Old skool

Section of a map project I'm working on. Crappy photo.

Today’s post is total old skool stylee. Home at 3:48 in the afternoon, fixin’ to leave in ten minutes to collect the ladies from school. Stayed home today because I’m sick, and now that I am employed, I get paid to be sick. I should get sick more often. Really tho, nobody likes a germ carrier polluting the already questionable air in the fluorescent cube-land where I work. I’m hacking in my own space today.

We moved into our house at the end of April 2011, and today, October 20, 2011 is the first day I’ve had all to myself in this house. It has taken six months for me to have total peace. And peaceful it has been, friends. Almost napped with two cats pinning me down, drank tea and coffee, coughed and sucked on cough drops. Contemplated the cause and cure for canker sores (OUCH), wrote a bit. Read a bit. Walked to the grocery store to get some healthy food to help me feel better, and make for my family. And here I am. Still have to unload the dishwasher, maybe throw in a load of laundry. But those are things I typically do once I’ve picked up the girls and come home after work. Those things can wait.

I could use a couple thousand more days like today. Not necessarily sick, tho. Just quiet and curious. And gettin’ paid for it.


I know it won’t last…

Right now both girls are asleep on the purple couch downstairs! This has not happened for at least two years. Beenie has been out since around 11:30 a.m. and Mimi just went down around 45 minutes ago. Though I hear coughing, so Beenie will probably be up soon. Both girls are sickly. Beenie more than Mimi. We stayed home today from school/work. My throat hurts too.

I’m reminding myself what it is like to write during naptime. It is nice. I’ve had such an external existence for the past five or so months. No inner life. Just outward, doing what I’m told to do, what I have to do. No time to review anything or even write notes to friends, or talk on the phone. Now that we live in a different place, and most of the unpacking is done, maybe I can start reviewing rather than simply doing. Reflection helps to keep me with perspective. Energies only going outward seem damaging.

It was nice not getting in my car at 7:30 this morning, though not nice helping hacking children in middle of night. I am glad that I can offer my daughters comfort (and acetaminophen) when they’re not 100%. It just makes going to work the next day quite challenging. Lucky for me my throat hurts, too. Wouldn’t want to be having too much fun.

It is a sad state of affairs when a person craves illness so they can just hang out in their house. I like to see the sky. That is not something that is possible at work. Just during lunch. I like lunch. Gives a cave dweller a chance to absorb a little vitamin D.


This week was strange, discombobulating. My work schedule is all wonky and Mimi has been sick. Beenie is fine. She’s cutting old newsprint into teenie, tiny pieces with her little red scissors. Mimi is suffering from an ear infection and as of last night, some sort of stomach virus producing vomit. “My belly is full of throw-up,” she says. Poor thing. She hasn’t been eating much all week because of her ear and is actually starting to look kind of skinny. Freaks me out, but I have lots of faith she will come back as the proud eating machine she was last week. It is scary, though, how quickly a small person who never stops moving loses body mass once the food stops entering said person. I think Mimi also had a massive growth spurt, not helping her slightly ribby appearance. Life was very easy dealing with only my body. Now I’m in charge of three!

You probably never check my Playlist page, and with good reason, since I never make updates to it or any of the other pages, other than this one. If you are so inclined, however, there will be more content on the page soon check this week. Nappy suggested I just get rid of the Snacks page, since I never, ever, update it. I think I’ll take her suggestion.

Now Beenie is cutting out shapes — some established shapes like rectangle, triangle, pentagon — others slightly more amorphic. No matter. She is cutting them out to ultimately live on our next Christmas tree, as ornaments. I told her when it starts getting closer to the holiday season, we’ll paint them and put a hole and string in them, then hang them on the tree. She agreed this was a good idea.

Work was weird this week because I worked Wednesday as they were in school like usual, then again Thursday from 9am-1pm, when a babysitter stayed with them. I was supposed to work again today, but when children puke, you don’t work. You spend your time hydrating them and try to make sure they don’t puke again.

And this situation makes me think of the short article I read in a recent NY Times Sunday Magazine about how the recent Supreme Court female judges (assuming the most recent nominee is absorbed) are childless. You should read the article, but the jist is: a family is a boon to a male anything, not necessarily because they love having families, but because it sort of shores you up as a part of humanity to have been able to find a mate and have that mate produce and maintain children. And do you know why? Because the wife, even if she’s working her arse off, is the person who tends to the children. The children need LOTS of attending to. I’m still blown away when my contemporaries (daddys) in my stupid little fuckbook world make status updates like “Babysitting the kids today” or “Playing Mr. Mom” or what have you. Aren’t you just parenting, my brothers? Unless your partner is breastfeeding, you can do all the things your wife/girlfriend/babymama is doing. So why, mid-life crisis havin’, forty-something men, do you still assume caring for and nurturing (and really, just keeping alive) your children is woman’s work? You really still believe that, don’t you? And I’m not entirely blaming you, mens. It is as much the women who let you get away with saying that shits fault as it is your fault. And the culture. I know a few nurturing fathers who don’t look at caring for their own children as them doing their partner a favor. The reason the women on the Supreme Court don’t have kids is because they know the truth: how in tarnation would they find someone to have children with who would be willing to give up everything — career and education, sanity and self — to do what frequently is required as a parent, so she could work like crazy to be a SC Justice with a side of family? Sad but true. Somehow men are still not expected to give up as much as their wives.

Lucky for me, I have no aspirations to have an actual career, just a bothersome drive to make shit. Which I can do whenever I have a free moment, which is never, or hardly ever.

Pre-spring scourge? Check.

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.

calculatus eliminatus

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!

Cabinus Feverous

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.

Welcome to the Tundra…

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.