That was the week that was
...Or two weeks and change, but who's counting?
This has been, I think, my longest hiatus since I started blogging in early 2003. It's felt strange to be away, but good. (Hey, whaddya know? Sometimes even I get tired of listening to myself talk.) I would sit in front of my computer and think, "I really should post something." And then I'd think, "But I just don't feel like it." And then I'd think, "Don't be an ass, Julie. Your nice friends inside the computer are sending you very kind e-mail checking to see if everything's okay." And then I'd think, "Right. Okay. I'll post. But first I have to..."
And the list just kept growing.
The things I had to do:
- Take Charlie on his first carousel ride, which he appreciated solely for the fact that on that hot and humid day, the operator had an oscillating fan at his podium. "Did you like the carousel?" "Yeahhhh." "Was it great?" "Yeah." "We rode the horses, didn't we?" "Yeah. Andtherewasafaaaaaan." "There was. But there was also music. And beautiful blinking lights. And a gleaming wooden steed, tamed only by your matchless equestrian skill. And the euphoria, the ephemeral beauty of your incredulous grin, the never-to-be-repeated wonder of it all." "Yeah. [Pause.] Andthemanhadafaaaaaaan."
- Oversee the continuing renovation of our home. Begun six months ago, it continues, even if some days all I do is invent a new swear word as I stumble into the impenetrable pile of...I don't even know what ...that currently sits in the middle of our bedroom floor. This was no mere paint-and-curtains renovation, but a necessary and major undertaking — three bathrooms; a laundry room; a bedroom; what used to be a kitchen and living area — and it is far from finished, but at last I'm beginning to believe that one day it will be, most likely long after I am dead from a surplus of bile and rage. I hope my survivors will bury my exquisite corpse in the yard, directly under the part of the lawn that served this winter as a parking lot for the contractors.
- Become thoroughly, enduringly, eyes-narrow-at-the-first-strum-of-the-first-track sick of The Roches' first album, even as it becomes Charlie's very favorite. There is a lot to adore about a toddler murmuring, "I am trying not to have a bad day / Now everybody knows the way that is" as he busies himself in the garden, but I had to remove a few songs from the rotation when I heard him bellowing, "We better get outta there / Before the shit hits the fan / Shit hits the fan." I am willing to bet I have the only two-and-a-half-year-old in America who croons absently to himself as he squishes his Play-Doh, "All of that time in Hell to spend / For kissing the married men." If you know of any others, do let me know; perhaps they can all sing harmony.
- Undertake my own hands-on mini-remodel of the only place in our house that has remained untouched by workmen: our back hall, which functions as a mudroom, and a half-bath, which functions, if its prior hideousness is any clue, as a crack den. This has been an entirely cosmetic endeavor, meaning that I am not repairing any one of the nine million serious structural and operational flaws; instead I am slapping white paint on everything that doesn't move, killing everything that does — the hidden mildew was that aggressive — and hoping that my efforts will allow us to get through the next five years without yet another professional renovation. I applied fresh paint, ignoring scars in the walls and the damage done by the previous owners' dog (and adroitly repaired by lovable old Cujo, as well, if I am any judge of such things), musing on the heritability of errors and my guilty conviction that if I don't correct the problems I see, they then become mine forever. I installed a new floor, which nearly crippled me in the laying, adhering it directly to the old, cracked, monstrously ugly surface beneath. I did away with the avocado green toilet, so old and stained that it never looked clean, no matter whose toothbrush I used on it, and replaced it with the cheapest white commode Home Depot sells, which immediately leaked all over my brand new floor — not a new problem in that bathroom, as this photo of my toilet hole seems to indicate.
It's all gone very well, so well that I am contemplating setting a very small fire and burning down just that tiny part of the house, going for the insurance money and the Guinness record for World's Smallest Arson. Either that or allowing the fumes from the rust-blocking primer I used to overtake me entirely, in which case please see my burial request above. And let the choir sing "Quitting Time."
- Give Charlie, filthy from playing outside, a bath. (Lather, rinse, repeat as needed.)
- Make yet another series of phone calls to yet another clinic to get information on their egg donation program.
So I've been busy, not so busy that I couldn't have found time to post, but enough that I didn't spend too much time wallowing in my own feelings and then committing them to pixels for you to endure vicariously. It's felt good to stay away, to shut myself up for a while, to remember that I don't have any official responsibility to talk when I don't feel like talking, especially since I've been feeling a certain ambivalence about blogging lately. And now it feels good to come back, show you what I've been working on, and gear up to talk with you about what happens next. I promise it will not involve my toilet hole.