studio-less means that there’s something else I want/need more than a wall in a studio. Which, of course, would rule. I’d love to have a permanent place to put all my art crap — drawings, paintings, supplies, a desk, some quiet and focus. I want that. Though, I also have loved sharing Julia’s studio for the past few months. I actually completed the big flower painting — at least, I can’t think of anything else to do to it. So it must be done. Not bad timing, really. Though it is never a good time not to have a painting studio. Something else will come along at the right moment, it always does.
Have I mentioned I’m in an ice castle? WHEN WILL THE SNOW STOP?! Have been thinking about baking, maybe muffins of some sort. Pie. Cookies. Really, is there anything else to do during a blizzard? It’s that or bitch at everyone around me. More soon from the land of the ice and snow, from the midnight sun where the hot springs blow… oh, how I wish there were hot springs here! Brrrrrrrrr…….